Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time for a Fresh Start

by Cheri Alguire

The tax credit has almost expired, now what?

Well, the good thing is that it is SPRING!

I saw some flowers off the trail on a recent hike. It reminded me how much I love Spring.

I love the fresh starts. Beginning all over again. It's like hitting the refresh button.

And now that we are finally getting some good news about the economy, maybe it will be time for some of those old stall leads to finally buy or sell.

Spring is always a good time to check in with leads, past clients and your sphere. You can either call them, or try sending a greeting card with www.CardsForRealEstate.com

There are also more and more Expired Listings out there. Agents all across the country are having fantastic luck with www.ExpiredRealEstateLeads.com

Whatever you are going to do to boost your business this spring, NOW IS THE TIME!

Our coaching clients are experiencing fantastic results from having a great plan, a sounding board, and an accountability partner. Maybe it is time to talk to one of our coaches at http://www.Prorealestatecoach.com to see how we may be able to partner with you to take your business to the next level this spring.

I have had clients who have had a tough year.

I have had clients that have had an amazing year.

And everything in between.

No matter what kind of year you have had, it is time for a fresh start. No matter what challenges you had yesterday, you can create your own tomorrow.

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tips for Real Estate Moms


By Katrina Eileen

As a working mother sometimes from morning ‘til our heads hit the pillows at night we are going. Taking care of clients, children, husbands, PTA, church & organizations that matter to us, the home, the car, balancing the bank account, bills, the yard, opening the mail, packing lunches, calls from school, finding babysitters, mothers, fathers, you name it - it can consume us.

How can we balance business, family and all of the things that are important to us in our life is the key to living a life that we love. Here are a couple of tips to maximize your effectiveness in business while being available as a mom to your kiddos.

Turn off your cell phone - It was a wakeup call for me the day that, while we were sitting down for dinner; my kids asked if we could have a rule that we don't have any cell phones at the table. While I would never take calls at the table I would forward incoming leads to buyer’s agents or shoot text messages and answer texts from members of my team. I thought these were flying under the radar. Guess what, they weren't. I laughed at myself and then realized that what was important during these few precious hours that I had with my children was them and that as long as my mind was divided so was my attention. One of the best choices that you can make for your relationships is to be fully present to the people that you are with. I actually had to turn my phone on silent and leave it in the other room. Even having it in the same room I would sometimes absentmindedly pick it up, just to glance at it and get roped into some form of, "oh wait! just a sec...gotta send a quick...".

Schedule family time first - Take some time once a month to look over the next month or quarter and write in time for you and time for your family. When you schedule that big vacation you always make time for that. Why not schedule smaller respites throughout the month or quarter even if it is just for a day or even a couple of hours. Treat these as one of the most important appointments you have, when talking about them always refer to them simply as an important appointment. There is no need to let anyone know the nature of your appointment. This is time to connect to what is most important in your life.

When you are working - WORK!

W hat are your dollar productive activities
O rganize and delegate the rest
R elax...breathe, remember why you are here and what your intention is
K eep focused

In coaching I like to work with my clients in creating a customized plan of action for implementing their business plan and maximizing their effectiveness. What you will find is that work may have taken a 10 or 12 hour day to complete may only take you 4 - 6 hours. Yes, you can actually create more time in your day. Whether you are Bill Gates or the Average Joe on the street, there is one thing we all have in common, 24 hours in a day. How you are spending yours will directly translate in the level of success you experience.

How do you stay focused, genuinely motivated and on track to succeed at whatever you endeavor in life? You find your true passion; you find how what you are doing or not doing now will help you live that passion. One very powerful tool that I utilize is the balance wheel. If you'd like a copy of this you can request it here. http://www.prorealestatecoach.com/pages/contact-us.htm This is one of the most effective tools I use is coaching.

Having a coach is vital to me both back when I was building my real estate business and still as a coach, a mother and personally as a woman. I feel it is so important to have a voice, an advocate in my life who knows my aspirations. This person helps me see where I am now on the map and helps me to clearly understand where I want to go and where that is on the map. Then, together, we can draw a bridge from point A to point B on that map.

