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Note Biz Planning for the New Year

In the Note Business you should not wait until the very end of the year to start planning for your next year. That means having a crystal-clear understanding of the successes and challenges of the last year, how that impacts your upcoming year, and developing a vision of what you want to accomplish, and how.

I believe you should always start working on your next year strategy about three or four months in advance of the new year. It awards you enough time to make an impact on your final quarter and lay the groundwork for making sure your next fiscal year starts off on a solid footing. For the note business owners who want to achieve greatness, push the envelope, and grow their business through market share, market penetration, paying down debt, increasing closings, profits and cash flow, I urge you to get off your bottom and get going now!

The way I see things is, if your note business isn’t growing, pushing the envelope, thriving, and maximizing profit, then all you’re really doing is suffering a slow death. Believe me, your competition is fighting the fight every day, and they didn’t wake up in the morning and say “Gosh, golly, I hope I stay even this year.” They want to eat your lunch, take your business, absorb your market share and take your note holders away.

Some people might ask me if they should start planning by looking at their competition, and I say NO. Why focus on the competition, instead of focusing on yourself? When it comes to my note business, I am aware of it but I don’t care what others do. I care about what we do. Recognize your competition for what and who they are, and then put your best foot forward by pushing the envelope in your note business.

You should approach the new year as if you are going to war, and for that, you should develop a strategic plan with the help of your key people (broker associates, investors and other note professionals). Use their input to develop the tactical disciplines that will help execute at an elite level. 

You’ve probably heard me preach the importance of a marketing and business plan, and the need to work things backward from a five-year standpoint. So, for the last four years, of the five-year plan, it should be broken down into quarters, but for the next twelve months, the first twelve months in the five-year plan, it should be broken down by the month.

If you’d really like to get crazy with your new-year plan, break it down by week-to-week, and track yourself through milestones and flash reporting. Determine how well you’re doing versus your weekly plan, monthly plan, and your annual plan.

You should have started your new-year planning three to four months in advance of the year’s end; if you did not, here are some considerations I’d like you to think about, as you start playing catch up with yours:

– Start developing a list, by month, on how you did last year. Revenue, profit, and free cash flow.

– Did you successfully attain whatever goals you had laid out for the year? If you did, were they too easy? If you didn’t, how come?

– If you had a plan, even if it’s a revenue goal, did you hit it, and how did you hit it?

– How many transactions do you think you lost this year that you should have gotten? How many note holders you had on the hook go somewhere else? Dissect it, and figure out why, and don’t be afraid to call these note holders and ask why you lost them.

– How much business did you bid on, and didn’t get? Was it a people thing, a pricing thing, a geography thing, a competition thing; What was it?

Answer these questions and find out why you succeeded or failed last year. Otherwise, you’d better get comfortable accomplishing nothing new if you plan to do the same things this year that you did this year.

Remember success demands action, keep on marketing, it’s going to work!  TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talkin’ About!)

Jeff Armstrong of Armstrong Capital has been a note broker and investor specializing in the seller financed note industry since 1991.  He can be reached by email at For more updated and current information on how he can help you with your note business, your note investments or to request a quote on a note you currently have visit

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