Once upon a time, long before he was busy polarizing the American electorate, Donald Trump built his reputation in real estate. A guy who goes by The Donald clearly means business. Regardless of one’s opinion of Mr. Trump, it must be said that he is great at what he does, and what he does is better than most is to set a goal and see the goal to completion. There are no half-measures in the Trump universe. What Can You Do? So, you have ambitions in real estate that, in comparison to Mr. Trump’s, are quite modest. Still, they are important to you. You want to build a successful real estate business and, eventually, you want business expansion and overall growth in business. Here, then, is a brief outline that can help provide guidance both in developing a real estate business and in growing real estate sales. Developing a Business The first step in developing your business is determining your niche. To determine your niche, it is helpful to consider the type of real estate you want to develop. Residential real estate is a lucrative market, though some aspiring realtors may prefer to focus on commercial real estate. Beyond thinking about the sort of real estate on which you plan to focus, it is also a good idea to visualize your customer base. Success in the real estate business is largely a result of the ability to make a sale. A key component of a successful salesperson is good customer service. A great property and an effective sales pitch are no match for customer care. Clients are important to the real estate business, and good customer service is integral to growing and maintaining your business. Find your niche by identifying both the type of real estate on which you want to focus and the sort of customer whose needs you seek to meet. The Best Laid Plan Disregard the adage that suggests even the best plans are inclined to go awry. Your purpose is to craft the business plan that makes the most sense for you. Weigh your choice of real estate and customer base, then go to work crafting an actionable business plan that allows for business expansion, growth in business, and realistic real estate sales goals. Consider the following steps on the road to building your business. Outline your goals Research the market Think mid-range Be strategic Stick to a budget Craft an action plan Conduct self-assessments Outline Your Goals Make an outline that covers what you need to achieve in order to make your business successful. Success is determined on an individual basis, so you want to consider things like how much you hope to earn, what your expense budget might be, and how many sales you need to make in order to balance your earnings and expenses. Successful business people understand how to work smart, and making an outline that details your income expectations as well as the expenses you incur goes a long way toward clarifying how you shape your business. Research the Market Doing research on the real estate market in your area is essential. With a full, realistic understanding of the market, you will be able to see how factors that impact the market will translate to your business goals. Nobody wants to work with a realtor who does not have a firm grasp on the market. Magical thinking is great in theory but terrible in practice. Know your niche, know your market, and be prepared to roll with the changes. Think Mid-range Aim for the middle, planning for something between short-term success and long-term success. A business plan that presumes success within a year is too ambitious to be realistic. A year goes by quickly. A plan that charts a 5-year course is too conjectural. Nobody knows what the future holds, and 5 years is a long time. Many things will change over the course of 5 years, so a plan that covers that amount of time may amount to more guesswork than anything. A 3-year plan is the perfect balance between ambitious and hopeful guessing, providing enough time for a business to gain traction—and, hopefully, profitability—and a widow small enough for realistic planning. Be Strategic You know your niche. Now, figure out the strategies that best serve your niche. If you know your target clients, you can tailor your approach to their needs. If clients are technophobic, be sure to make print materials available for them. On the other hand, if smartphones are fused to clients’ hands, market through social media and other innovative channels. For your own development, think strategically about your strengths and weakness. Then, set personal goals to bolster your strengths and eliminate your weaknesses. Stick to a Budget You have to spend money to make money, as the saying goes. Online financial templates will help you plan for income and expenses. Remember than a thriving business needs to consider a variety of costs, including insurance and real estate license renewal costs. You want your income to outstrip your budget. You also want to be sure your budget is accurate and considers the things you control—insurance costs, marketing costs, real estate license renewal costs—and has enough padding to cover unexpected expenses. Craft an Action Plan Make a plan that works. This is to say that the action plan for your business should consist of realistic, manageable goals. Maybe Donald Trump’s first business plan involved world domination, but it was probably centered on attainable goals. With specific goals articulated, you can go forth into the real estate market with a solid idea of the work you need to do in order to be successful. Conduct Self-assessments Each year, do a self-check to see how your business is progressing in relationship to your original business plan: Are you taking care of the big things? Has there been a growth in business or an increase in real estate sales? Are the little things under control? Have you budgeted enough money for the incidentals and the important costs, like the cost of your real estate license renewal? An honest review of your performance relative to your business plan will help you chart a course to business expansion, even as you self-correct for the unexpected deviations. In Conclusion Real estate is a tough business. Housing markets change on a dime. Commercial real estate is competitive. As you plan your real estate business, do some research about the market and identify both your niche and your ideal client. With your niche and your client in mind, create an action plan that will focus your efforts. Play your hand at real estate by using your Trump card: a clearly defined, well-executed business plan. That plan will help you meet whatever business goals you set. Images: “Business man drawing a house/Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.