As the saying goes, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. When you start a business, this is especially true. Making decisions that do not line up with your short- and long-term goals will come back to haunt you. While you cannot plan for every scenario, a well-crafted business plan creates a framework that will help keep you from going down the wrong path. With these five tips, you can create the business plan you need to reach your goals.
Think Short and Long Term
Your plans for your first deal are just as important as your plans for where you want to be five years down the road. Business plans require balance, with equal thought given to the short term and the long term. Too much focus on the short-term and you will run out of momentum. Too much focus on the long-term and you may never get your business started at all. Reevaluate your plan on a regular basis, as well. After all, life tends to be unpredictable. Plans will shift, but in writing down what your goals are, you stand a far better chance of staying true to your vision, even if some of the details change a bit.
Plan for Change
Change is inevitable. By going into your business plan with a few contingencies, you will be ready if Plan A doesn’t quite work the way you hoped. Without advance planning, you will waste valuable time scrambling for a new direction with something unexpected happens. Given the sometimes-volatile nature of the real estate world, you will be ahead of the game if you plan for change.
Be Specific with Action Plans
Do not confuse lofty goals and wish lists with a business plan. Successful plans require goals, timeframes, and details. For example, you might set a goal of making 10 new contacts per month. How will you do this? Are you going to join a networking group or rely on people you already know to help make your introductions? Are you going to set up an email campaign, or use traditional mailers? If you need to make 10 contacts, how many more people will you try and fail to reach in the process? What types of contacts do you need—Realtors, contractors, financial backers? Get the details nailed down now, so you know where to put your energy as your business starts to grow.
Watch the Money
While property investing does not necessarily require a lot of capital to get started, expenses can add up quickly. If you have financial backers, you also need to pay close attention to where the money goes, so you can provide updates and reports as needed. Create a detailed budget. This will keep you on track and aware of any issues that require immediate attention.
Set Realistic Timeframes
Your business plan will contain multiple facets, each with its own timeframe for completion. Be realistic about the amount of time each component requires. For example, a marketing campaign will take several months to show results, so do not give up on it if you do not see measurable results in 30 days. However, if you expected a deal to close within two weeks, and two months pass with no progress, it is time to reevaluate. Your days will be filled with a lot of activity, and you will lose track of the weeks and months if you do not have a system in place to monitor your longer-term goals.
Despite all the details, your business plan does not need to be an especially lengthy document. If it covers these five areas, with a manageable structure, you will be on your way to a successful business.