Planning Your Real Estate Investments

by : Craig Higdon

The holidays are rapidly approaching and I've managed to do most of my Christmas cards and gifts on time this year! I still have a few to go, but for me most of the pre-holiday madness is over. It is now time to focus on a strategic plan for next year and I'm actually going to take a day out of 'regular' work to get it done.

I'm going to go week by week, all 52 of them, for 2007. On the plan will be my goals for the Year, the Quarters, the Months, and the Weeks. I'm taking a top-down approach that will ultimately drive my daily activities. And I will include plenty of vacation time! As I contemplate this process, I can see that I'm going to have to get very good at several things:

1.Delegating - You have to 'let go' to grow.

2.Following Up - While you do have to let go, you don't 'assume' that what you give to others will be done the way you want it, when you want it. Accountability is a key to successful delegation.

3.Flexibility - No plan is perfect, nor does it survive the first play of the game (to mangle a football analogy). Plans need room to adjust to changing conditions, so setting aside 'update time' is critical to the process.

4.Measurement - As mentioned in #3, a plan is a living thing and needs to be reviewed constantly to see if you're on track to meet your goals. A plan without measurement is only a dream.

I've never done this before in this manner, so I'm planning on using some visual aids. One of them will be one of those desktop calendars ... actually a couple of them. I'm going to use one to do the initial planning, so I can scribble, scratch out, take notes, and make changes. I'll copy the final plan to the other one when I'm done marking up the first. I'm also going to use colored pens to clearly mark certain types of activities. When I'm done I'm going to post it on the wall, so everyone can see it. That way, we can literally be on the 'same' page. I think I'll also use some kind of thermometer-type graphics or a series of bar charts to visually express key elements of the plan and the progress we make.

What about you? What will you do, besides enjoy a really excellent vacation with your family in some great ski area or warm tropical setting, to further your goals during the holiday down-time? This might be a good time to approach your commercial real estate investment program in the same manner.

Ã?â‚??You can set up some categories of things to do, like 'Real Estate Education,' 'Property Analysis Tools,' 'Days Driving Neighborhoods,' 'Commercial Properties Owned,' 'Net Equity,' etc.

Ã?â‚??Write down where you want to be in each category at the end of 2007.

Ã?â‚??From there, break each category down by Quarter and work backwards to see where you'd have to be to reach that goal by Year's end.

Ã?â‚??Now do the same process by Month to see what you have to do to hit each Quarter's goal.

Ã?â‚??Break your Months into Weeks and repeat the process. I suggest setting aside time in your plan each month to review your progress and allow for adjustments in the plan.

Ã?â‚??Now take a single Week and write down what you have to do each Day to hit a Week's goal.

Ã?â‚??These become your 'Important-High Priority' activities ... not to be confused with the Urgent ones that you think you have to do ahead of everything else.

Ã?â‚??The Final Step is to set aside time during every day to spend time on these 'Important' activities. This is time when no one can find you, the cell phone goes off, the GPS is dropped in a drawer, and the Radar is silent. It doesn't have to be a long time ... as little as 15 minutes, really. And it has to be done consistently.

This process is called 'Chunking Down.' If you do this, and really, really focus on setting aside that special time for your 'Important-High Priority' activities every day (OK ... we'll allow you some flexibility!), you have to succeed.

It's a wonderfully simple process and if combined with easy to see visual references, it will catapult you to success in whatever you choose to accomplish. This applies to commercial real estate investing, as well as your personal life. Consistency and focus is an unbeatable combination. I'm looking forward to implementing this process in 2007 and I hope that you will, too!