Want to create a real estate investing business plan?
Well, you could just launch your business.
You could go door-knocking for the next week, maybe even find a property to buy, buy it, and then try to flip it or rent it out. Then you could do that over and over again.
Heck — maybe you’d even build a healthy business out of it.
Buuuuut, maybe not.
If you’re anything like me, then you favor planning over mindless execution (sorry Gary Vee). You don’t want to just launch a business that may or may not succeed, you want a real estate investing business plan. You want to give your business the best possible chance of success.
For that, you need to spend a little time thinking about the details of how your business will function.
Let me prove it to you…
Why do you need a real estate investing business plan?
I could talk your ear off about why people who make a plan for their real estate investing business will succeed. Or I could tell you about the people I’ve personally seen set out without a plan and fail. Or I could tell you a story about one person who had the best of intentions for his new real estate investing business, but lost money his first month because he didn’t have a clearly defined budget.
But I won’t…
I’ll show you.
Research from 2,877 business owners revealed that people with a plan are more likely to grow their business, secure investment capital, and/or secure a loan.
Here’s how the authors of the study put it:
“Except in a small number of cases, business planning appeared to be positively correlated with business success as measured by our variables. While our analysis cannot say that completing a business plan will lead to success, it does indicate that the type of entrepreneur who completes a business plan is also more likely to run a successful business.”
So whether you want to give your business a better chance at succeeding down the road, or simply become the kind of person who will likely grow a successful business, drafting a plan is in your best interest.
And it doesn’t have to be remarkably complicated.
12 Steps To Create Your Real Estate Investing Business Plan
Here are 12 steps to get you moving.
Step 1. Create your vision and mission
It might seem like a silly first step to creating your real estate investing business plan.
Because let’s be honest: you’re setting out to make money, achieve financial freedom, and live on your own terms. You’re not setting out to save the world from some big injustice (probably — props if you are) or change other people’s lives for the better.
You want to build a business that will benefit you.
Still, a mission and vision statement can help define how you’re going to build that business, why you’re building it, and who your business is going to serve. Because even though you’re building a business to benefit you in the end, the only way to build a successful business is by helping others.
As Bob Burg wrote, “Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.”
Here’s an example of a mission and vision statement.
Just like you personally have a “why?” to your existence, your business needs a “why?” to its existence. Your mission and vision statement will help you determine what that “why?” is and how your business is going to make you money by helping others.
Step 2. Determine your end goal
You also must connect your own personal goals to the goals of your business — you’re the one who’ll be building it, after all. Your business will live or die based on your own daily motivation, ambition, and energy levels.
For that reason, you should ask yourself this dead-simple question: “Why am I building this business? What is my end goal?”
Do you want to be a millionaire? Do you want to live on the beach in Tahiti and sip gin for the rest of your life while this business makes you money on autopilot? Do you want to be the CEO of a large corporation? Do you want to make $200k per year and work 10 hours per week?
What you want out of your business will determine the kind of business you build. And the more attractive your end goal is, the more determined you will be to keep going when things get tough. I love the way that Tim Ferriss puts it: “The question you should be asking yourself isn’t, ‘What do I want?’ or ‘What are my goals?’ but ‘What would excite me?'” Because the more excited you are, the more determined you’ll be.
Step 3. Do market research using a SWOT analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, and Threats.
And determining those four things for your own business before you launch is vital. Ask yourself…
- Strengths: What are competitors already doing well in my market that I likely won’t be able to compete with?
- Weaknesses: What are competitors in my market not doing well?
- Opportunity: What opportunity in my market are most competitors not leveraging and might I be able to exploit that?
- Threats: What will be the big threats to my business and how can I prepare for these?
Here’s a more thorough graphical breakdown of SWOT to help you perform your market analysis.
Step 4. Choose a real estate investing business model
After you’ve performed your SWOT analysis, you should be ready to determine the type of real estate investing that will be most lucrative for your market. Try not to let funding make the decision for you (i.e. I don’t have much capital, so I guess I’m going to wholesale), because the reality is that there’s always a way to get money to build your business — the important thing is that you’ve chosen a type of real estate investing which is likely to succeed given current market conditions.
