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Creating a successful business plan can be a daunting task. Nonetheless, in order to recession-proof your business and maximize your potential in the upcoming year, a 2013 business plan is critical.

Combine the fundamentals outlined below with any number of free resources available, such as niche forums, the Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate business planning tool or mentoring services from local or online business organizations, to create a business plan that will guide you throughout the coming year.

Managing a business aimlessly is a setup for ultimate failure. Creating a business blueprint can help you prioritize your goals, providing an organized way to fulfill them accordingly.

Begin by defining your goals and then flesh each one out within a detailed plan. Determining the objectives that allow you to meet each goal will be your next step.

Make sure to focus on each aspect that will drive you toward your ultimate goal. Doing so will bring clarity to the process and assist in putting all particulars into perspective.

A 2013 business plan is instrumental in the sustainability of your business. A detailed plan serves as a daily reminder of the goals and priorities that have yet to be fulfilled.

A successful business plan is one that is flexible and fluid, allowing your business to keep up with the ever-increasing pace at which we live and work.

Even established businesses require additional funding, depending on the need for expansion, upgrades and advertising. An effective plan can help a business owner receive the additional funds needed to launch or expand. Additionally, an established business plan will lend to the credibility, strength and continued financial health of your real estate business.

Competitive Advantages
A business plan can help you identify your competitive advantages and formulate strategies in order to leverage competition locally. One way to obtain a competitive advantage is to remain aligned with industry trends and the latest technology. Another way is through continuous education via courses, trainings, seminars and workshops.

Research the following questions to analyze and create a winning strategy:

• Who are my competitors?
• How do they generate leads?
• How successful are they?
• What can I gain/learn from their strategy?

Marketing Strategy
Perhaps the most important section of a business plan is the marketing strategy. To create an effective business plan, you must research ways in which you can maximize productivity and enhance credibility.

Are there any networks or associations you could join that might give your business a boost? Do they offer additional certifications that you may not yet have? Certifications speak volumes, as they show a business/owner as reputable to prospective customers/clients. They also develop a degree of trust and can augment your professionalism, proving that you possess the appropriate skills necessary.

Vision, Core Values and Your Mission
Do not embark on creating a business plan without identifying the vision, core values and mission of your real estate business. Each goal should support these foundational pillars. They are the building blocks by which your business will not just survive, but truly thrive in the coming year.

Amy Chorew is vice president of platform development at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC.