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.
We've 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 a password.
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?
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?
SWOT Analysis Toolbox (University of Washington)
How to Write a SWOT Analysis (eHow)
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?
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?
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?
Implementation & Follow-up
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
7 Tips for Smart, Scalable Growth (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 2016)
Brown, B. B. (2006). The easy step by step guide to writing a business plan and making it work. East Lyme, CT: Rowmark.
Grover, C. (2007). Sales and marketing 101 for real estate professionals. Chicago, IL: Dearborn Financial Publishing, Inc.
Scerbo, J. S. (2008). How to write a business plan. Boca Raton, FL: BarCharts, Inc.
United States. Small Business Administration. (n.d.). Create your business plan.
(S. Hogan, Member Support Manager)
Real Estate Business Plans – Samples, Instructional Guides, and Templates
16 Steps to Your Best Business Plan (REALTOR® Magazine, Dec. 2011)
Write a Business Plan and Start a Business: Tools, Techniques and Resources (Discover Business, 2015)
How to Write a Business Plan (Forbes, Jan. 30, 2014)
Start an Online Business with These 7 Key Essential Steps (Business 2 Community, Sept. 13, 2014)
Create Your Business Plan (U.S. Small Business Administration)
Real Estate Brokerage Business Plan, (Bplans, n.d.).
—Note: registration is not required to view this sample plan, but users may register at no cost to use a free business plan template.
How to Write a Business Plan for a Real Estate Agent (Houston Chronicle)
2012 Real Estate Business Plan (MarketLeader, 2012)
—Note: see this resource for ready-to-use worksheets on expenses, income calculators, and progress charts.
General Business Plans – Samples, Instructional Guides, and Templates
Top 10 Business Plan Templates You Can Download Free (Inc., June 2015)
Business Plan Template: What to Include (Forbes, July 18, 2013)
How’s Your Business? (REALTOR® Magazine, May 2013)
10 Essential Business Plan Components (Forbes, Feb. 21, 2013)
How to Approach a Business Plan Makeover (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 2009)
Your Business Plan Guide (Entrepreneur)
Your 21-Point Business Plan (Real Trends)
Books, eBooks & Other Resources
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
The Straightforward Business Plan (Kindle, eBook)
Business Plan Checklist (Kindle, eBook)
The SWOT Analysis (Kindle, eBook)
The Business Plan Workbook (Kindle, eBook)
Complete Book of Business Plans (Kindle, 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 (Kindle, 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.
The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies (Palo Alto, CA: Running ‘R’ Media, 2000) HD 1375 A8b
Writing an Effective Business Plan (Deloitte and Touche, 1999) HD 1375 D37w
Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.
The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.