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GPS: Blueprint for Planning Success

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With us well into the month of December, I have to assume that most hard working folks have completed their business plan for the upcoming year. Knowing that the coming year will be an incredible improvement over the one we’re in (card carrying optimists believe that every year) should have been the impetus for a hard look at 2013 and your business. It was that most famous quotster , unknown, who said, Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal.” If you’re still on the planning sidelines, let’s get you into the game by using a wonderful acronym/metaphor, GPS.
Ah, the GPS system, a wonderful system of satellites populating the skies so that the government and other entities can spy on us. Sorry, I mean, a wonderful system of satellites populating the skies enabling us to find our way if lost, slightly confused, or simply desire some guidance along our way. While many utilize GPS as a system for guidance while driving, I use GPS as the guiding driver in creating my business plan. GPS stands for Goals, Planning, Systems: the three steps to creating a well guided business in the coming year (and thereafter). So, let’s get started.
Goals. Goals are the foundation behind the plan and its implementation. Without goals, we travel through our businesses without direction. This point is best illustrated in the conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
`That depends a good 
deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
`I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.
`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.”
As a big believer in balance, I set goals for all facets of my life. If something is important, be it family, spirituality, fitness, or whatever, it needs to be a priority. To be a priority, it must first be a goal. My trek into the world of goal setting is outlined in the following blog post: Feel free to use it as your own GPS goal guiding system.
Planning.Once armed with a worthy goal, we need a plan to achieve it. Planning for a business can be a lengthy, tedious process. It is that plan, however, that is the catalyst around which your business will operate throughout the year and into the future. So, you will find it time well spent.
Begin by defining your vision. In a vision statement you say where it is you want to go. It’s kind of a big picture look ahead thing. The vision at Nike, for example, is ” To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.” Sound a little out there? It should. Your vision is where you see where you want to be.
Once completed, take that vision and turn it into a Mission Statement. A mission statement will describe 1) Who you are 2) What you want to do and 3) How you are going to do it. Mission Statements help provide direction and guidance for businesses. To quote the outline in CRS 200, the business planning & marketing course, “The Mission Statement flows directly from the vision statement. It is the implementation of the vision and it outlines what must happen to realize the vision. It’s a ‘how-we-will-get-there’ guide that contains action words and adjectives that modify them.” 
The mission at Nike is “To carry on his legacy of innovative thinking, whether to develop products that help athletes of every level of ability reach their potential, or to create business opportunities that set Nike apart from the competition and provide value for our shareholders.” That’s a bit more practical.
The next step in planning is the budget. I like to do expenses first, so that I know what I am up against. My goal, like yours, is PROFIT. Having a firm grasp on my expenses, allows me to plan a year that brings in ample money beyond my expense, thus landing me in the arena of PROFIT.
Diligence is required in this step as it is essential that you dig up everything you spend your hard earned money on in your life. The key expense categories for a real estate practitioner are Personal, Business Operating, and Marketing. Don’t forget to budget in for taxes as the government wants its share as well. Remember, we’re talking about planning your income and expenses for you to have the kind of LIFE you desire. Examine what has to be done to get where you want to go.
Systems. Having your business firmly rooted on paper is one thing. Putting the plan into action creates success. In order to accomplish action, people in a complicated business need systems. Systems set the tone, pace, and rhythm of a business. A good system creates efficiency and makes taking action a measurable, effective, even easier thing.
Systems should be in place, describing what you do and when throughout your business. Some areas of focus could be; Marketing (the implementation of your plan), Contact Management, Transaction Management, Listing, Sales, and Time/Energy Management, among others. An agent driven by systems stays on focus easier and with a greater level of efficiency.
GPS: Goals, Planning, Systems: Your Blueprint for Success! Sounds like a good name for a class. Well, it is. So if you need a helping hand or just a little guidance look for one of my GPS courses in a location near you OR better yet, grad the whole enchilada and take CRS 200, Business Planning and Marketing.
Here’s to a well planned, well executed 2013.