Tuesday, February 28, 2006

60 Days Into 2006 - How is Your Business Plan Working?

This article is written by Allen Wright, who is a Business Planner. It has some excellent points on checking in on your business, to see how you are doing so far, compared to where you intended to be. He talks about what points are important to keep track of frequently, and what things to be wary of micromanaging.

RISMEDIA, March 1 — As an ongoing process, business planning has many stages and focuses and the most important remains to continuously monitor your results. Sixty days into your 2006 business plan is a good time to see what needs adjusting. There are many purposes for doing this review such as checking accuracy, noting changes, developing habits and evaluating progress.

Check your plan for accuracy. There are two major areas that you need to check for the accuracy of actual activities and expenses. Since you have completed your first two months did you forget to account for anything in your budget? You should be recording all the activities you complete as you move towards your goal. Have you accounted for all the sources of business and business producing activities? Have you have forgotten an activity? Make sure you go back into your plan and add the item and any associated expenses in your plan/budget section as well as the business development section if appropriate.

An example of this might be a postcard you send out to all of your past clients, personal sphere and farm that lists the “Top Five in “05”. This postcard would have the best five homes you participated in closing for the year. If you do this type of marketing did you account for it in your marketing budget?

Another example would be expenses. Since several real estate overhead expenses are paid at the beginning of the year be sure to periodically review then throughout the year. You should be recording these expenses in your business plan or accounting software. Take a look at your business plan … did you forget any of these expenses? If so, go back to your plan and add them to this year’s business plan. In the process don’t forget that changes to your business plan will affect other areas. Make sure that after you make a change that you check and see what effects that change has had on your total plan and business development. It is recommended to make minor adjustments to your plan throughout the year as a quick check to see if you have accounted for everything.

One secret to success is establishing success oriented habits. These habits include recording your activities and appointments from all sources of business. Additionally, you should be recording each transaction and the associated transaction expenses as well as the normal expenses you incur throughout the year. Remember the golden rule of sales management, “If you cannot measure it you cannot manage it.”

Finally, check your progress. Although you are only two months into this year you should make sure you are laying the proper foundation for future success. We have all heard the “pipeline philosophy” time and time again … keep the pipeline full. A good tip for doing that is to examine your production and activity results as follows:

• Record and Check Activities Weekly
• Check Expenses Monthly
• Examine Revenue Every Other Month

The reason for this is simple. Activities are the lifeblood of any sales oriented business and therefore should be examined frequently. As time progresses you will forget some activities and appointments that you completed, so by recording them each week you will be able to quickly recall what you have completed.

Expenses can often creep-up and get out of control. Examining your expenses on a monthly basis will keep you on top of your budget and prevent an “out-of-control” scenario. You should be recording your expenses each week but don’t micromanage your business by examining them that often; monthly is sufficient.

Revenue is more unpredictable than the other parts of your business. Revenue may shift from month to month because of delayed closings resulting from things outside your control. With that being said, examine your revenue at least every other month. Once again, don’t micromanage your business and over analyze your revenue. As long as you are completing revenue producing activities things will naturally fall into place.

If you are struggling to manage or monitor all these activities manually, consider using an online real estate business planning and weekly accountability system that can do all this for you automatically. Visit CreateAPlan (www.createaplan.com) and keep your business moving on the right path.


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