Here are the most common real estate investing business models:
- Wholesaling — This is when you find good deals and flip those deals to cash buyers for an assignment fee. You can usually make $5,000 to $25,000 per deal and it doesn’t require any money down.
- Wholetailing — Wholetailing is similar to wholesaling except that you purchase a home for a good deal, do very little work to it, and then sell it on the MLS. This can be a very profitable business model, but it’ll require access to more funds than wholesaling.
- Flipping — House flipping is when you purchase a distressed home, fix it up, and sell for a profit on the MLS. This is a high-risk, high-return strategy.
- Buy-and-hold — Buy-and-hold investing is when you purchase properties and rent them out to create passive income. The goal is usually to do this with a lot of properties to increase net worth and build long-term wealth.
Step 5. Determine where funding will come from
If you’ve determined that the most profitable type of real estate investing for your market will take some serious capital, don’t worry: there are tons of different ways to find money for building your business. Lots of people with big money just want their money to work for them and provide a healthy ROI.
Ryan Dossey (my brother) has this great video about raising private money for your business and how he raised his first $100k.
Step 6. Choose your marketing strategies
In many ways, this is where the rubber hits the road for your business: how will you find deals in your market? How will you find motivated sellers? How will you convince those sellers to work with you? How will you find buyers to purchase those properties or tenants to live in them? How will you fix up properties if you’re planning to fix and flip?
These are all questions you need to answer on your real estate investing business plan.
And if you’re at a loss for answering them, sitting down with another real estate investor in your market and asking them questions can go a long way.
However you do it, write down your marketing plan of attack — how you plan to find and close deals — what you’ll need to make per deal to remain profitable, and how much you should expect each deal will cost you.
Here are a few common marketing strategies that you might consider.
- Direct mail (check out Ballpoint Marketing if you want to send hand-written mailers en masse).
- Bandit signs
- Door knocking
- Facebook ads
- Search engine optimization
- Cold calling
Here are some more specific suggestions to consider…
1. Send personalized mailers every single week
There is a rhythm to the flow of potential deals in any market.
A market might have a lot of deals during a particular season, and fewer deals just a couple of months down the road. These fluctuations are normal. And where there’s inconsistency in the market, the investor must remain steadfast.
This is as true in the stock market as it is in the real estate market.
Don’t gamble all of your marketing budgets on a single season. Instead, get in the habit of sending the same amount of mailers every single week — whatever is a reasonable number for your business. Send those mailers to different lists and recycle lists every few months or so.
To get the best performance possible, we recommend using mailers from our sister company, Ballpoint Marketing, where you can get hand-written letters at an affordable cost.
2. Run effective Facebook Ads & do some SEO
Facebook ads and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are two of the best ways to market your real estate investing business.
The first can provide you with leads quickly and the second can create longevity for your business.
To create effective Facebook ads, just go look at what your top competitors are doing. Go to their Facebook Page, click on “Page Transparency”, and you can see all of the ads that they’re running.
Examine a few of your competitor’s ads and take notes on what their sales copy and images are like. Then contemplate how you might try to do something similar.
Don’t copy them verbatim, of course, but why not try something similar to what they’re doing?
If it’s working for them, it’ll probably work for you as well!
As for SEO, get in the habit of publishing blog posts on your website that target specific keyword phrases. You can use Ubersuggest to find high-value keyword phrases. And here’s a helpful article that shows you how to optimize your pages to rank in Google.
3. Hire someone to answer the phone for you
If you follow our previous advice of sending personalized mailers every week, running effective Facebook ads, and spending a little time on SEO, the good news is that you’re going to start generating quite a few leads… predictably.
The bad news is that your phone is going to start ringing like crazy.
The more mailers you send and Facebook ads you run, the more the phone is going to ring.
And while all of those leads are exciting, they can quickly distract you from working on important business-growth tasks like polishing processes, creating systems, and hiring employees.
That’s why more than 100 U.S. investors use our expert-trained reps to answer the phone for them. We answer the phone when it rings, we know how to talk to motivated sellers, we’ll ask the right questions, and we’ll even schedule a follow-up appointment with you or your Acquisitions Manager.
