10 great tips to write your business plan
What would you like to achieve in your business next year? What would you like your business to look like in five years’ time? A business plan allows you to set strategic goals and make effective plans to achieve them. As a mortgage broker, having this type of plan in place will go a long way to helping you grow your business, remain competitive and be successful. Here are our 10 top tips for writing an effective business plan.
1) Set aside time to write the plan
When you’re busy running a mortgage broking business, it can be difficult to find the time to write a business plan. However, the effort will pay dividends in the long-run. Your business plan will provide direction for the brokerage, allow you to map out strategies to reach your goals, and force you to prepare for possible road blocks along the way. Think of it as an opportunity, not a chore!
2) Seek input from others
Before writing your business plan, it’s a good idea to gain some perspective from outside parties. If you’re an established mortgage broker with employees, you could hold a brainstorming session and ask staff for ideas and potential improvements. Another option is to do a customer survey and use the feedback when crafting your business plan. You’ll also find your Connective Broker Support Manager is an invaluable resource (see #10).
At our 2017 Connective Conference, you’ll also get the opportunity to meet your local Connective Champion, (chosen from amongst our most successful brokers nationwide) and talk to them face-to-face about their business planning techniques, structure and personal secrets to success. If you haven’t registered yet, Register now!
3) Include both short and long-term goals
The starting point for writing a business plan is setting your goals. Your business plan should include both short and long-term goals. Start with the wider view in the form of a five year goal. Then figure out what steps you need to take to reach it. Incorporate those steps into your short-term plan and you’ll be on your way.
4) Be specific
It’s important to be specific, particularly about your short-term goals. Which are you more likely to act on: the goal of ‘growing your brokerage’, or the goal to ‘obtain 100 new leads next quarter by attending three community events’? Having specific goals with timeframes for achieving them will help you focus and get results.
5) Anticipate hurdles
As part of the business plan, you should identify current challenges, identify challenges you may yet encounter and brainstorm solutions to overcome these kinds of hurdles. Preparing for curveballs like interest rate hikes and regulatory changes is important for your success.
6) Do your research
Your business plan should include meticulous market research and analysis, so that you can identify your target audiences and position your business accordingly. It should also provide an overview of your key competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, and how your business can potentially gain a competitive advantage over them. Be prepared to set aside plenty of time for the research component of the business plan.
7) Get the structure right
The way you write your business plan will depend on your personal style. Some people like to use a whiteboard with post-it notes to work out their plan, others prefer to use a template or prepare a power point presentation. Some people prefer a simple one-page plan. Whichever method you use, you need to be sure you’re preparing a plan that you can refer back to regularly so you can stay on track to achieve your goals.
There are plenty of great templates online to help you structure a business plan that suits your management style. You may like to include these key areas in your business plan:
- Marketing strategies
- Competitive analysis
- Market/business challenges
- Development plan (Which would include your short and long term goals)
- Operations & Management plan
- Financial factors analysis.
8) Write with the reader in mind
When it comes to writing the business plan, it’s important to remember who the document is for. Is its primary purpose to help you reach your goals? If it’s an internal document, the focus may be different from that of a business plan that’s designed to attract outside investment or finance from a lender, for example.
An internal business plan will have business actions incorporated as short-term goals. These may be less important than say, an effective marketing strategy and budget projection, if you need your plan in order to apply for finance. One last thing on this point – if you’re presenting the plan to potential investors, be sure to proofread the document meticulously to ensure it’s free of errors.
9) Keep adapting
Once you’ve created a business plan, it’s important not to file it and forget about it. Your business plan should be a ‘living guide’ that evolves as your business changes. Be sure to review it regularly to track your development and assess what’s working and what’s not.
10) If in doubt, seek help
If you’re struggling to put together a business plan, your local Connective Broker Support Manager is always available to assist. They are highly experienced in business development and understand your mortgage broking business and its challenges like no one else.
BSMs are here to help you set business goals and work out a step-by-step pathway to reach them. For example, they can advise you on methods of creating additional income streams via diversification to help you reach your financial goals, then help you create and implement a plan to incorporate them smoothly into your business operations. They can help you to recruit staff, work out a marketing strategy to incorporate into your business plan, assess your competition, create a point of difference for your business and much, much more!
You could also ask your mentor, accountant or business advisor for advice. They will also be familiar with the kind of business you operate and be in a position to help you to set realistic goals for your business plan.
Creating a business plan is a solid investment for your future. A well-structured plan will help your brokerage to remain successful by creating goals and strategies to get results. If you require any advice or business support, please remember your Broker Support Manager is only too happy to help. Please get in touch today.