Our Complete Annual Planning Process Broken Down Step-by-step blogpost for estate agents by Sam Ashdown

It’s that time of year again, when many of us keep our head down, just trying to make it to Christmas eve with as few fall-throughs and as many completions as possible.

I get it, all important stuff.

But it’s also the best possible time to PLAN for a successful year, ie 2024. If you don’t plan for success now, you risk missing a crucial undertaking that could change the fortunes of you and your agency – forever.

Maybe you had already decided you needed to plan, you just didn’t have the time or the know-how. If that’s the case, grab your phone and allocate yourself at least half a day of planning time, right now.

The know-how you need is in this article, so let’s dive in!



To prepare yourself for a successful 2024, you need to lay the groundwork: a roadmap of how you’ll reach your goals by the end of the year. Growth needs planning for, and if you’re someone (like me) who is only ever excited by hockey-stick-shaped growth, then you need to be laser-focused on creating a growth strategy. If you’re strategic about your business and the milestones you need to hit, you’re so much more likely to hit them.

Phil and I have been working with independent estate agents for a really long time. I started in 2004, and in our combined 24 years of coaching and training, we’ve seen those agents who are serious about their growth strategy become so much more successful than those who haven’t. Those who weren’t dedicated to success planning are pretty much all gone, and most sadly are forgotten.

Before you implement our strategic planning in your agency, make sure you’re crystal clear about your vision for your business and exactly what you need to do next.

What follows is a seven-step framework for getting your annual planning on track, so you get into a routine and a rhythm that will help make sure it happens, every time.

Each step of our annual planning process can take at least half a day and often a whole day



Step One: Feedback

Our Strategic Thinking Questions are distributed to the team. They’re given a few days to complete them and give them to us.

Step Two: Assimilation

Phil and I meet to read through the Strategic Thinking Questions and look for themes in the answers, and changes we need to incorporate into our plan.

Step Three: Non-negotiables

We decide on our non-negotiables for the following year. These could be projects, fundamental business changes or creative innovations. Then we answer the Strategic Plan questions below.

Step Four: Whole team discussion

Whole team meeting to discuss the main points from the Strategic Thinking Question feedback and our thoughts and ideas for the coming year.

Step Five: Priorities and project ownerships

The leadership team meets to discuss priorities and ownership of projects

Step Six: Finalise

Phil and I finalise the plan

Step Seven: Deliver

Phil and deliver plan to team with slides

This whole process takes around two weeks, and is a mixture of off-site planning meetings with just me and Phil, and time with various members of the team to get their input and decide on the best way to progress the plan.

Annual Planning event with our AJ Masterminders in Windermere

A photo from our recent Annual Planning event with our AJ Masterminders in Windermere

Here are the 3 elements you need to make your annual planning a success:

        1. Strategic Thinking Questions
        2. Your Strategic Plan
        3. Your Annual Plan

   1. Strategic Thinking Questions

These are six questions we ask ourselves, and also our team members, before we sit down to plan.

        1. What were our biggest successes this quarter?
        2. What were our biggest lessons this quarter?
        3. What are our greatest strengths to leverage during the next quarter? (internal)
        4. What are our biggest weaknesses to improve on? (internal)
        5. What opportunities are available to us? (external)
        6. What threats do we face? (external)

Phil lending a hand to help answer those tricky planning questions on our recent Annual Planning event with our AJ Masterminders in Windermere

Phil lending a hand to help answer those tricky planning questions

   2. Your Strategic Plan

These are 3 important questions to ask yourself, along with any key stakeholder, so you know you’re on the same page as you plan for business growth:

What’s your 10-year target? (Be bold and aim high)

Describe your three-year picture

What does your business look like? What are you doing day-to-day? What’s the biggest difference between today and the same day in three years’ time?

Your one-year plan

What’s your big goal for the following year?

Annual Planning event with our AJ Masterminders in Windermere

Annual Planning is hard work but the results are worth it!

   3. Your Annual Plan

What are your top 3 annual priorities? (Think of these as your main areas of focus, not projects.)

What are the measurements of success of each of these priorities? How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?

What projects do you need to create to reach your annual priorities and measurements of success? Eg if one of your priorities is ‘Brand positioning’, then a project could be ‘Improve our website’.

For each project, assign an owner (who will be responsible for delivering on it?) and divide into manageable milestones with dates.

We also write a list of our ‘strongest reasons’ for selecting a particular project to achieve each priority, to sense-check the justification for embarking upon it.

Although I’ve detailed our annual planning process as one event, we actually do this four times per year, one for each quarter. In this way, we have our over-arching annual priorities, each supported and facilitated by our quarterly priorities and projects. If you’re doing this for the first time, start by planning for the year before you break it down into quarterly priorities and projects so you get a clearer picture of your plan.

So you’re not a planner… don’t worry!

Planning can be a scary proposition for a non-planner, as most estate agents are! All you want is a diary full of valuations on the best homes in your area, right? Planning is the bridge between where you are now and where you want to be.

That’s why we’ve built a group of the best agents in the country, who are always sharing and supporting agents like you to create the agency of your dreams.

We’d like to help you to do exactly that, by showing you a sneak peek of what we do at AshdownJones, how we’ve built the agency of our dreams, and how we’re planning for world domination (well, strategic and stratospheric growth) across the north of England.

So come along and see Behind the Scenes at AshdownJones!!

A jam-packed day of the best information, a detailed look at our systems and processes, and live Q&As with all of our amazing team. PLUS you even get a delicious lunch!

Olivia's quote from Behind The Scenes at AshdownJones

Just CLICK HERE and book on straight away – we don’t allow any competing agents in the room so get first dibs on your seat at the next Behind the Scenes at AshdownJones’ event, right now!!

And best of all… it’s FREE!!

Behind The Scenes testimonials

Click here >> https://www.ajmastermind.co.uk/btsday

Sam and Phil

Sam and Phil Carden Park Nov22

PS prefer to chat to a friendly human? Give us a call on 015394 40892 or drop me an email at sam@fire-wave.co.uk

Here are some pics from our last Behind the Scenes at AshdownJones’ day to inspire you 🙂

Behind The Scenes at AshdownJones mixed images

0 282