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2008-11-10 23:32:42

The Practical Business Plan For 2009


This article is a little different. An article I want you to actually use. I want you to print it, answer the questions, keep it, post it and use it.
It’s based on my speech to attendees at the 2008 NAR convention in Orlando, Fla., so I hope you find it particularly useful, because in these strange times, something useful is clearly needed.
It’s now time to look ahead to 2009 and the best way to start is by looking back at 2008. Yes, you read that right, a look back makes looking forward easier. In my opinion, it’s the only practical way to plan, because no one knows the future. Yes, pundits and others are always tempted to predict what tomorrow will bring, but please notice that not many get the future right. Case in point: who got the credit crisis of 2008 right?
If 2008 taught us anything, it showed us that we’re no good at predicting the future. No one knows the future, not you, not me, so why waste your time. Instead, I’d like to suggest these tips to help create a business plan for 2009 that will put the odds in your favor of having a fantastic year:
1. Review 2008 by asking these questions: Did you meet your goals? If not, why not? Where did your leads come from? Where did your sales come from? How would you describe your situation now?
2. Write down your goals. I like what Stephen Covey says about starting with the end in sight. What numbers (income, houses sold, etc.) do you want in December of 2009? What specific steps will you need to take to reach those numbers? Who will hold you accountable for reaching your goals?
3. Analyze your operations. How do you accomplish your goals? Are you being efficient? Who will do your non-dollar productive activities? How do you handle leads now and what can you do to improve this? What do your key team members need so they can help you achieve the goals? Do you have an ideal weekly and daily schedule that helps the office run smoothly? Do you have systems in place that make overall operations run efficiently?
4. Evaluate your business strategy. Perform a SWOT analysis (What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for 2009?). How will you capitalize on your strengths and opportunities? How will you strengthen your weaknesses and deal with threats?

5. Examine your sales and marketing efforts. What marketing channels worked and which ones failed? Can you adjust the ones that failed and make them more successful? If so, how? Can you make the successful ones even better? If so, how? How will potential clients know you exist and when they realize you exist, do your marketing messages compel them to contact you? How will your ideal customer evaluate your services and make decisions? Are your scripts effective? If not, how will you make them more powerful? Do your scripts reflect the current market?
6. Get a handle on your finances. Do you have an accounting software package or system that gives you profit and loss statements, balance sheets and budget projections?Are you attaching costs to your efforts so that you can see if you’re getting the best return on your investments of time and money? Are you tracking your results?  
What I’ve shared here is nothing new. And I think therein lies the value: These are the fundamentals of what works. It’s easy to get lost in all the new fangled gadgets and latest fads, but to me, it’s the tried and true fundamentals that always pull us through the rough times. And if you keep you eye firmly planted on the basics, I think you’ll do just fine in 2009 and beyond.
Best of luck to you!
Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice.
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