A Watershed Moment for Property Management
“The ordinary way of doing business is not the best way” – Henry Ford
Extraordinary events beg for extraordinary responses. After this year, I believe the phrase, “Hindsight is 2020,” will have concrete significance in our memories for the rest of our lives.
How will we remember it? As a year of loss? A year of innovation? The end of something? The beginning of something new?
For property management, this year can be an opportunity for the end of business as usual and the beginning of new standards and new heights.
Hindsight is where you can find lessons learned and inspiration for the future.
The US Great Depression offers us lessons on how to think and thrive during economic turmoil. While many businesses collapsed, the stage was set for forward-thinkers to shift entire industries.
Let’s briefly explore industry visionaries Richard Deupree of Proctor and Gamble, Alfred Sloan of General Motors, and Olive Ann Beech of Beech Aircraft and see what principles they used to make their companies flourish in famine.
You will find 3 valuable principles you can use today.
Deupree defied P&G shareholder wishes in 1933. In the midst of depression, instead of being conservative, he concentrated vast amounts of money in radio advertising. He knew that household products were still necessary, but he did not spend on product advertising. He instead created programming that did not focus on the product, but was entertaining for the many stuck at home.
These programs were so popular that they created a new social term, “soap opera,” and launched the radio industry to new heights. Daytime radio and P&G continued to rise through the Depression and remained titans afterward.
Principle 1: Spending on advertising, and doubling down during a crisis, is a worthy investment.
Studies show that property managers have increased their broadcast messaging to tenants out of necessity to communicate government and building policy changes for controlling the viral spread.
This is a reaction to the pandemic, but it should be standard procedure to engage clients and the market with useful information.
Our second example, Alfred Sloan, likewise relentlessly engaged the public through radio and print and uncovered demand for variety in car models at a time when Ford was leading with their one-dimensional car body and low pricing.
Sloan aggressively shifted General Motors’ organizational structure to create divisions focused on innovating and producing a “car for every purse.” He sold technical improvements and established yearly car models as a differentiator. It worked, and positioned GM to gain on Ford’s market share and grow during the Depression.
Principle 2: Set a structure that empowers employees to look for innovation and rewards innovation.
During this time of uncertainty, property management is actually a stable business. The recent US-based Market Research Insight study shows that move-in rates are currently outpacing move-out rates. Even with distressing unemployment numbers and winter coming, US tenants are still paying rent at rates above 90% per The National Multifamily Housing Council.
Simply put, having a stable place to stay is a priority for people, and PM companies that make it standard practice to focus on improving the quality of their service are in position to grow their reputation and footprint. This requires a team dedicated to that. Speaking of…
In our third anecdote, Olive Ann Beech and her husband Walter saw opportunity in the skies. During the worst dip of the Depression, they invested in a team of skilled welders, woodworkers, and pilots to construct and test a new aircraft that would shatter performance norms.
Their company grew from 10 employees to 10,000 and produced aircraft that would eventually lead them to be the premier aerospace company in the 20th century.
Principle 3: Have a vision and invest in the right team to produce it.
It is tempting to assume that the right software is a priority over the right team. Without question, the property management industry was better prepared than most for contactless business. Software has been utilized for years prior in the form of digital keys, online applications, and online rent collections. Tenant usage of these technologies has only increased.
Virtual assistants, too, have been helping reduce administrative costs for managers years in advance of the current remote work environment. The trap, though, is when your technology becomes the foundation of the business, rather than business principles driving the direction of the technology.
It’s tempting to think luck was a major factor in these Depression success stories, but these were not wild attempts at innovation. Their success was a result of calculated decision-making, market engagement, and a consistent vision for the entire team.
The key to thriving like the entrepreneurial pioneers of those times is performing a prognosis on your business.
PM Owners need to focus on these questions for growth beyond 2020:
What is our company vision?
Are we investing in the vision?
Does the team know the vision?
What are our service expectations?
Are we consistent in meeting or exceeding these expectations?
Is everyone in the company clear on their role?
Typically, companies are reactionary to the times and stressing their employees with tasks outside of their job roles. You, instead, need to be deliberate today so tomorrow is an opportunity for you and your team to grow.
The market will do what it always has—rebound and dip. Tenants and property owners depend on you to be the rock in unsteady times.
It all depends on how you set your standards.
Your standard defines your expectation, and you need operations that produce that expectation regardless of the prevailing winds.
Jo-Anne Oliveri, founder of PM consulting firm ireviloution, saw that managers frequently did not have sustainable systems in place and there was a revolving door of clients and staff.
To support them, she distilled years of direct PM knowledge into standardized workflows that have helped companies shift their culture and turn staff from doing what they feel is right in their own eyes into a cohesive team delivering consistent, quality service.
These workflows are not like grocery store checklists. These are guided paths for the most common Tenant and Client-management tasks. Setting clear expectations and responsibility.
If you work with virtual assistants overseas, this kind of clear direction eliminates wasted communication and rework.
In 2021, all of ireviloution’s flows will be made available in a new digital platform called Flussos.
Flussos is for companies the size of one person or firms with multiple team members in different locations
When Flussos is released, you can expect to see:
- More than 20 Field-tested workflows that are pre-engineered for Property Managers only. Programs like Monday or Asana make you create your own workflows. These flows come pre-loaded and are already built for production efficiency.
- Enough wasted time eliminated where you can stop doing non-dollar productive work and focus on your company vision for the years to come.
- A simple view of day-to-day staff productivity and business performance metrics.
- Employees empowered to lead their work due to the clarity of their responsibilities.
You do not have to wait to see what a workflow looks like. Visit Flussos.com and grab a ready-made Workflow today.
Sign up for updates on the platform’s launch. Jo-Anne is also making herself available for a free half-hour consulting call that would normally cost a firm $750.
Remember, businesses are only as strong as the mindsets inhabiting them. Flussos is geared to change your mindset.