Business Management

No Time to Write a Real Estate Business Plan? Here’s Your 30-Minute Solution.

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We all know the benefits of having a business plan, right?

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Business plans keep you on the right track. They help you raise capital. They put you and your team on the same page. They give you a deeper understanding of your market. They establish benchmarks, and so on and so forth.

So why don’t you have one?

If television has taught me anything, it’s that there are only two ways that business plans are ever written depending on how large your organization is.

Big Business: Thirty-five lawyers, executives, and board members sitting around a giant mahogany table in a corner office, writing a 200-page business plan that no one will ever read.

Start-Up: Two young entrepreneurs sitting in a booth at a run-down diner in New Jersey, drinking a cup of coffee at 3 a.m. and scribbling out a business plan on the closest available napkin.

Well, folks… television lies.

You don’t have to spend months authoring it as if you’re developing a constitution, and it doesn’t need to be carelessly scratched onto a coffee-stained doily.

Related: Think Your Business Plan is Flawless? Don’t Forget This Key Element!

Below you’ll find an easy way to create a thorough, yet flexible, business plan in less time than the episode of “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish” that you just finished.

On a side note: Really, HGTV?!?! Vanilla Ice Goes Amish?!?! You’re better than that.

But I digress.

Enter the Business Model Canvas

This mechanism is called the “Business Model Canvas” and was initially proposed by Alexander Osterwalder based on his 2004 work named “Business Model Ontology.” His particular method has gained enormous traction over the last few years and is proudly used by Fortune 500 companies, lean business start-ups, and MBA programs everywhere.

For a quick and dirty overview, check out this awesome 2-minute YouTube video developed by the company Strategyzer.

Full BMC

The Business Model Canvas simplifies the business plan into nine essential components:

  1. Partners
  2. Activities
  3. Resources
  4. Value Propositions
  5. Customer Relationships
  6. Channels
  7. Customer Segments
  8. Cost Structure
  9. Revenue Streams

By filling out each of the above sections within the Business Model Canvas, it allows the author to easily see the big picture. Instead of becoming lost in the details of each individual function, one is able to see the full scope of their business with clarity.

Talk Real Estate to Me

If you read the book The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, you’re probably pretty familiar with the concept of “working ON your business, not IN your business.”

Real estate is no different. Especially if you ever want to achieve scalability and a hands-off organization.

Related: The Four Word Business Plan to Build Your Real Estate Empire.

Therefore, I’ve put together an “Example Buy & Hold Company” Business Model Canvas below. Feel free to use it as a guide when creating your own.

Example Buy & Hold Business Model Canvas

Red – Applies to “Future Home Buyer” customer segment

Blue – Applies to “Renter” customer segment

Green – Applies to both customer segments

1. Partners

Key Partners

2. Activities

Key Activities

3. Resources

Key Resources

4. Value Propositions

Value Propositions

5. Customer Relationships

Customer Relationships

6. Channels

Channels-1

7. Customer Segments

customer_segments

8. Cost Structure

Cost Structure-1

9. Revenue Streams

Revenue Streams

Conclusion

Do you think the idea of the Business Model Canvas is awesome and you’re about to start right now? That’s awesome.

Do you think it’s stupid and far too “start-up” for your business? That’s cool, too.

Regardless of whether or not you choose the BMC or even one of the Business Plans located in the BiggerPockets FilePlace, there is one thing that you’ll need to do.

Revisit it.

A Business plan, no matter which version you choose, does no good sitting in a drawer. Review it on a monthly, if not weekly, basis and change it as you see fit.

Best of luck and happy planning!

Investors: Do you have a business plan written out? What key elements did you include?

Don’t forget to leave your comments below.

