For some strange reason, one can mention planning and people tend to duck and run. I think this happens because people don’t understand the process of planning. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever gone to the buy groceries without a “grocery list?” If you’re like I am, when I don’t have a list to follow I buy things I don’t need and forget to get some things that were of utmost importance. So important that I had to make a special trip back to the store just to get those items. Look at the time and money it would have saved me had I taken time to write down a grocery list. It would have made the buying process so much easier and faster.
We are self-reliant on our brains to remember everything for us but since we didn’t prioritize each thing the brain doesn’t place an importance on those things for an instant recall. Therefore it is forgotten until something reminds us and by then it may be too late. Let me explain how some of us overcompensate by writing down everything we need to accomplish. Years ago I was taught in a sales seminar that if it is important that you do a particular task, that it should be written down and then prioritized by the level of importance. I learned the lesson well. I began writing down a “to do” list for every day. My list included appointments and times, every little task I wanted to accomplish, and even just important things I wanted to remember. My lists are sometimes so long it may be several pages. At the end of the day, I begin a new “to do” list for the next day by beginning with the things I didn’t accomplish from today’s list. I will keep everything on my list until they are done, but the strange thing is how the items would change in priority throughout the day. A task is never forgotten because I’m working from the list but it isn’t unusual for things to remain on my list for an extended period of time.
I think we can all understand the importance of writing down things we want to remember so why don’t we write down things we want to accomplish six months from now, next year or even several years from now. If it works on a daily and weekly basis, wouldn’t it even be more important to use the same technique for remembering things you want to accomplish on a monthly and yearly basis? Sure it would but it will require much more thinking on our part. Yea, but it would be worth it.
A plan is nothing more than a written expectation of what you want to accomplish on a desired time-frame. Almost everything, every tangible item that exists began with sketches or drawings of what a finished product would look like. These blueprints are plans. A business doesn’t become successful because of happenstance. Success comes through articulate finesses of careful planning. We plan our daily activities so our business can become successful or don’t plan our activities and our business fails. The choice of what we are planning for is ours to make.
Each year we should rewrite our annual business plans based on the production level of the past 12 months. Creating this plan will allow us to properly set goals we desire to attain in the coming year. It will also allow us to budget each cost based on past history rather than speculation. Planning our time and activities will allow us to set aside time to accomplish all of our goals that may be equally important to us. I think we can all see the importance of planning for the future; we just need to understand how to build the plan so that it can work smoothly.
This is the first of November so we have two months to work on our 2013 business plan. That is sufficient time to carefully piece all the pieces of the puzzle together. Let’s begin by taking a look into the past. We can’t determine where we want to go until we know exactly where we are and where we have been. By reflecting on the past we can look at actual cost and production levels to measure our expectations against. If my monthly income over the past 12 months was produced by closing an average of four sales each month, wouldn’t it be reasonable to set my financial goals for closing five or six sales each month for the coming year? Sure it is. Our goals are supported by factual data of past production. What if I had set a goal whereby my desired income would require me closing eight sales each month? This would be an unreasonable and unrealistic goal that is not attainable.
Creating a business plan requires a tremendous amount of thinking and honest evaluation within you. Of everything you do, what is most important to you and your family? Many people say that family is the most important thing to them, when in fact they spend less time with their family than they do their job. Those same people may even claim that money is not important to them at all. Not only must we be totally honest with ourselves, we must have balance. Let’s say we have family goals, business goals, religious goals, and health goals. It is a known fact that there are only 24-hours in a day. How do we break down our hours to allow time for accomplishing all our goals? Personally I think this has to be done backwards. That is begin with 24 hours and subtract the most important or necessary times. For example, we need 8-hours sleep each day to rejuvenate our bodies with the strength we need to do the work required of us. Subtracting 8-hours from 24 leaves 16-hours to perform all other tasks. Most jobs are standardized at 8-hours a day so subtract 8 from 16 and now you only have 8-hours left to perform all other tasks such as eating, bathing, driving, relaxing, playing or fun activities, going to church or family functions, or children’s activities. It’s nice to say that certain things are important to us but just how important are they. Why have a goal at all when we know from the beginning that it is impossible to reach it.
I think we can all see the importance of making plans for the future and I think we can see why it’s so important for us to carefully think things through when making those plans. To help you understand how to create a business plan from start to finish, you might consider referring to my “Six Steps to Creating a Business Plan.” They are all covered in blogs written on consecutive weeks. You can access them by going to www.arec.AlabamaRealEstateInstitute.com and search through the blogs.
Should you have specific questions concerning various issues, please let me know and I’ll research the answer for you. I also want to encourage you to subscribe to our “News & Updates” weekly report so you can stay abreast of issues that might affect you when buying or selling real estate. If you haven’t visited my website, please go to www.AlabamaRealEstateInstitute.com and view previous articles.