Setting Goals for your Real Estate Business for the Coming Year
2019 is here! Now is the perfect time to look at what you’ve accomplished in 2018 and consider what you’d like to improve this year. Though the concept of New Year’s Resolutions is tossed around a lot this time of year, many people are realizing that a more strategic approach yields better results. Resolutions tend to be wishes without the planning to back them up. Ideas like “this year I’m going to sell more houses, or improve my marketing, or establish my personal brand” sound great. Without clear goals and a strategy they will likely remain unmet wishes.
What are some things you’d like to accomplish this year? How can you envision 2019 being a great year for your real estate business? What kinds of challenges do you want to overcome in the next 12 months? If you don’t have clear answers to these questions, take some time to reflect on what’s important to you. Start with the end in mind and work your way back. For example, if you know you want to earn twice as much revenue this year as last year, you now have an exact target and can develop a plan to realize that revenue growth. If you already have answers to these questions but not sure how to proceed, start by creating a business plan.
Your real estate career is a business, and should be treated as such. Successful businesses start with a business plan that functions as a working document. If you don’t have all the information you need yet, just get started with what you do have and fill in the data as it develops. Use your business plan as you guide to grow by establilishing a realistic plan of action. There are many tools available through organizations like NAR, or your local association, to create a good plan. The Small Business Association (SBA) also has wonderful resources.
Essential Elements of a Good Business Plan
There is no One Size Fits All model when it comes to business planning. All businesses and industries don't have the same needs and challenges. Here are some of the things we've identified as being helpful to professionals in the real estate industry:
Start with Why - Identify Your Mission. When we have a clear vision of why we are doing what we are doing, commitment, dedication, and effort come more easily and naturally. Challenge yourself to think beyond revenue. We all need money to survive. See if you can identify a purpose for what you are doing that goes beyond making money. This helps ground your intentions in something greater than yourself.
Be SMART about your Goals - make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. As stated above, if we don’t use these standards to develop goals, we’re likely doing more wishing than planning.
Include a Marketing Plan - Setting out goals to increase your client base, revenue, or leads, is useless without an effective marketing plan. This part of the business plan should address exactly how you intend to attract new business and connections. Are you going to invest in digital marketing, in-person opportunities, advertising, or cold calling? Are you going to join networking groups, do Facebook advertising, or invest in a powerful lead-generating website? Have a good idea of the resources needed and decide where to put your time and money.
Develop a Budget - It’s ineffective to plan theoretically. Real numbers are needed to drive the strategy. You may need to adjust the budget as you go, but start with numbers you have now. Build in an escalator for your expected revenue growth. For example, if your goal is to increase annual revenue by $50,000, what will your marketing budget need to be to keep pace with early successes? In other words, how much are you going to put back into the growth of your business when you start making more money?
Who is Your Target Audience? - Don’t say Everyone! The more narrowly you can define your client base, to a point, the better able you are to find and attract them. You will be able to create services and messaging that matters most to that specific group. Our “Own Your Neighborhood” program is designed specifically with this strategy in mind. A neighborhood, or clearly defined geographic area, is a specific target audience. People live there who will be selling their homes, people will want to move there and buy a home, and other people associated with the area will know the first two groups of people as referrals for you. When you target an area, you brand yourself as the expert of that space and the one to go to for those interested in living there. It is a highly effective approach to target marketing.
S.W.O.T Analysis - It’s often a useful and eye-opening activity to spend some time laying out your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (competitors or market analysis may be a better way to think of this). Starting with your strengths also ties in with your Why and target audience. What do you bring to the table that sets you apart from others in a highly competitive industry. Build on that through your messaging and branding. It’s also important to know where you could use improvement. What are areas of growth opportunity for you as a person and your developing business? Finally, what is the outlook for your market and how are you going to adjust for that as you achieve your goals?
As you can see, business planning can be complex, but it is well worth the time and effort. At ListingsToGo we are committed to helping our clients achieve their business growth and marketing goals through our robust lead-generating website platform. Reach out and let us take your digital presence to the top of your game for 2019!