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5 Steps for Successful Business Planning in 2014

Business PlanIf the thought of business planning strikes fear into your heart (or just plain turns your stomach), you're not alone. Many agents dread building a business plan. At the same time, it's an invaluable tool that can take your enterprise to the next level.

Today, we're going to provide a few tips, tricks, and tools to make the process less daunting.

Be Prepared

If you're building a detailed business plan, there will probably be some financial and other information that you'll need to reference. The process of writing your plan will go much more smoothly if you have this information at your fingertips. So, open up your accounting software, or get your production reports from your broker.

Tell the "Story" of Your Business

Did you ever take a journalism class in high school or college? If so, you're familiar with those essential elements of a good story: who, what, where, when, how and why. These are the questions that your business plan should answer.

  • What do I do?
  • What am I best at?
  • Who knows this?
  • Why do they care?
  • How can I extend my sphere?
  • What message should I focus on that defines me?
  • What are the costs/trade-offs of my business plan?
  • Who needs to review it? How will I hold myself accountable for the goals outlined in the business plan?
  • What is the timeline for each of the steps in accomplishing my goals?
  • Why are these my objectives? The world has changed, and so have our industry and your customers. It's time to look closely (and honestly) at the strengths and weaknesses of your business.