Step 7. Create a plan for consistently networking with other professionals
When you’re just starting out, no business-building strategy is quite as effective as networking with other real estate professionals within your market. There’s something about those face-to-face connections which can benefit your business for a lifetime.
You might learn a thing or two from other friendly professionals in your market. Or maybe you’ll end up partnering up with them. Or maybe you’ll learn how better to compete with them.
Whatever the case, networking can help build your business. And you should map out a game plan for consistently networking with other professionals — even if it’s something as simple as going to a monthly meetup or working from different coffee shops every day.
Step 8. Create a plan for delegating down the road
You’re building a business, not a prison cell. This means that you’ll need to make a plan for delegating tasks to other people down the road.
In the beginning, you’ll likely be the horse, driver, and carriage — that is, you’ll be doing pretty much everything.
But don’t make that time-intensive phase of business last longer than it needs to. You’ll be surprised at how much faster your business will grow (with less work) when you hire A-players, treat them well, and trust them to do their job.
You won’t have to work as many hours, your business will grow more quickly, and you’ll make more money. So make a plan for which tasks you’d like to delegate when the time comes and which ones you’d like to keep (the ones that you enjoy the most, ideally).
And if you imagine that answering the phone every time it rings is a task you’ll want to delegate, Call Porter can help. We’ve built the only call center designed for real estate investors. Our reps are trained specifically to talk with motivated sellers, convert them, and then schedule a follow-up call with you or your acquisitions manager. You can try us out for yourself over here. 🙂
Here’s what one of our members has to say.
Step 9. Find your exit strategy
Every good real estate investing business plan includes a thorough plan of attack… and an exit strategy if things go terribly wrong.
Since you have a business plan, your chances of things going horribly wrong decrease quite significantly. Still, it’s good to have a plan B or a way out if things go sideways. Maybe wait to quit your day job, for instance, until your business starts providing for itself. Choose your investors and/or tenants carefully. And consider including a clause in your contracts that gives you a way out (at least in the beginning).
Step 10. Create your growth plan
Have you ever heard the 80/20 rule?
It’s my fav 🙂
Essentially, it states that 20% of the work produces 80% of the results (and vice versa).
While it’s easy to feel that you must do everything right as an entrepreneur in order to succeed… that’s simply not true. You only have to do some key things right.
In terms of real estate investing, you have to acquire properties, you have to make profitable decisions with those properties, and you have to do that consistently.
That’s it — that’s the formula.
In terms of actual to-dos, here are three things that — if you do them consistently — will virtually guarantee that your business keeps growing.
1. Send mail & run paid ads
To generate leads and close deals, you have to market your business.
That means sending mail and running paid ads every single month.
Keep in mind: all marketing strategies (especially direct mail) experience a sort of lag-time. You might send 500 mailers this month and not get very many phone calls, assuming that your mailers were ineffective.
Then you stop and try something else.
Suddenly, you start getting phone calls because of those mailers that you sent a month ago.
This lag-time isn’t bad… but you need to expect it and prepare for it… which basically means marketing your business consistently, even when your efforts seem to be less effective than usual.
Pro-Tip: Want to stand out with your direct mailers? Check out our sister company, Ballpoint Marketing, which produces hand-written mailers (with real ink) that add a personal touch your competitors won’t be able to match!
2. Answer the phone & follow-up
Yes, Call Porter is an answering service built specifically for real estate investors.
Yes, there’s going to be a pitch at the end of this section.
And yet, it’s still difficult to overstate the importance of answering the phone when it rings.
Research shows that your chance of having a meaningful conversation with a prospect decreases with every passing moment after a phone call goes unanswered.
Problem is, if your business is thriving and you do manage to answer the phone every time it rings… then you’re probably limiting your business’ full potential (because you’re not spending that time on mission-critical, “quadrant 2” activities).
You want the phone to ring off the hook… but you don’t want to be the one responsible for answering it.
At Call Porter, we’ve trained all of our U.S.-based reps to speak with motivated sellers. They know what questions to ask, how to stay level-headed, and they’ll schedule a follow-up call with you or your acquisitions manager.
Check out the call below to see for yourself (this lead resulted in a $36,000 profit for the investor!).
