Residential Magazine

Business Plans Allow Careers to Flourish

Mortgage professionals can struggle without a blueprint for success

By Cory Swain

It’s a scene that’s played out time and again: A mortgage originator gets excited about their career and invests innumerable hours into learning the industry only to have that gumption fizzle out after the first year. But what if they could help prevent this crash and burn by providing the blueprints for the necessary preparation work ahead of time?

While the vision and drive may be there, many new originators are missing a key ingredient that separates successful mortgage professionals who meet their goals from high-producing loan officers and brokers who regularly surpass them: a well-thought-out and researched business plan. This plan serves as a blueprint and living document for success in this industry. Without goals and daily directives for the year ahead, a mortgage originator can flounder, lacking the accountability and desire to finish at the top.
A business plan is truly the secret sauce for taking a mortgage career to the next level, and sustaining the growth and success that comes with it. To put it simply, originators who invest in laying the groundwork get ahead and stay ahead. A business plan puts ideas onto paper in a systematic and strategic manner, supplying the necessary oxygen that promotes business health and prosperity.
A business plan also reflects a person’s philosophy and values as a business professional and unique individual. After all, it’s the person with the plan who usually gets ahead.
Personal growth
Imagine running an important meeting without an agenda or ordering food at a restaurant without a menu. It just won’t work. Mortgage leaders also need a comprehensive guide for prosperity.
Put together correctly, a business plan is like a tour guide who slows things down to explain while also getting you to the destination. A business plan is a single document that is packed with business details, such as planning, strategies, structure and other guidance. A traditional plan requires a lot of time upfront given how meticulously detailed it will be. In the long run, it’ll be worth it, as a plan also can establish benchmarks that gauge performance over weeks, months, quarters or years.
Setting goals and being detail oriented also fuels personal growth and development. When you set expectations and evaluate them on a regular basis, there’s no reason to feel unfocused or unguided ever again. Constant planning and goal setting means you are using time and energy wisely. And as the habits of planning become ingrained into your DNA, you build greater capacity to create and carry out new goals in your professional and personal life.

Tracking goals reflects your desire to pursue excellence. Yes, the granularity of tracking can fog up your perspective as you focus on smaller tasks. … In reality, tracking is about the end goals.

Upward trajectory
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to business planning. Traditional and lean startup are the two primary types of business plans, but it’s up to you to choose the format. A traditional business plan includes an executive summary followed by several pages of summaries, including a market analysis. A lean startup plan, which will likely be much shorter, uses charts to describe your company’s value proposition, infrastructure, clients and finances.
Originators might favor a traditional setup because it caters to professionals who thrive on extra detail and structure in their planning. Challenging but not impossible, a strong plan also will chart the trajectory of your business for a period of time and outline how you will become profitable. As part of the bigger plan, it can include mini plans for marketing projects, loan education campaigns and other important business support.
Managing goals and remaining nimble lets you take on anything in the office or in life. It’s human nature to dream big. But it takes courage to not yield to intimidation or negative sentiment from others, or even your inner voice. When you begin to learn how to plan and break things down into manageable steps, suddenly nothing seems impossible.
Goal setting
A strong business plan is informative. You can turn to it the next time a big decision stares you in the face. While a business plan won’t have every answer, it should contain key elements and objective materials to guide decisionmaking at all levels, even when confronted by the most daunting dilemmas.
Let’s face it, even the best-prepared people will stumble. That’s just part of being human. Goal setting, however, can give you seemingly superhuman strength to anticipate the future and continually improve.
Jotting down plans and setting goals of all sizes cements life-changing habits. Ideal planners are people who separate the big picture from all of the intermediary steps. As you assess your progress and work on the next move, growth and success soon follow.
Remember that planning isn’t a magical formula. Instead, it’s a reflection of you in the past, present and future. With this type of perspective, you can have full control and continually reach your goals.
Consistent monitoring
With a keen skill for planning, you also can perform check-ins on yourself. Effective goal tracking provides a dashboard view of the big picture and all associated goals, big or small. Having a bird’s-eye view of your goals is empowering. Daily and weekly monitoring keep you on track and moving forward as efficiently as possible. But tracking is not just about making checklists.
Use tracking to better organize your schedule and budget time for other meaningful activities that can often spend too much time on the backburner. Who can’t allocate more time for social media or writing their next email blast?
Above all, tracking goals reflects your desire to pursue excellence. Yes, the granularity of tracking can fog up your perspective as you focus on smaller tasks. It’s natural to feel that way. In reality, tracking is about the end goals.
The success you create is made possible through an understanding that each process is valuable — otherwise it wouldn’t be part of your plan. But the goal, as a whole, is greater than the sum of single pieces and processes. Getting control of all pieces and processes in a systematic way through a business plan can elevate mortgage originators to new heights in both their professional and personal lives. ●


  • Cory Swain

    Cory Swain is a managing partner of Premier Mortgage Resources LLC, NMLS No. 1169. Swain has been in the mortgage industry for 36 years. He joined PMR in 2015. Since then, PMR has expanded into a large part of the western U.S. PMR now has 31 licensed locations west of the Mississippi River and is staffed by more than 120 loan officers. The company has branches across eight states (Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Minnesota, Hawaii and Missouri). Swain currently resides with his wife and children in their hometown of Boise, Idaho.

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