2020 business planning: how to set yourself up for success

As a busy agent, you’ve got little time to waste on the day-to-day. But setting aside some time in the next few weeks to develop comprehensive, measurable, and realistic yet ambitious goals for 2020 could wind up being one of the most important steps you take towards growing your business. Think of it as an important meeting–with yourself (at first). Here, you’ll sit down and review how you’ve been spending your time and money, as well as brainstorm strategies to spend those better. This can sound somewhat daunting, so let’s break it down.


Keep it simple to kick it off: what are some of your wants and dreams? List a handful of these in as specific terms as possible. Could a week long trip to Italy be in your future? Looking to move up to a newer home? Start your newborn’s college fund with a hefty contribution? Put it in writing.


Now, take a look at your results from the previous (current) year. Take note of things like income, units sold, total sales volume, average sales price, or average income per transaction after commission split and fees. Other helpful metrics include how often you are converting listing appointments, and how often you close those listings. Make sure to set fairly ambitious goals–the entire point of this exercise is to challenge yourself to get better, and you’ll be seeking help along the way to get you there. 


You’ll also want to calculate your business expenses. These could include any board dues, licensing fees, gas and car insurance, continuing education and any business improvement classes, publications, or news outlets you subscribe to, client meals and entertainment, personal or team marketing costs, and your phone and any other technology you’re using to streamline your business.


If you haven’t been tracking these in detail in the past, now is as good a time as any to get started–the more accurate your statistics are, the more you’ll be able to improve your overall bottom line. Once you calculate your tax deductions, you’ll have a much better idea of what goes your realistic level of take-home pay, and which expenses might be due for some trimming. It’s also crucial to designate your “survive” and “thrive” in terms of income–what is the minimum income you need to maintain, and what is the income you’d realistically like to have? Setting these numbers accurately is important, but it will be persistent follow up and making adjustments accordingly that will get you there.