The phone needs to get answered… but certainly not by the founder of your business (YOU) 😉
Oh — and don’t forget to follow up! 90% of deals happen during a rigorous follow-up regimen, not during the initial call.
(We recommend following up at least 15 times).
3. Build processes & reinvest into your business
If you do the first two things, you’re going to generate leads and get the phone ringing like crazy.
You’re also going to start closing quite a few deals.
But there’s still one problem left to solve: you will quickly become a bottleneck.
Having Call Porter answer the phone is certainly a step in the right direction… but the more you want to grow, the more you’ll have to delegate and automate the daily operations of your business.
This means hiring someone to answer emails, create marketing campaigns, speak with sellers, collect buyer information, and even acquire profitable properties.
Step 11. Create a memorable brand
Good business is built on trust.
Without the trust of your prospects and your clients, positive word-of-mouth won’t spread and people will hesitate to work with you.
But in the same way that that hesitation creates an obstacle for your business, building knee-jerk trust in your market creates a doorway.
The question is… how do you build a memorable reputation in your market so that past clients know you’re the real deal, prospects trust you to treat them right, and people who’ve never worked with you respect your business?
Well, the primary answer is consistency — day-in and day-out, treating your customers right, sharing case studies, engaging in charity, and whatever else will enhance your brand image.
In fact, here are three things to consider doing more consistently in order to build memorable trust in your market.
1. Choose a charity
Donating to charity doesn’t just help you forge a more meaningful mission for your business, it can also help you market your business.
For example, you can celebrate your donations publicly and host events to raise money for local charities. These efforts build brand awareness and trust at the same time.
There’s just something about a highly philanthropic business that feels trustworthy.
(That’s probably why customers are 85% more likely to buy products from a company that is associate with a charity).
Choose a charity that’s in line with your business’s mission, and then get in the habit of donating. Over time, you’ll build trust with people in your market and prove that you care about more than just making money.
2. Care about your clients
This might seem like an obvious piece of advice, but I know how hard it can be to authentically care for your clients when you’re doing the same thing every day.
It’s easy to become callused.
Still, showing your prospects (even the tire-kickers) and your clients (even the ones who don’t accept your offer) that you genuinely care about them is one of the best ways to increase how many referrals you get and how much word-of-mouth you generate.
This is a simple trick, but perhaps the most difficult.
Be kind to everyone. Care about the people you work with. And be generous in how you serve others.
Do that for long enough and people won’t be able to ignore your business’ impact on the community.
Just think of the businesses that you most admire… how do they treat people? What are their values? And how can your business emulate their attitude toward leads, prospects, and clients?
3. Collect case studies
People might love you and respect you, but how do they know that your business works? That is, how do they know it can actually benefit them?
To some degree, trusting you is different than believing in the helpfulness or effectiveness of your service.
The best way to prove to your community that your business is the “real deal” — that what you’re doing can actually help people who are trying to sell their home — is by sharing testimonials and case studies from past clients.
This includes publishing case study content on your website, sharing reviews on your social media profiles, and telling stories of people who you’ve helped in the past.
Don’t undervalue the impact of telling stories to build your business’ reputation.
It’s extremely powerful.
Step 12. Build your timeline
The final step is to determine when you want everything to happen. When do you want/expect to hit your real estate goals? When do you expect to start hiring people? When do you expect your business will be able to fully support you and your family?
These timelines need not be written in stone, though — no one can accurately predict how long it’ll take you to build a successful business (the most important thing is consistent progress). But having a timeline that you can reference and which keeps you heading in the right direction is wildly valuable, especially if you post it on your wall, where you can see it every day.
So you know you need a real estate investing business plan. You know that having a plan will give your business a better chance of success and turn you into the kind of forward-thinking entrepreneur that succeeds.
But you don’t only know that you need it, you also now know how to create it.
With the above 12 steps, you can draft a real estate investing business plan which increases your statistical chance of success.
And while you could just launch your business without a plan, why would you? It’s a far better idea to spend some time thinking about the details of how your business will succeed in order to succeed than it is to launch quickly and fail quicker.
So get to it — and don’t press the big red button until you’ve drafted a business plan which you’re confident will succeed.