When you set out to become a real estate agent, there’s a lot of learning, studying, testing, finding the right brokerage, more learning, company training….It can seem like a lot! But when it’s all said and done, if you spend so much time getting your license and starting a career, but you don’t take the time to sit down and create a budget and a business plan for yourself, you’re going to find it extremely hard to be a successful agent. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Think of your business plan as a roadmap to follow so that you don’t get lost. This is why it should be one of the first tasks you do as you embark on your career in real estate, and also something that you revisit and update at least once a year. Not all agents work the same way or have the same strengths and weaknesses, so your business plan may be different than others.
It’s also important to remember that your business plan can (and should!) continuously evolve as you learn more about your own strengths and weaknesses, and also learn more about your local real estate market.
When thinking about creating your business plan, you need to actually sit down and write it all down. This will do a world of wonder to help keep you accountable! There are plenty of online resources for business plan templates to help you with this, or your BIC may also have something that will work for you. It might also be a good idea to ask around at your office to see if other agents have a good template that they like to work with.
Establish a Mission Statement
Before you dive in, you need to know what you’re diving into! The first section you need to focus on is the mission statement that’s going to outline your general vision for success. It’s just like writing that first paragraph of an essay in grade school! Even though you likely won’t be sharing this with anyone but yourself, it’s a good idea to still write this summary to get you started.
You should include what area you plan to work in, what type of real estate and clients you’re focusing on, and what skills you bring to the table. Do you want to jump into the luxury real estate market? Do you want to be the top agent in your firm? Is your main goal just to make the process enjoyable for each and every client? Put it all here!
You’ll Need a Marketing Strategy
Let’s start by establishing your target client. Without knowing who you’re trying to market to, it’s going to be pretty hard to have a marketing strategy! Once you figure out who you’re looking to work with, and what area you’re wanting to target, you need to also decide what it is about yourself that is unique. What is going to help you stand out from the rest of the other real estate agents out there?
After you’ve figured all of this out, now you can start to figure out some specific, do-able steps for your marketing strategy to help you attract those target clients in your target market. Get specific about it. Are you looking to print postcards for past clients? Farming a whole neighborhood? Doing some door-knocking in a hot neighborhood?
You’ll Also Need a Financial Plan
As with anything else in life, having a financial plan is essential, and will definitely help you as you deal with the expenses you’ll come across in your first year (and every year after). It can seem overwhelming, but start by writing out all of your known necessary financial obligations, like your MLS fees, broker or resource fees for your firm, or the cost of your continuing education. Add to that any marketing materials you’re looking at doing, such as postcards, business cards, Facebook ads, or anything else to get your business out there. Your next step is to decide how much income you want to make.
I mean, you can write 1 billion dollars, but it’s probably better to figure out how much an agent usually makes in your local market and set something a little more realistic! Now add up all of your expenses, add them to how much income you want to take home, and figure out, on average, how many transactions you need to close to reach that number.
You’re going to have to actually get out there and do the things you have planned for! Go back to the goals that you created for yourself so far in your business plan, and start to think realistically about what you can do to achieve them. For instance, if one of your goals for the year is to grow your network, you could plan to add 15 new prospective clients to your database each month. Break it down into a list of networking ideas that you can put into action each month to try and pick up those contacts, like attending community functions, or handing out business cards at a PTA meeting.
And that’s it, right?! Nope! Once you have your business plan developed completely, make sure to schedule a regular review with yourself to go over your plan and make sure that you stay on track to meet your goals. Don’t skip this step! It’s really important to make sure that you’re keeping up with your tasks to keep yourself on target to meet those goals.