When I found myself floundering, not working but spinning my wheels, feeling overwhelmed, constantly moving but never seeming to make any substantial progress, coaching was what was missing. When I began being coached and being coachable is when I found satisfaction, accomplishment and balance. Maybe you are ready to move ahead as well. Maybe it is time for you to hire a coach.

Monday, February 15, 2010

TIME MANAGEMENT AND DELEGATION

By Cheri Alguire

Remember the “best made plans of mice and men often go astray?” The old adage applies readily to your business plan if you do not manage your time effectively and/or delegate activities when needed. You can have the most inspirational vision, the tightest budget, the most sensible production plan, but if you do don’t have the time or resources (staff) to accomplish the goals, you are little better off than when you started.

To better understand the importance of the concept of time management, take a look at how you spend you time when working. Begin with a work day and then expand your analysis to the entire week. How much time do you spend “IN” the business? This refers to the crucial everyday details of the job. It includes the showings, the opens, the listing appointments, and the negotiation of contracts. How much time do you spend on the technical aspects of the business? The accounting, the scheduling, the entering of data and working on files? Without question, this can take the lion’s share of any given work day. However, danger awaits you if that is the case.

Working “ON” the business is vital if your business is to ultimately succeed and cannot be ignored. These tasks include management of the business and visionary activities. It includes mentoring, motivating, training and tracking accountability. It also includes “the big picture” activities like studying, reading, attending speakers and seminars. The problem with working ON the business is that it is too easily set aside for the daily “put out the fire” duties of tending to clients and paperwork. But that is why it is critical to create a physical time management plan that you abide as religiously as your budget. Chart it out, mark it in your Outlook calendar, and pay attention to it.

Similarly, you must think ahead in terms of the number of tasks that have to be completed to successfully make your business run. You cannot do it alone. Again, you cannot do it alone. (At least, not for very long.) Remember early on in the business planning process, we referred you to THE E-MYTH? Revisit it again in order to (re-)learn the lesson of wearing all the hats. Probably the best way to delegate the work load of the business is to create and refer to the resources chart and written job descriptions. If it’s not your job—delegate! If the person responsible isn’t doing the job, confront the problem and replace him/her as needed. You are running a business. Without delegating responsibility, you are doomed to crash and burn. And you won’t be having any fun, either.

Coach Cheri Alguire has helped hundreds of Super Small Business Owners, Realtors, Managers and Coaches create Business and Life Plans. Check out http://RealEstateBusinessPlanningGuide.com or http://www.SmallBusinessPlanningGuide.com/ contact us today at http://www.CheriAlguire.com

Monday, November 02, 2009

Business Planning Tip: the Production Plan can be more effective if you plan for the stuff behind the numbers


By Cheri Alguire

Like the budget, writing a production plan for success is a lot about numbers. Black and white. Hours, dollars, and widgets. There is a sensible layout to follow. You map out the big picture by breaking down your transactions to quarterly and monthly goals. You examine the buyer sales, listing sales, and number of new listings it takes to produce the income needed to support the budget. Easy, right?

Well, straightforward, maybe. Easy, no.

Production planning is as much about problem solving and perspective as it is about the numbers. Why? Because you know you will not always hit your numbers. (If you do, you probably were not challenging yourself enough during the visioning process.) And not hitting the numbers obviously means you have a problem. You may be overspending the budget and/or underproducing the income. Not hitting the numbers for an entire quarter might not just mean a problem, but a genuine crisis.

So it is important when production planning to focus not just on target numbers, but on the potential problems related to production so that you can plan proactively to stay in business with a smile. Lets look at some Givens.

#1 You are in control of more than you think. If you chart the numbers for first quarter and fall short, what do you do? (First of all, you always review the numbers.) If first quarter is lean, be prepared for you and others to blame outside influences. Oh, the market. Oh, those fickle buyers. Oh, those unrealistic, so-and-so sellers. Oh, those banks. Slap yourself and your teammates awake! The market is what the market is. Buyers and Sellers are simply responding to it. YOU are the expert. YOU need to take control. Take control of their expectations. Take control of your own emotions. Adjust your numbers if necessary for the rest of the year, but take control of your sales. If you were successful before this market, there is absolutely no reason you can’t be successful now. You have the experience and the skills. If you are new to this market, you have no excuse to be anything but successful because you don’t know the difference! If you were three sales short in the first quarter, plan now what it takes to make up those three in quarter two.

