“A good business plan will answer two questions,” Terrel said. “Where do you want to go? And how do you want to get there?”
Developing a plan need not be time-consuming or cumbersome. Even a
hand-written plan on a piece of legal paper will suffice, Terrel said.
“You just need something to hold you accountable,” he added.
Business plan: Creation process
To create the plan, business owners should develop a mission statement,
or a summary of the organization’s purpose, values, and goals. Ask
yourself: How would the world or my community differ if my company did
“Define your purpose and your vision. Be true to your guiding
principles,” Terrel said. “Look into your heart and think about why you
got into the auction business.”
Next, a vision statement should provide strategic direction and outline what you want to achieve in the next five years.
Remember to be flexible because change is inevitable. In the past 10
years, technology has changed. Client expectations have changed. The
real estate market has changed. To reach your goals, you might have to
“Your business cannot stay sedentary because clients are more demanding
than they ever have been,” Terrel said. “Change is difficult for a lot
of people. When you start to change or modify your business, it can make
people very uncomfortable.”
Changing tactics is relatively simple, according to Terrel. A change of
strategy, however, should be taken more seriously. A strategy involves
what products or services you offer, and what markets you offer those
products and services change.
“Every company has its own DNA. It is typically not a good idea to
follow others’ strategies just because something they are doing looks
To outline your goals, Terrel recommends using a two-by-two grid with
the personal and professional goals on one side, and financial and
non-financial goals on the other.
Examples of personal, non-financial goals are to spend more time with
family or become involved in a cause that is important to you. A
personal financial goal could be to get out of debt or purchase a home.
A professional, non-financial goal could be to build a proprietary
technology, transition the company to a paperless system or become known
as a subject matter expert. A professional financial goal could include
purchasing more franchises or owning rather than renting a storefront.
Once you have written goals, Terrel said, develop ways to measure them each year.
“Business planning starts with the endgame. Look down the road five years,” he said. “Then reel it back and look at each year.”
Next, create a priority grid with five business elements: marketing,
sales, operations, technology and training. Prioritizing strategic and
tactical initiatives will help you reach your goals.
When developing the plan, it is important to remember to be honest about where you are and where you want to be.
“A good business plan will draw emotions out of you. You are thinking
about what you have accomplished so far in life and what you want to do
with the balance of your life,” Terrel said. “I want to be here in five
years. This is how I am going to get here. Be very open and honest.”
This article was an excerpt from a presentation given at the 2017 NAA
International Auctioneers Conference and Show. Want even more tips
regarding this topic? NAA members can access the full audio of this
presentation and many others in the NAA Knowledge Center