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By Margaret Kelly

RISMEDIA, January 13, 2009-The start of a new year undoubtedly inspires big ideas for your business. It’s important to maximize your renewed motivation with a measured approach.

Most of us have heard the mealtime expression “My eyes are bigger than my stomach.” Well, be mindful that your new goals aren’t causing your work plate to overflow.

Create a list of your top 12 goals for 2009, and think about tackling one per month. If you pace yourself, you stand to accomplish far more and remain focused through the end of the year.

Here are some key business-builders that I encourage you to consider as you’re marking up your calendar.

Sign up for coaching. The accountability that comes from working with a real estate trainer or coach can be just the boost you need to reach your goals and rise to the next level.

Earn a new designation. You can’t go wrong by specializing in “green” properties, or foreclosures, short sales and REOs-significant trends in today’s market.

Make tech upgrades. Update your website, try new workflow software or learn about ways to go paperless for data security and environmental reasons.

Try social media. Agents are attracting more and more business through blogs and social networking websites such as Facebook. Find out how your colleagues are using the online forums, then choose one that’s right for you.

Do more networking. Join a new professional or community organization, or attend a conference to meet other professionals and learn from their experiences.

Emerge as the expert. Host a consumer seminar at the office and encourage your contacts to invite a friend to learn about qualifying for mortgages, selling in a tough market or navigating other aspects of a real estate transaction.

Reconnect with clients. Create a new mail or e-mail campaign for existing clients that reminds them of your service and professionalism, and include an item of value that helps show how much you appreciate their loyalty and confidence.

Expand your client base. Learn more about working with emerging groups in real estate such as women, young adults and seniors, and ways to meet their unique real estate needs.

Refresh your marketing plan. Give your existing materials a facelift by incorporating a new slogan or updated artwork, and find a new way to use them: cable TV spots, community sports sponsorships, online promotions.

Get involved in the community. There are countless ways to support your community­-from making donations to organizing a fundraiser to sponsoring a youth athletics team. Outreach is valuable on any scale.

Make more time for you. Reserve one extra week for vacation this year or add a regular family night into your workweek. Meeting business goals always means more when you lead a balanced life.

Margaret Kelly, CRB, is chief executive officer of RE/MAX International.

For more information, visit