We’re in the home stretch for 2021, which means you should now have a pretty good idea of what your Gross Commission Income (GCI) will be through the end of the year.

Hopefully you’ve had a great year and will finish strong. If your year didn’t meet expectations, hopefully you’ve learned some valuable lessons that can guide your future efforts.

Either way, it’s now time to focus on planning for 2022. For many agents, business planning is an absolute must. For others, not so much. Regardless of how you view business planning, we can heed the advice of the late, great baseball Hall-of-Fame player/manager Yogi Berra, who said:

 “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up somewhere else.”

Indeed, you not only need goals to succeed but a plan on how to achieve your goal. That’s where a well thought out business plan is vital if you want to enter 2022 from a place of strength. Whether you’re a business plan pro or have never written one, following are some tips that can serve as refreshers, or as a roadmap for your best year ever.

  1. Know your purpose. This serves the same function as a 30-second elevator speech: you must be able to define, in a sentence are do, your mission and goals. It may be as simple as “I want to close 45 deals a year” or as assertive as “I want my own brokerage firm in five years.”  Know your purpose and state it clearly.
  2. Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Review what your strong points are and where you need to shore up your skills. What opportunities exist in your agency or market? Where might you go off track? This common business tool is typically referred to as a SWOT Analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. While you know yourself well, you may need to conduct further research to find opportunities (a wave of first time home buyers in your area, for instance) and threats (rising interest rates hampering the real estate market, for instance.)
  3. Focus on the numbers. Apply learning from 2021 to guide business plans for the coming year. Start with your GCI target for the year. Then, begin to reverse engineer a plan that will give you the best chance at achieving your target: Prospecting hours per day=live conversations=appointments=listing presentations=listings=buyers under contract=commissions. The more detailed your numbers, the better you can be at holding yourself accountable.
  4. Make strategic investments. Drill down into how, exactly, you will meet your goals. If you aren’t already doing so, will you invest in a lead generation/CRM platform such as Espresso Agent? If you stick to your plan, will you need to invest in part-time admin help to keep you on track? Should you invest in a coach to hold you accountable?
  5. Put a timeline on it. You can write an annual timeline and update it each year, but many professionals go with a five-year plan, which they then break out into annual increments. You must hold yourself accountable to deadlines.
  6. Review your plan frequently. You should always know where you are relative to your plan. Keep your plan in a visible, convenient place so you can pick it up every day as a reminder of what’s important to your success. Know your numbers every day, and make adjustments if you’re falling short of the targets you’ve set for yourself.

Of course, there are a number of ways to write a business plan and if you work with a coach, this is something to discuss with them. But, if you don’t currently have a plan and find yourself struggling, now’s the time: sit down, review our basics, do a little research and get to planning.

For a little inspiration, we’ll close with a quote from Walt Disney:

“The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.”