Last Friday was Oct. 1 and we just finished up the third quarter. Why is that important? Well, the significance of Oct. 1 in real estate is that it’s the actual start of our new year. Here’s why:
In real estate, we operate on a 90-day cycle. All the prospecting, lead generation and planning we do now is going to pay off three months from now. It’s why our new year doesn’t begin when the clock strikes midnight on Jan.1. No, our new year starts Oct.1.
Each new “real estate” year requires a new business plan. To get you started on yours, access Business Planning Essentials by clicking HERE.
Creating a business plan now will help you avoid a Q1 slump. Understandably, when the Q4 holidays arrive, people get off schedule. But if you skip ahead 90 days, your holiday lag will show up in January and February, just as you’re kicking off Q1. During my 30-plus years in the real estate business—as an agent, a manager and an owner of a company—I’ve found that there’s always a cash flow problem in the months of January and February. This applies as much to agents as it does to brokerage owners.
A business plan allows you to plan for what’s ahead, and it ensures that the busy holiday season won’t stop you. Remember, business planning isn’t all about business; one important aspect of a business plan is your schedule, which you should complete for the entire year. The first thing to schedule are the most critical business meetings that you can’t miss. Knowing when those occur will help you plan when you need to work and when you can take days off. The next thing you do before you schedule anything else is put in whatever gives you balance, like your vacations and days off. This will ensure that you take the time off you need to recharge and you won’t schedule meetings or calls during the time you’ve blocked off for rest and relaxation. Once you have done that, never make a commitment with your time without checking your schedule first.
Here are a few more reasons why your business needs a plan:
– To establish goals and milestones.
– To take time to examine your competition as you outline your own competitive advantages and the areas of your business you need to focus on and improve.
– To deal with economic conditions effectively. When you look at your business model from a planning perspective (and not while in the midst of a heated obstacle), you have a more objective view of how it can be adapted during times of challenge and change.
– To discover new opportunities for revenue and growth. As you plan, you’re taking time to critically examine your client base and business model, which may help you discover new ways you can grow your business.
So, what’s the message? Over the years, I’ve been tuned into the cash flow problem of agents and brokerage owners during the months of January and February; but with a business plan, you can avoid those issues. This post is your reminder of the importance of a business plan, which will allow you to start the official new year with momentum and a solid plan for sustainable growth.
This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.