#2 There are some things you cannot control. Let go! A teammate’s sudden divorce is going to affect your business. No doubt about it. Can you influence that event? No. (Even if you offer the unhappy couple an all-paid expenses weekend at the Poconos in a heart-shaped tub, their relationship will not change because of your generosity and desperate attempt at keeping your top buyer agent happy and productive.) Curse fate all you like, but know that the teammate will have court dates, down days, and need extra time off to be with the kids. Let go off the idea that life is unfair and provide as best you can for the loss in production through your own efforts or added staff. Know that these things happen. Deal.

#3 Not to overuse and abuse the often quoted, Attitude is Everything, but it is. The mindset you get up with every day determines the success of your production plan. Is the market everything you read about in the papers or hear about on the TODAY SHOW? Is the sky really falling? If you believe it, your numbers certainly will reflect that view, (and you will need to hope that your spouse doesn’t mind supporting you for some time to come.) On the other hand, if you wake up each day seeing opportunity and, yes, fun in the current real estate market, your numbers will bloom and grow with every positive step. It’s not a Pollyanna world, but neither is it Oscar the Grouches. Your perspective determines outcome.

Plan for the numbers. Plan for the problems. Plan for success.

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Coach Cheri Alguire has helped hundreds of Super Small Business Owners, Realtors, Managers and Coaches create Business and Life Plans. Check out http://RealEstateBusinessPlanningGuide.com or http://www.SmallBusinessPlanningGuide.com/ contact us today at http://www.CheriAlguire.com

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Budget: A Necessary Part of a Good Business Plan


By Cheri Alguire

With the constant bad news about the economy, everyone is talking budget these days as if it were a new and exciting phenomenon—just discovered!

  • How to save a buck
  • How to budget for a successful future
  • How to make your dollar stretch the farthest

The truth is that there is nothing new, trendy, or sexy about budgeting. A well-planned budget is simply the most practical aspect of your business plan—and one of the most important. It’s also not that much fun. But if you think about it, if you have completed the other parts of your business planning guide, you’ve done the hard part already. You’ve already analyzed where you spent your money last year and how well it returned your investment. You’ve articulated the vision for your business in the next year, five years, and ten. You’ve written down the action steps to achieve that goal. Now it’s just a matter of the numbers.

The easiest way to tackle this job is with a good software program like QuickBooks, but you can also manage the old-fashioned way, by hand on a chart, if that’s what it takes to get you started. The budget records your total income, gross and net. It includes the numbers for your current expenses, plus those you anticipate adding under your new vision. It breaks down the expenses and itemizes them so that nothing is overlooked, creating a potential drain on your cash flow down the line. And remember: cash flow is the goal.

When the numbers are complete, if you don’t like the result, you need to remember to reevaluate the plan. If your marketing exceeds your income, for example, then you must make a decision: slash the marketing budget or make more money. Either way, your budget needs to “show you the money.”

Approach #1: Gary Keller reminds us to “lead with revenue” when budgeting. He cautions only to spend the money that the business has generated and avoid the “Field of Dreams” mentality of expecting business to materialize if you spend enough money on marketing, desk staff, quality equipment, etc.

Approach #2: Write down the number of marketing dollars you will need for the next year to reach your goal then do the math. How many lists will you need to carry in order to create that cash flow? How many will you need to sell? How many buy sides? Those are your numbers to live by.

Truth be told, a combination of these approaches is probably the wisest course, but regardless, the budget is the budget and you stick to it. (That’s the unsexy part.) But don’t worry about that because this axiom can serve you well when some annoying vendor tries to convince you that you really must buy his refrigerator magnets by the gross with your logo embossed on them in order to be a success at the next home show. You now have your ready-made excuse: “oh, we set our marketing budget last October.”

The budget might not seem to be your best friend at times, but it should be your wisest adviser—the one you trust with your most important decisions. Accordingly, spend enough time with it to do it, and yourself, justice. Your business, and your profit/loss statement, will thank you.

