Still Don't Have a Business Plan?
Yep, it’s THAT time of the year again. Time to put aside a half or full day for some serious consideration of how you intend to grow your mortgage practice in 2010.
Being that I’ve been working with mortgage professionals and their business planning efforts for five years now, I can say, without blushing, I have some expert advice to share on this matter.
Sometimes you’ve got to creep-up on the business of business planning
What I mean is, if you tell yourself,
“Self, we’re going to spend all day today devising our business plan for 2010 and we’re gonna do it by ourselves, locked up in our office, with a blank Word doc or giant whiteboard as our business planning canvas.”
Likely what will happen is your “Self” will get cold feet, create reasons and emergencies and must-dos to keep you from what your subconscious sees as an enormous and brain-draining task.
To combat this, try a business planning warm-up exercise. Just stick one toe into the icy cold water to start. Here’s an exercise that I share with my own coaching clients who feel anxious about beginning the process: I CAN Plan Business ACTION Planning Primer
Buddy-up with other like-minded Mortgage Professionals
Going it alone truly does decrease the likelihood that one will finish his/her plan. Remember the old saying, “No one succeeds alone!”
Buddy up with 2 or 3 other goal-oriented, enthusiastic mortgage professionals in your area. Set a date and place, preferably NOT in your office or theirs and keep the agenda simple.
Here are 5 business foundations to consider as you begin to brainstorm your goals as a group:
- Time Management
- Marketing & Lead Generation
- Database Management
- Building Business Referral Partnerships
Be specific with your goals and simplistic with your process
Creating dynamic, detailed, action-driven goals is the MOST important aspect of your business plan. All of our excitement, hope and renewed energy comes from the act of creation and creativity. Don’t just stop with a goal like:
Develop methods to cultivate my new business referral relationships.
Take it to the next level with actionable items like:
- Invite 5 of my new business referral partners to meet at my office on a quarterly basis as a Mastermind group.Rotate who will set the agenda and lead the group.
- Locate and schedule to attend at least 3 business growth seminars, workshops, or presentations per year. Call all of my referral partners to let them know about the event, and for those who agree to go to the event, host a dinner party immediately after to discuss take-aways and each person’s implementation strategy.
- Invite my new referral partners to join www.LinkedIn.com, and offer to write a recommendation for the ones who accept the invitation.
Always set target action dates for all of the activities you must engage in, in order to accomplish your goals. Looking at the year ahead can feel daunting. Decide when you’ll start on certain goals by quarter, first. Then take it down to months within the quarter and then finally into the week of that month you have designated as your target action date. Whatever you do, DON’T SKIP THIS STEP. Prioritizing your goals and getting them into your calendar drives a significantly higher percentage of success than passively keeping your goals in a workbook.
There are dozens of seminars, software applications and workbooks with CDs & DVDS on the topic of business planning, all of which can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars. Much of the content and instruction is complicated and quite frankly, overkill, for what is needed in order to develop an effective plan.
What you need:
- Very specific, actionable goals WRITTEN DOWN.
- All goals and specific action steps prioritized into your Outlook, ACT, Franklin Covey or other favorite calendar tool.
- “Buddies” with whom you can share best practices and brainstorm goals.
- An accountability partner that you meet with once or twice a month, without fail, for the entire year.
However you attack the business of business planning, just remember, it’s personal and will drive certain emotions and this is precisely WHY many professionals do not engage in the process even though they know they should.
It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious, conflicted or overwhelmed when sitting down to write your goals and action plan. As the old saying goes, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Your business, your family and most importantly, YOU are worth the effort.