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Defining Your Mission & Vision
Writing a 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. Some questions you should ask yourself include:
- What type of real estate do you sell?
- Where is your business located?
- Who founded your business?
- What sets your business apart from your competitors?
What is a Vision Statement (Business News Daily, Dec. 21, 2021)
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)
Using a SWOT Analysis to Structure Your Business Plan
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. Evaluate by using the following questions:
- 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. 29, 2021)
How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis for Your Small Business (SCORE, May 22, 2020)
SWOT Analysis Toolbox (University of Washington)
Setting Business Goals
Next, translate your mission and vision into tangible goals. For instance, if your mission statement is to make every client feel like your most important client, think about the following:
- 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)
Establishing a Format
Most businesses either follow a traditional business plan format or a lean startup plan.
Traditional Business Plan
A traditional business plan is detailed and comprehensive. Writing this business plan takes more time. A traditional business plan typically contains the following elements:
- Executive Summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Organization and management
- Service or product line
- Marketing and sales
- Funding request
- Financial projections
Lean Startup Plan
A lean startup plan requires high-level focus but is easier to write, with an emphasis on key elements. A lean startup plan typically contains the following elements:
- Key partnerships
- Key activities
- Key resources
- Value proposition
- Customer relationships
- Customer segments
- Cost structure
- Revenue stream
Creating a Marketing Plan
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, Apr. 14, 2022)
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. Some questions to consider are:
- 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 2022 (The Close, May 26, 2020)
Don’t Start a Real Estate Team Without Asking Yourself These 8 Questions (Homelight, Jan. 21, 2020)
Implementing a Business Plan and Reviewing Regularly
Implementation and follow-up are frequently overlooked aspects to the business plan, yet vital to the success of the plan. Set dates (annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly) to review your business plans goals. Consider the following while reviewing:
- Are you on track?
- Are the goals reasonable to achieve, impossible, or too easy?
- How do you measure success—is it by revenue, profit, or number of transactions?
And lastly, think about overall goals.
- 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?
These items are only a few sections of a business plan. Depending on your business, you may want to include additional sections in your plan such as a:
- 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)
The Bottom Line
Creating a business plan may seem daunting, but by understanding your business and market fully, you can create a plan that generates success (however you choose to define it).
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
Guide to Creating a Business Plan with Template (Business News Daily, Feb. 25, 2022)
Nine Lessons These Entrepreneurs Wish They Knew Before Writing Their First Business Plans (Forbes, Jul. 25, 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:
The Straightforward Business Plan (eBook)
Start-Up! A Beginner's Guide to Planning a 21st Century Business (eBook)
Complete Book of Business Plans (eBook)
How to Write a Business Plan (eBook)
The Easy Step by Step Guide to Writing a Business Plan and Making it Work (eBook)
Business Planning: 25 Keys to a Sound Business Plan (Audiobook)
Your First Business Plan, 5th Edition (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
As a member benefit, the following resources and more are available for loan through the NAR Library. Items will be mailed directly to you or made available for pickup at the REALTOR® Building in Chicago.
Writing an Effective Business Plan (Deloitte and Touche, 1999) HD 1375 D37w
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