By: HAYIM MIZRACHI, CCIM – President | Principal | Broker
Tell me if this sounds familiar.
Sometime around November/December last year your managing broker came to you to schedule a “strategy session” (or some kind of meeting with a fancy title). You received a Business Plan Template to fill out in advance. It was probably 5-8 pages. The sections were some iterations of the following:
- Analyze your accomplishments in the current year.
- What are your goals for next year?
- What is Area of Focus and Ideal Target Client?
- What activities are you committing to that will move the needle for you?
- What are your development goals for yourself this year?
- What are your top opportunities to go after?
The first section was easy to fill out then it gets progressively more… annoying.
But you like and respect your managing broker, and somewhere deep down inside you feel like filling out a business plan is what a successful real estate professional does, so you do it.
You filled in your accomplishments from last year and your goals for this year. Those are straight forward enough.
You wrote your area of focus and ideal target client, but it’s some general description like “private owners of income properties between $5 – $30 million”, or “office tenant representation”.
Oh, but the activities you committed to… WOW! They sound amazing! Let me guess…
- Make 100 cold calls a week
- Establish a social media influencer campaign
- Create a list and go after the top 25 prospects in my category
- Relaunch investment newsletter
- Network more
It’s always really awesome and inspiring stuff in this section.
Your development goals… They go like this:
- Database management
- Time management
- Keep trying to learn new skills
- Finish my CCIM Designation
- Network more
Yup. Those all sound pretty good too. Good job!
And your top opportunities, well they sound something like:
- Leverage x, y, z client to obtain more accounts
- Become the go-to expert in my area of focus
- Network more
So, you filled out the template, you had the strategy session, you and your managing broker both signed the document, and it will go into a file until the next November/December when your managing broker emails you to schedule the new and improved Strategic Planning and Life Altering Trajectory Mastermind.
You may have sensed some sarcasm.
I have been in a managing broker role for over a decade. It’s sad to admit there is a lot of truth in how I presented the above.
That doesn’t mean that the business planning process isn’t valuable or doesn’t work. Here are some observations that I believe will be helpful for you as we enter Q2.
Common Issues in the Business Planning Process
- Lack of Clarity – More than likely, the problem with your goals is that they aren’t clear enough. In the example above, “database management” might mean something in your mind as you’re writing those words. But nothing about what you wrote can be measured objectively.
Have you heard of SMART goals? The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time–Bound.
Database management written as a SMART goal would be “input 300 area contacts into the RealNex CRM by June 1, 2022.” Now it meets the elements of a SMART goal, and most importantly, come June 1 you know without a doubt if you achieved this goal or not.
I challenge you to review each of your goals and re-write them in a SMART format.
- Underestimating the Whirlwind – Business plans are written after a strong cup of coffee, sitting in a comfortable office with the HVAC set just right. In those moments, all the conditions are ideal for high achievement. But that’s not reality. Certainly not in the CRE business.
The book The 4 Disciplines of Execution introduces the concept of the Whirlwind. These are important/urgent activities needed to run the every-day functions in your business. Some examples are writing proposals, going on tours, doing surveys, etc. The whirlwind requires attention and makes it difficult to focus or make progress on your strategic priorities.
Here are two suggestions. Get the book and follow the 4 Disciplines of Execution (Focus on the Wildly Important, Act on the Lead Measures, Create a Cadence of Accountability, and Have a Compelling Score Board).
Or for a simpler idea, acknowledge a percentage of your time will be spent in the whirlwind and adjust your goals based on that reality.
- Self-Advocacy – This is my absolute favorite. When your managing broker came to you to schedule a strategy meeting, he/she is doing their job. They also really want to see you succeed, grow, and develop. Still, there is a tension in the experience where they have to chase you to get this done.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for you. You are in charge of your own success, growth, and development.
When I decided to run my first ½ marathon and now train for a full I hired a coach. The single biggest value she gives me is accountability. I know I have to report to her when I complete a run and that she’ll check in if I’m doing strength exercises. But at the end of the day, she’s not running the marathon. I am.
Your managing broker shouldn’t have to chase you to complete a business plan and chase you every quarter after that for accountability checks in. Self-Advocacy means you should be leveraging them as a sounding board for your goals. You should be chasing them as a resource to hold you accountable.
So, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the end of the first quarter. Break out those business plans and let’s see how you’re doing!
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