Tyler is a pilot by day and aspiring entrepreneur by night. He started investing in April of 2014 and acquired three properties in the first 8 months. His goal is to become financially independent ...
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    Terrence Arth Investor from Scottsdale, Arizona
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Tyler, very nice! My first business plan was developed in the “dark times” (before the web) when you had to hit a library, meet a SCORE volunteer at the SBA or call everyone you knew and wheedle information out of them for free. To be honest, the process of developing the plan was HUGE! Ultimately I wrote it, rewrote and then reworked it a dozen times. When I was finally finished, I knew what I was going to do, when and how. That worked out pretty well for me because I had gone through the fundamentals enough times that I always seemed to know what came next. However, for my real estate investments I have this eenie, weenie little 3 line thing I wrote one day that I think it is actually in the bottom of the junk drawer someplace. Thanx for reminding me that I need to get that done ASAP! Oh and PS- I’m certified SEL and owned a “scare coupe” at one time.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Terrence, thanks for the comment! I’d never heard of SCORE before, but it sounds like an amazing resource. Retired Executives who give you business advice? Thats awesome…I’ll definitely be checking that out soon. Fly safe out there!
    Greg Gaskill Rental Property Investor from Sedro Woolley, WA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    yeah, SCORE rocks! I used their resources some years back in Portland, which included brand new computer workstations with full business plan software in which you could work, plus a sort of library of government statistical data you could draw from, plus industry specific binders which you could see the average business plan, salaries, balance sheets and income statements for various business types. On top of this, you could schedule time with volunteers in various areas of business management. One time I received some financial assistance from the previous CFO of Georgia Pacific! Assistance with an SBA loan? Yes, of course. I would bet that in bigger cities there might be statistics on REI as a business type, with all the above data filled in as a model to use.
    Kay Mahan
    Replied about 2 years ago
    I will be looking into this as well, thanks so much for sharing.
    Brandon Stevens Investor from Lexington, Kentucky
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great article Tyler, I am suprised and not suprised there are not more comments. With so many people “wanting to get into the game” the one page idea is a great reminder of what it really takes to do so and I would think could really help those people who are all over the place and getting no where…
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks Brandon. Hopefully this helped some folks out there.
    Jason Fraser from Salt Lake City, Utah
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great article. I used to Business Model Canvas to map out my business in the past. What’s great about the concept (highly recommend the book) is how it forces you to think about how each section works together. I’m going to review mine today and make a few adjustments based on your examples.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for the comment Jason. It’s great to know that other people have heard of the BMC too. Best of luck with your business!
    Account Closed Real Estate Investor from Cedar Park, Texas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Good article, thank you for the information, this is exactly what I was looking for. Helps cut through the confusion of creating a solid business plan. I’m going to use it to improve my current plan.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Glad I could help Andrew. Best of luck to you.
    David Pickard Rental Property Investor from Bloomfield, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for posting this. Another great and informative article by Tyler. You’re right, a business plan is very important and helps to keep things on track. Also along with that cup of coffee they were eating Taylor ham, egg and cheese’s right?
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Haha. Wouldn’t be a Jersey diner without it! I might live in the midwest now, but it’s hard to hide my true colors. Thanks for the comment David.
    Al Williamson Rental Property Investor from Sacramento, CA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Tyler, you broke it down to the ridiculous. I can run with this one. Thank you.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks Al, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
    Ramonita Place
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Excellent blog. Marvellous ideas here. You bring all the informative points here, which helps in a great manner. To start a solid business, your business maps helps a lot, so that will improve or also make better strong solid business. Thanks for sharing Top Tip!! Great job- bookmarked!!
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I appreciate the kind words Ramonita. Thanks for commenting.
    Brian White Investor from Argyle, Texas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great post. Love the way you made this so simple a kindergartner could do it. I’m a few properties in without a solid structure like this in place so I appreciate the nudge.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    You’re welcome Brian, I’m glad I could help. Keep up the good work!
    Daniel Ryu Investor from Irvine, CA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I don’t like lengthy business plans either, so I’m glad you posted about this method. Thanks!
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    You’re welcome Daniel. Thanks for posting!
    Aleksandar P. Investor from Chicago, Illinois
    Replied over 5 years ago
    This is a great way to simplify the whole enigma about Business plans. I am glad I found it since I am in the process of defining a solid business plan for myself. Thank you Tyler. Btw, I think it is necessary to add one more tab, maybe the most important, and that one is “Mission statement”. Why are you doing all of this? What is the ultimate goal(s)? Knowing answers on these questions is crucial to keep you from steering away from your goal and to lift you up in the moments when you get knocked down (and that will happen many times). Thanks again.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for the feedback Aleksandar. I definitely agree that the “why'” is absolutely crucial. Good luck with your business plan!
    Eric Couturier from Spotsylvania, Virginia
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Very good point! My mission statement is sitting to the right of the screen I’m looking at… hard to loose that document!
    Josh Buss Investor from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Replied over 5 years ago
    That’s good stuff Tyler, I’m a big fan of the Business Model Canvas. Have you seen the book Business Model You? Same concept but for a person rather than a business.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I haven’t heard of the book, but I just found it on Amazon. Looks awesome! Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll add it to my list.
    Ronald Doering Real Estate Investor from Plano, Texas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    This is great stuff. I initially got hold of a much larger, multi-page sample Bus Plan and stopped soon after I started (it was much more suited to having 25 lawyers write it than one start-up guy). Luckily my diligence for information didn’t stop and I’ve learned a ton of stuff about marketing etc. rather than simply jumping into the actual REI as you mentioned. I actually could end up using all of that new learning to make money helping a friend build an online Sales Funnel for their skin care MLM products before I make money on REI. My point, though, is that I would have had to change that giant Bus Plan at least 3 or 4 times already with what I’ve learned and no way would I have actually done that much work, even if I had completed the big thing the first time. I will have my Business Model Canvas done before the coming weekend is over and it will be posted on one of the leftover poster boards my kids have used over the years for school, AND now it’ll be easy to update and replace sections as I (and my business) grow.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for the post Ronald. Glad I could help in a small way. Best of luck and have fun doing your BMC this weekend!
    NormaJean Cupp from Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Replied about 5 years ago
    As a detail person, thank you for breaking them down and explaining how and why for each part. I can and will use this information to revamp the business plan we started. Thank you, Tyler!
    Lauren Woodley
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I really liked this insight about the business model canvas. It\’s important to keep this information completely organized and efficient, so putting in a template like this will help you to do just that and make sure that you\’re not forgetting to include anything. Plus, I\’m sure that outlining it like this will help you to be thorough and include information that may seem unimportant at first. It allows you to think outside the box and be all inclusive. Thanks for sharing!
    Cliff T. Realtor from Rock Hill, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I’m new to BP… Struggling to find this file! I went to the BP Fileplace. Searched for BMC and Canvas… No luck. What’s the best way to locate this particular file? Thanks and sorry for the tedious question…!
    Cliff T. Realtor from Rock Hill, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Nevermind!! I see that it’s not a file in the Fileplace. I was looking for something that was not there! Thanks 🙂