Writing a business plan may seem a daunting task as there are so many moving parts and concepts to address. Take it one step at a time and be sure to schedule regular review (quarterly, semi-annually, or annually) of your plan to be sure you on are track to meet your goals.
- A good business plan not only creates a road map for your business, but helps you work through your goals and get them on paper
- Business plans come in many formats and contain many sections, but even the most basic should include a mission and vision statement, marketing plans, and a proposed management structure
- Business plans can help you get investors and new business partners
Writing a business plan is imperative to getting your business of the ground. While every plan is different – and most likely depends on the type and size of your business – there are some basic elements you don’t want to ignore.
NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.
Defining Your Mission & Vision
Writing a solid business plan begins by defining your business’s mission and vision statement. Though creating such a statement may seem like fluff, it is an important exercise. The mission and vision statement sets the foundation upon which to launch your business. It is difficult to move forward successfully without first defining your business and the ideals under which your business operates. A company description should be included as a part of the mission and vision statement: what type of real estate do you sell? Where is your business located? Who founded your business? What is sets your business apart from your competitors?
What is a Vision Statement (Business News Daily, May 7, 2020)
How to Write a Mission Statement (The Balance, Jan. 2, 2020)
Company Description (U.S. Small Business Administration)
How to Write a Mission Statement (Janel M. Radtke, 1998)
Once you’ve created a mission and vision statement, the next step is to develop a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.” It is difficult to set goals for your business without first enumerating your business’s strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Do you offer superior customer service as compared with your competitors? Do you specialize in a niche market? What experiences do you have that set you apart from your competitors? What are your competitors’ strengths? Where do you see the market already saturated, and where are there opportunities for expansion and growth?
Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat (SWOT) (Investopedia, Mar. 30, 2021)
How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis for Your Small Business (SCORE, May 22, 2020)
SWOT Analysis Toolbox (University of Washington)
Next, translate your mission and vision into tangible goals. If your mission statement is to make every client feel like your most important client: how specifically will you implement this? Do you want to grow your business? Is this growth measured by gross revenue, profit, personnel, or physical office space? How much growth do you aim for annually? What specific targets will you strive to hit annually in the next few years?
What are Business Goals? Definition, How To Set Business Goals and Examples (Indeed, Jun. 9, 2021)
Six Steps for Setting Business Goals (University of Notre Dame, Oct. 8, 2020)
You may wish to create a marketing plan as either a section of your business plan or as an addendum. The Marketing Mix concerns product, price, place and promotion. What is your product? How does your price distinguish you from your competitors—is it industry average, upper quartile, or lower quartile? How does your pricing strategy benefit your clients? How and where will you promote your services? What types of promotions will you advertise? Will you ask clients for referrals or use coupons? Which channels will you use to place your marketing message?
Your Guide to Creating a Small Business Marketing Plan (Business.com, Aug. 12, 2020)
10 Questions You Need to Answer to Create a Powerful Marketing Plan (The Balance, Jan. 16, 2020)
Developing a Marketing Plan (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation)
Forming a Team
Ensuring the cooperation of all colleagues, supervisors, and supervisees involved in your plan is another important element to consider. Is your business plan’s success contingent upon the cooperation of your colleagues? If so, what specifically do you need them to do? How will you evaluate their participation? Are they on-board with the role you have assigned them? How will you get “buy in” from these individuals?
How to Start a Rock-Solid Real Estate Team in 2021 (The Close, May 26, 2020)
Don’t Start a Real Estate Team Without Asking Yourself These 8 Questions (Homelight, Jan. 21, 2020)
Implementation, Follow-up, & Additional Elements
Implementation and follow-up are frequently overlooked aspects to the business plan, yet enormously vital to the success of the plan. Set dates (annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly) to review your business plans goals: are you on track? Were the goals reasonable to achieve, impossible, or too easy? How do you measure success—is it by revenue, profit, or number of transactions?
And last, how do you plan to implement your business plan’s goals? When will you review and refine your business plan goals? What process will you use to review your goals? What types of quantitative and qualitative data will you collect and use to measure your success?
The aforementioned items are only a few sections of the business plan. Depending on aspects unique to your business, you may want to include additional sections in your plan. Some of these sections may include:
- Cover letter stating the reasoning behind developing a business plan
- Non-disclosure statement
- Table of contents
- Executive Summary
Business Proposal Letter Examples (Indeed, Feb. 22 2021)
Implementing Your Business Plan Objectives (The Balance, Oct. 27, 2019)
Real Estate Business Plans – Samples, Instructional Guides, and Templates
9 Steps to Writing a Real Estate Business Plan + Templates (The Close, Feb. 12, 2021)
How to Write a Real Estate Business Plan (+Free Template) (Fit Small Business, Nov. 12, 2020)
The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Real Estate Business Plan + Free Template (Placester, Feb. 7, 2019)Create Your Business Plan (U.S. Small Business Administration)
General Business Plans – Samples, Instructional Guides, and Templates
Nine Lessons These Entrepreneurs Wish They Knew Before Writing Their First Business Plans (Forbes, Jul. 25, 2021)
Business Plan Template for Entrepreneurs (Business News Daily, May 5, 2021)
Business Plan Template for a Startup Business (SCORE, Jan. 3, 2020)
How to Write a Business Plan 101 (Entrepreneur)
Books, eBooks & Other Resources
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
Complete Book of Business Plans (eBook)
How to Write a Business Plan (eBook)
Anatomy of a Business Plan (eBook)
Writing a Business Plan and Making it Work (Audiobook)
The Social Network Business Plan (eBook)
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.
Writing an Effective Business Plan (Deloitte and Touche, 1999) HD 1375 D37w
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