Hope is not a strategy. This important phrase is one that was explored by Jackie Leavenworth in the webinar, “Plan for 2014: Hope is NOT a Strategy,” which shared numerous ideas about building a real estate business that will support your life in 2014, instead of the other way around. It also provided strategies and systems to create an organized plan to track your success in 2014.
Leavenworth, a 25-year vet of the real estate game, serves as an international speaker and coach for real estate professionals who don’t have a structured business plan. Each year, she meets with thousands of agents across the country and teaches them her 5-step business plan that will help them create an intentional future and run a profitable business.
From the outset of the webinar, Leavenworth conceded that most brokers help their agents, but it’s how they help them plan that makes the difference in success or failure. When she was first starting out in 1984, she believes she was trained “backwards” being told mostly how to market herself.
“It’s a reverse business plan. We market ourselves and hope that marketing (a picture on a shopping cart, back of sports jerseys) attracts buyers and sellers we can work with and then turn into sales and get paid enough to pay our bills and run our business and have money left over to see the profitability in our life,” she says. “Marketing should be the last thing we do, not the first thing we do. I would like for everyone to be very intentional about their life and business, which leads to marketability. It’s going to be easy, just backwards from what we’re used to.”
The 5 Steps to Success
Leavenworth developed a five-step plan that she feels will lead any real estate agent to get to a place that will make them happy and successful.
Step 1: “Plan Your Life” It’s hard as adults to dream. We spend more time planning our vacations than we do our life,” she says. “Planning your life takes dreaming and thinking ahead. Real estate is a business that should support our life and not the other way around.”
Step 2: “Determine Cost of L&B.” Examine the cost of life and the cost of business. It’s important not to let one outweigh the other.
Step 3: “Number of Units.” Here, Leavenworth dissects the importance of the number of units that an agent needs to sell each year to make the money that they want.
Step 4: “Identify Sources.” This is the most important step, as this is where an agent can grow their business.
“We throw our money at the wall in marketing hoping that people come to us. What we don’t necessarily intentionally target is where we’d like our business to come from,” she says. “It’s important to figure out where you want your money and business to come from and act on those.”
Step 5: “Market to Sources.” Leavenworth recommends disbanding the shotgun approach to marketing, where you are just throwing money to get your face out there and attracting anyone who will come, and instead knowing where your business will come from, which saves money, energy and is much less confusing in the scheme of things.
Reflecting on a favorite quote to sum up her steps, “Choice, not chance, determines our destiny,” Leavenworth says this is where one should take business to heart.