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Most of us start the new year with great aspirations about developing and implementing a new business plan for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, three-quarters of those business plans never get fully implemented.

Here’s how the SIX…FIVE…ONE…THREE strategy—which we have successfully used in the business we own and run, and with the clients we serve—will help you successfully build a business plan.

SIX Objectives

Your business plan should have no more than six major objectives. Each objective should be clear, focused and quantifiably measurable. Here are six “generic” objectives to illustrate our point:

REVENUE: Increase annual revenue by 5 percent over last year.
PROFITS: Increase gross profit margin from 22 to 25 percent.
GROWTH: Open a new sales office in Any Town, USA.
OPERATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY: Increase the average number of closed sales units per sales associate from 13.5 units to 15 units.
COMMUNICATIONS: Publish 12 monthly newsletters to current and prior customers.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: Implement a system to include expireds and transactions that have fallen through in our customer service rating systems.

FIVE Strategies Per Objective

Underneath each objective you should have no more than five specific strategies that outline the key steps to accomplish the objective.

ONE Assignment Per Strategy

Each strategy needs to be assigned to a manager whose compensation package reflects the successful achievement of the strategy. Some executives and/or managers may have more than one strategy assigned and/or shared in a duplicate manner, but you must take care to spread the responsibility across all key management personnel.

THREE Week Reviews

Block off two hours of uninterrupted time every three weeks. During this review time, do not take calls, attend meetings or let anything interrupt you.

Inform your leadership team that you will require a short, concise written update and status report every three weeks. Set a schedule of due dates, publish it and don’t take any excuses for late arrival.

Respond to each strategy status report with a short, concise answer. If you like the progress, give the person positive, congratulatory feedback. If remedial action is required, schedule a face-to-face meeting within the next seven days.

The process of consistent review every three weeks and the implementation of immediate action are the keys to a successful business plan. Be self-disciplined with the three-week review process and you will reap the rewards.

A seasoned real estate industry executive, Ernie Whitehouse combines collaborative leadership skills with a focus on strategic planning, financial management, efficient operations and consistent communications to guide executives to achieve their goals.

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