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How to Create an Inspired Business Plan

by Carla Cross

Carla CrossHave you dreaded creating a business plan for 2013? Or, maybe you just don't make plans. Yet, you're in business for yourself. So, doesn't it make sense to

finally make that plan this year? Here are some basic tips to ensure your 2013 business plan motivates you all year long.

The Missing Component in Most Business Plans

Is your business plan missing the inspiration? If so, you need to put in the vision component of your plan. According to Jerry Porras and Jim Collins, authors of Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, "vision provides guidance about what core to preserve and what future to progress toward."

In other words, you must first know your ideology and core values before you can create the rest of your direction in your business plan. The lack of vision in a plan leads to a de-motivating and certainly uninspiring plan. As you can imagine, numbers don't, in themselves, inspire. They only inform.

For managers, helping your agents create an inspiring and motivating plan will remove their reticence at the process of creating the plan.

Shared Vision in a Company Also Leads to Profitability

Collins and Porras studied very successful companies to find out the differences between the "stunning" (high profits and highly regarded) and other like companies who were not quite as successful. They published the results in Built to Last.

What did they discover was the common difference between the highly profitable and merely successful? A common vision and values shared by every person in the company.

Porras and Collins' conclusion was that the desire for profits isn't the main driver for profits. The focused and tenacious vision, shared by all in the company, was the determining factor.

REALTORS®, what does that mean to you and your business? As a real estate professional, you must have your values in line with your actions. Otherwise, you won't be perceived as trustworthy.

For owners and managers, you must hire people consistent with your vision and values. Otherwise, your company won't be as profitable as it could be.

Components of Vision

Your vision is made up of your core ideology and your envisioned future.

As you can see from this chart below, your core ideology is made up of your core values and core purpose. If you look at your life, you'll see that the things that inspire and motivate you are the things that adhere to your belief system. That's what this part of the vision statement says about you.

Logic data1

Your envisioned future is made from a vivid description of this future, and "BHAGs" (big, hairy, audacious goals). Those are goals set five years out, which you really don't think you can attain.

The Power of BHAGs

Surprisingly, as Porras and Collins found, when companies stated these goals, they actually attained them in only three years. Inspirational goals that are congruent with your core values and core ideology are powerful motivators.

What Vision Does for Companies

Here's an example of a vision of one of the book's stand-out companies: "Our basic principles have endured intact since our founders conceived them. We distinguish between core values and practices; the core values don't change, but the practices might. We've also remained clear that profit – as important as
it is – is not why the Hewlett-Packard Company exists; it exists for more fundamental reasons."
-John Young, former CEO, Hewlett-Packard

Check out my online business planning program for examples of agents and managers' vision and mission statements.

How to Construct your Vision

How do you want to see yourself in this business? How do you want people to talk about you and your business after you retire? What values are most important to you? What ideology do you follow in your business?

Managers' Exercise

To figure out what your core values are, imagine that you are opening an office on Mars. You can only take three agents with you on your spaceship. Name those three agents. What are the core values of these agents? Who in your office doesn't exhibit those values? Why is he/she still with you?

Everybody's Exercise

Imagine you are at your own memorial service, watching from above. What are others saying about you? What's most memorable about you?

Voicing those BHAGs

What is a great goal you would love to accomplish in your business, but really don't feel it's possible for you within five years? Write it down right now.

Why We Don't Reach Those Lofty Goals

Is that goal that's been eluding you congruent with your core values? What I mean by that is, does that goal feel comfortable to you? For instance, if that goal is that you'll make two million dollars, and you don't like the feeling of that much money because your values are aligned differently, you just aren't going to reach that goal. That, I believe is the reason many of us don't reach some of our goals. Those goals aren't in alignment with our core values. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said of goal-value alignment, "you can't consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.

Creating your Vision

Click here to get my worksheet to create your vision. I'm convinced that we reach or don't reach our goals based on the intensity of our desire, driven not by cold numbers, but by the warm emotion of aligned values and inspiring goals. Yogi Berra said it well: "Life is like baseball; it's 95 percent mental and the other half is physical."

Include the 'Drive' and Drive Your Business Next Yearv

When we know the "why" of what we're doing, we're driven by our own motivations. Put the vision into your business plan and see your motivation soar and your goals met next year.

Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is an international speaker, writer, and coach, specializing in real estate management. Carla has created a series featuring one new leadership strategy each month, "365 Leadership." Her online program, "Beyond the Basics of Business Planning," includes planning tools and videos to laser-focus your business plan. Contact Carla at 425-392-6914 or www.carlacross.com

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