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J_Williams_Business_Planning_BH&GBeing in real estate essentially means you’re running your own business. Even with the support of a national brand, it is ultimately you who will determine the success of your business. That’s why it’s important to define your goals for the growth of your business. Here’s what you can do to help get that started.

Block out the world
Before you sit down for any goal-setting session, block off your schedule completely, so you can be free from interruptions. Think of the session as a traditional company retreat—go to a private, peaceful setting. Then put yourself in a positive mindset.

Really consider all the reasons that prompted you to begin a career in real estate, and the reasons that keep you going. Maybe it’s your yearly vacation in Hawaii, or simply having more flex time for your family.

Set your “why” in front of you, so you can work on planning the “how.”

Building the plan
Business plans can range from simple to complex—depending on how in-depth you want to get. A quick search (or even dropping a request in the comments!) will present several planning worksheets to help guide you. But there are several common items to consider when creating your strategy for the coming year.

  • Know your numbers.

How much prospecting did it take to get so many appointments that ultimately turned into sales? What is your list-to-sales price ratio? What’s your average list/sale price? Where did you get your business this year? What percentage of business was a direct referral? As you can see, there’s a lot of data that needs to go into your business planning chart, but note, these are also items that agents should track throughout the year.

  • Determine what will grow your numbers.

Take a look at those numbers and your lifestyle, and consider which of those will change based on market conditions or your effort. With that information in hand, sit down with your broker or accountability partner and get independent perspective. You could be underestimating your ability and it’s always nice to have a second opinion!

  • Consider expenses.

How much did you put into your business this year? Was it enough? Are there expenses you need to add to help you attain your goal? Let’s say a 100-piece direct mailing netted five appointments and two sales, and you’d like to increase that number to eight sales. Yes, 400 direct mail pieces will be a bigger expense, but will also add to your goal. It’s so important to remember to consider the expense of your new goals each year and to keep track along the way. If you haven’t been keeping track, stop and list all your marketing activities and their ROI. Are there some things you need to stop doing?

Read the last step in my latest Clean Slate post. I know taking these steps can be seen as a scary hassle, but definitely one that’s necessary! Here’s to a successful and prosperous 2015!

For more on Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, take a moment to like All Things Real Estate on Facebook, follow @AllThingsBHGRE on Twitter, and follow our company page on LinkedIn. And, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out the Friendliest Search in Real EstateSM!