All I have to do is say “business planning,” and I can hear the collective groan, along with some of the usual reactions when someone says the word “homework.” 

But unlike most (school-related) homework, having an effective business plan written up and visible will make an actual and measurable difference in your success. So, while it might sound like busy work, it may be the most important thing you do this year. 

Last week on the Knowledge Brokers Podcast, Tom Toole and Lisa Chinatti discussed business planning basics for real estate agents, and four key strategies stood out. 

We’re sharing them here, along with a special announcement. 

#1—Get your financials in order

Lisa Chinatti brought up her first business planning must-have: get your business—and personal—finances in order. 

Financials, financials, financials. I think making smarter decisions with your money, both personally and professionally, is more important than ever, though I kind of dig deep into that no matter what the market…I say it over and over: real estate is math. And the sooner we can understand what our metrics are and be able to plan it out effectively, the better we’re going to be able to plan for the next year, start taking action, and set ourselves up to not just make it through the year but to thrive in the year. Because there is opportunity.

Lisa Chinatti

Having a system for your business checking and savings accounts is a huge help with this. Byron Lazine shared his own system for setting up your main business account, with automatic distribution to three separate accounts: 

  1. Personal household (checking)
  2. Tax savings account 
  3. Business checking account 

#2—Be ready to invest sweat equity in your geographic farm

If geographic farming is part of your business plan, take a look at the strategies you’re planning to use and what investments they require in terms of money and time. It’s not enough just to send those people something in the mail on a regular basis. 

What are you willing to do on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis to become the number one option for anyone in your farm who needs an agent? 

What sweat equity are you putting into the farm? …Are you going to be calling them quarterly? Are you going to be door-knocking the farm? Are you going to be doing anything else besides just sending direct mail? …This is where sales meets marketing. What am I doing on the sales side to convert? Because if you’re doing a farm, and your expectation is that people are going to call you to list, odds are that person is calling two or three other agents… And what I know is 70% of consumers hire the first agent they meet with.

Tom Toole

Your business plan should include the strategies you’ll be using consistently throughout the year to become known to the people in your farm. It should also include some way to measure your progress and track your consistency from one week, month, or quarter to the next. 

This is just one area where strategy #3 comes into play. 

#3—Hold yourself accountable to someone 

Having someone in your world to be accountable to can be life-changing—personally as well as professionally. If you’ve been watching the Knowledge Brokers Podcast long enough, you know its three hosts check in with each other on a weekly basis. 

True, you can hold yourself accountable for the goals you’ve set for yourself. But telling yourself you fell short of your weekly goal is just different from having to tell an accountability partner — especially when they’ve just finished talking about crushing their own goals for the week. Oof.

Accountability can mean different things to different people. It can be as simple as sharing your numbers for the week in a phone call that takes five minutes or less, or it can be a longer conversation. It can also vary from week to week. 

The main thing is to be vulnerable enough to let someone else hold you accountable for your goals. No one enjoys telling someone who knows of their goals that they missed a weekly target, but having to do that can give you the motivation you need to stay on track. 

It’s so easy at the end of 90 days to lose sight of where you’re going by the end of the year. So, I love when agents take the opportunity and take the time to build in their checkpoints, at very minimum, every 90 days, to ensure that they’re staying on track with the plan they set out a year ago.

Lisa Chinatti

Tom added another key element to include in your accountability system: 

What I also do with accountability, you’ve got to find someone that’s going to be equally accountable. And I would argue you probably have to have similar goals…. Accountability is the greatest gift you can give somebody. But too many agents shy away from it.

Tom Toole

#4—Keep your business plan short, focused, and visible

Keeping your business plan visible is easier if it’s short and easy to read through on a daily or at least weekly basis. Keep it to one page and post it where you’ll see it every day. If it helps, change the location where you post it so you don’t become blind to it. 

Your plan should not be ten pages long. I want this thing on one page with specifics and measurables of what you’re going to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis. Those are the best plans.

Tom Toole

Upcoming BAMx interactive webinar on business planning 

Obviously, there’s more to business planning than the four key strategies listed above. That’s why, BAM is hosting a Business Planning webinar to answer your questions about business planning for real estate agents. Here are the details:

Business Planning Webinar
with Byron Lazine and Tom Toole
Wednesday, October 11th at 3:00 pm ET

Immediately following the webinar, Byron Lazine and Tom Toole will host a hands-on afterparty in the BAMx Facebook group.

If you’re not already a BAMx member, sign up to access the after-party. We look forward to seeing you there!