Can you describe what makes successful mortgage and real estate professionals successful? Can you explain your professional success? If you are unable to explain what made your business successful, it reduces the likelihood that your success will continue or certainly that it will increase in the future. Many professionals are successful despite understanding why, but the most successful, in any industry track their business, track their success, track their failures, track everything. Tracking leads to forecasting, and forecasting leads to a realistic assessment of your business as well as the opportunity to create measurable, attainable, motivational goals. Let’s walk through some quick steps you can start today to start tracking and forecasting in your business to be more successful moving forward.
Tracking should not be a cumbersome exercise that requires hours of additional responsibility added to your work week. Instead, it is worth taking a bit of time at the outset to develop a tracking system that will be easy to follow and realistic to maintain.
Considerations when deciding what and how to track must take into account the purpose of your business, the structure of your business and the goals of your business. If you are a Mortgage Broker with an administrative assistant that works out of an office Monday to Friday, and you want to increase your repeat and referral business, your tracking system must reflect this. If you are increasing your repeat and referral business as a priority, tracking cold call success will not help you reach your goal. Furthermore, if your goal is to build your business through online promotion, tracking your total transactions month over month will not be an indicator to you as to whether your online promotion is driving your success or failure.
Big picture calculations such as your number of transactions each month, the average amount per transaction, where your clients are coming from, the types of transactions that you do each month, who on your team completed each transaction, your monthly expenses each month, and so on, all help with your big picture. Everyone should be tracking all of these. The simplest way to do this is to build a spread sheet for this information so it is all in one place that you can add to in 20 minutes each month.
Tracking the details comes from looking back to see where your business has been coming from, considering your skill sets and where you are most likely to grow your business. Setting goals accordingly for your business will help you. If you take the earlier example of wanting to increase your repeat and referral business; tracking the initiatives your business takes to stay in touch with your database would be valuable, as would paying attention to the types of contact you make with your database that generate additional business. This will help you understand where your skills lie, and perhaps more importantly, alert you to the areas where you could use additional training or support.
Forecasting is about anticipating future opportunities and threats to the business, understanding your business’ strengths and weaknesses, and making an educated guess about how your skill sets and opportunities will impact the success of your goals within a set period of time. Forecasting is in essence projecting how your success will look tangibly. We want to forecast revenue, expenses, size of team, types of products that gain in popularity, time investments and anything else we can anticipate and measure.
In order to forecast effectively we need to track and review our data collected. The forecast should take into account the results of what you have tracked, the improvements you intend to make to the business to improve future results, and the market conditions speculated to be influencers during that time period.
When forecasting, make sure all your forecasted numbers or objectives can work together. For instance, if you are earning revenue of $100,000 a year currently and forecast earning $500,000 next year, make sure you can justify through your tracking, strategy and measurable tactics the changes you will be aggressively implementing in your business to successfully meet your forecasted goals. A forecast should not be a dream, it should be an ambitious, achievable opportunity when optimizing your business strengths and compensating for your business weaknesses.
By taking the time to forecast, you can tweak your tracking variables to become more meaningful, and you will be better able to determine the level of success your business is having on a daily/weekly/monthly basis so you are not surprised at the end of the year. Furthermore, you must take the time to create a plan in order to forecast effectively, so forecasting means becoming a strategic business professional. Finally, in order to continue to meet forecasted objectives, setting specific and measurable tactics or steps you will incorporate to meet these will make the day-to-day operation of your business far more intentional.
If you have not tracked before, start today. If you have tracked before, or are doing it now, then start forecasting tomorrow. You will be better equipped to serve your clients and build your business by tracking and forecasting your business.