Learn how to get your business off the ground, grow your sales with confidence, and avoid some of the most common first-year pitfalls.

Presented by CENTURY 21 Signature Real Estate

How To Succeed: In Your First Year / Building a Business Plan

Building a Business Plan

It starts with a plan. Create your unique business plan to help guide you towards your goals.

Read the transcript

In this session we will cover the basics of building a real estate business plan, including your goal setting, planning, and areas of focus.

So first, why have a business plan… Well, remember when you are a realtor – you are an independent contractor and the adage “if it is to be, it’s up to me” definitely applies here. If you don’t have a plan, how are you going to go about making things better from week to week, month to month, and year over year…??? I find that most realtors are running around in survival mode even when they’ve been in the business for several years wondering where their next lead is coming from & when they’re going to get their next “paycheck” because they’ve never taken the time to sit down & make a plan – and when I say plan I mean it’s written down, so that they can track where they’re at & where they’re going, and then so they can also analyze it on a regular basis to make tweaks to the plan – you can’t make improvements to things you don’t track. So in order to run your business like a business you need to have a written business plan.

One of the first things I think every business person needs to analyze is their WHY. Why did you choose to forego a steady paycheck for this crazy world of real estate??? It’s got to be bigger than I like people & houses…what are you really doing this for??? Once you have that answered (& your why may change over time), we suggest doing what we like to call a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Jot down what you think are your strengths & weaknesses – things that you do/don’t bring to the table currently. Then, think about your surroundings & what’s going on around you – what opportunities and possible threats are there that may impede your success/progress.

Thinking along the same lines of “if it is to be, it’s up to me” – in this business the way that we feed ourselves is through closings/commission checks. SO, you’ve GOT TO HAVE A PLAN for your lead generation to fill the top of your sales funnel first. If you haven’t already watch our video on lead generation and start there.

Once you’ve analyzed your WHY, your (SWOT) Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, & you have a lead generation plan – we like to think about the business having 6 other key areas of focus. These areas are Time, Money, Marketing, Database, Systems, and Learning. I’m going to take just a little bit of time discussing each one of these.

Money – I think there’s so much that people getting into real estate don’t think or know about when it comes to getting started & running your own business. So other than all the licensing, start up costs, and just general monthly expenses that we talk about more in depth in other areas of this series – did you know that because you’re an independent contractor when you receive a commission check that there are NO taxes taken out??? Because of this, did you know you need to plan on setting about 33% of each commission check aside to pay these later. Or have you thought about things like having all of your business expenses kept separate via a separate business checking account and credit card you use only for your business…??? Making a plan for your money is crucial to your overall survival in this business.

Marketing – now some of this may come from your 5 Spokes lead generation plan BUT what are your marketing goals? For instance what are you going to do to brand yourself, to tell your story, to tell your clients stories, to stay top-of-mind with as many people as possible to just name a few. Then also when it comes to working FOR your clients, what is your plan to market their properties. Having a process & plan on paper for your marketing strategy is essential to helping your showcase your skills & value.

Database – Who do you know??? We believe & coach that the best way to go about building your business is to work by referral. At the base level of this is letting everyone you know know you’re in real estate but then to really do this well (& actually work by referral) – you’ve got to go out & have conversations, build your real estate competence, have a plan for consistently being in touch with these people (they don’t wake up every morning thinking of you – so how can we keep in front of them so that when they think of real estate they DO think of you?), and work to provide actual value. So you must have a list of people you know put together & some sort of way to track how often you’re in front of them as well as what they mean to your business on a referral level.

Systems – you can probably see for each of the areas we’ve already talked about how it’d be impossible to keep all of this just organized in your head & even working on days when you’re maybe not. So what tools & systems will you be putting in place? A lot of these decisions will be made over time and will depend on what your decisions are for how you’ll be managing your time, money, marketing, database, and leads AND will depend on the brokerage you choose to partner with as they may have some great resources for you here. The overall idea though on systems is that you’ll want to work as you go on building systems so that even if you were to go on vacation your business could still function.

Learning – again, so much of this plan will depend on everything else AND the brokerage you choose but what is your plan for constant growth. Your business is only as good as you are at the end of the day.

You may have noticed I skipped over TIME, here’s why…I hear from people all the time that are thinking about getting their real estate license that the reason they are becoming a realtor is to have more flexibility in their schedules. I get it, this is a huge benefit to being self-employed…however, realtors are typically not very good at holding themselves accountable to a daily schedule. So as a part of developing a business plan – you need to account for all the things you need to get done, prioritize the most important things (for instance I coach that you should be setting 1-2 hours aside for lead gen/lead incubation EVERY DAY), put it to paper by time blocking your calendar for the essentials, and if you erase it replace it.

Building a Business Plan is essential so that you can transition out of survival mode & start running your business like a business.

Meet Our Agent Success Coach


Before real estate, I was a 2nd-grade teacher. I have had my license since 2014 and am now the Agent Development Director with Century 21 Signature Real Estate. I feel blessed to do what I do every day because I truly enjoy helping agents build their real estate businesses. 


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