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Coach Cheri Alguire has helped hundreds of Super Small Business Owners, Realtors, Managers and Coaches create Business and Life Plans. Check out http://RealEstateBusinessPlanningGuide.com or http://www.SmallBusinessPlanningGuide.com/ contact us today at http://www.CheriAlguire.com

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Why a Development Plan is Critical to Your Business Plan for Next Year


By Cheri Alguire

It is almost time to begin creating your Business Plan for next year. One important part that is often overlooked is what I call the Development Plan. A Development Plan helps you to look at your overall business in different specific areas.

A great story is told by Jeffrey J. Fox in HOW TO BECOME A MARKETING SUPERSTAR. It is the story of Pablo Picasso, dining at an elite New York City restaurant and being approached by a socialite who presumes to ask him for a drawing.

Fox relates, “Picasso grabbed some paper, and with pen and pencil, promptly sketched the waiters passing parfaits. As the woman reached for the sketch, Pablo Picasso said, ‘Madame. That will be $10,000.’ Shocked, she replied, ‘But that only took you five minutes.’ ‘No, Madame,’ replied Senor Picasso, ‘it took me fifty years.’”

Fox tells the story as a parable for understanding—and charging--your worth. (And come to think of it, that part of the lesson applies here, too: a solid development plan will help you avoid the folly of cutting your commission fees.) But we recognize Picasso’s remark about the fifty years as a clear symbol of the value of a development plan. It takes time to plan, but the plan should have long-lasting consequences that shape the course of your business down the road and, ultimately, your desired profit. A development plan, in effect, defines your practice.

A development plan can be as simple as a list. But it is an essential list. On this list you need to itemize the changes needed in the next year to improve your business. On it you should include:

  • Marketing and Lead Systems
  • What kind do you need to bring in the number of leads?
  • Sales and Servicing Systems
  • Technology
  • What about Facebook?
  • What about Twitter?
  • What about Texting?
  • People and Staffing
  • Do you need an office manager?
  • Support Systems
  • Training
  • Policies
  • What are they? And are they written down?
  • Procedures
  • Ditto
  • Team Development
  • Retreats
  • Celebrations
  • Training
  • New Ideas
  • What is next?
This is the place where you name your dreaming: what is it that you want to create? To revise and perfect? To research? To implement? What kinds of systems and practices do you want to employ? What people and roles?

At the development stage, you may be looking at assistants, additional agents, coaches, mentors, equipment, programs, and education. (Budget concerns are for another day.) In development, we identify what it will take to produce your desired outcomes. Put them in place, and the path toward your business future is paved.

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Coach Cheri Alguire has helped hundreds of Super Small Business Owners, Realtors, Managers and Coaches create Business and Life Plans. Check out http://RealEstateBusinessPlanningGuide.com or contact us today at http://www.CheriAlguire.com

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Business and Life Planning



By Cheri Alguire

Happy Fall! Autumn officially begins on September 22, but having the kids back in school is almost a better marker for the beginning of fall for me. It is like the TV commercial with the mom singing it is the Hap-Happiest Time of the Year!

I spent 10 days in August celebrating my birthday and doing some hiking in Park City, Utah. What a beautiful area.

For me, hiking is not only a way to get exercise and see some incredible sites (yet we did experience both of these,) it is also a time for me to plan and dream and set goals for myself.

Each year on my birthday, I set goals for the next year in both my personal life and in my business. I have been doing this for many, many years. It is amazing what can be accomplished with a little thought and dedication to it on a monthly, weekly and daily basis.

I am not sure if it was because my birthday ended in a zero this year, or it is just where I am in my life right now, but I had the most amazing time creating my life plan for the next few years. I am really excited about where I am going and the things that have already begun to fall into place since working on my life plan in August.

Now that I have finished my Business and Life Planning, I am going to begin getting my coaching clients started on this process. Ask about it during your next session or check out the eCoaching program if you would like to work the guide on your own.

Also, if you have been thinking about hiring a coach to help you with your 2010 Business and Life Plan, maybe it is time to look into business coaching. We have some great coaches at www.ProRealEstateCoach.com or www.CoachCheri.com

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