By Gino Blefari
This week my travels found me in Minneapolis to present my third quarter report and the 2016 budget to the HomeServices of America, Inc. board. Then I headed west to San Francisco, where the autumn season and my recent forward-looking meetings played unexpectedly on my mind.
In Northern California, the leaves are still colorful on the trees, and this year, the fall season brought with it back-to-school memories of my days attending San Jose State University. I still vividly remember the late Dr. Pete Zidnak, my professor for business management, dressed sharply with an ever-present bow tie, who always began his lectures by reciting a quote to inspire the class of young and eager business minds. I was only 21, a junior in college, when he one day quoted Benjamin Franklin—“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”—but in the years following that momentous day, I’ve taken to heart the wisdom these words contain. Now an enthusiastic proponent of time management, I plan everything with exacting detail—just as I did this week in Minneapolis—and you should, too.
In real estate, we operate on a 90-day cycle. What you do today affects your business 90 days from now. This means careful planning must be involved in order to ensure future success. It’s no secret real estate agents and real estate companies encounter cash-flow problems in January and February but it’s my own often-shared secret that the way to combat this is with a solid business plan for the entire year ahead. Ideally, this business planning should be completed by Oct. 1 but if you haven’t started, give yourself a deadline of Thanksgiving, so that 90 days from now, when the market typically slows, you avoid the countless cash-flow issues plaguing those who didn’t bother to plan.
And as you plan your year ahead, here are some suggestions for your calendar:
- I always start my planning by notating the things that provide balance in my life. Real estate agents often feel like they’re working 25 hours a day but in truth, when you note every day off, every holiday, vacation, birthday, date night, exercise class you’ll take, it’ll quickly become apparent that there’s much more potential for balance in your life than you realize.
- Next, look at the educational opportunities you’ll take advantage of in 2016. Mark all the training you’ll do—both personally and professionally—to enhance your life and your business.
- After that, write down your business activities, which include prospecting, lead follow-up, office meetings, staff meetings, appointments and more.
- Finally, remember to block time for company events, charity gatherings and conferences like Sales Convention.
So, what’s the message? Time management is the only way to accomplish your goals and it happens through a combination of preparedness and planning. Because just as Benjamin Franklin understood, once you know what your year will look like, you will never again find yourself sitting in your office hoping for success … you’ll plan on it.