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6 Ways You Can Build a Better Blueprint for Your Property Management Business

6 Ways You Can Build a Better Blueprint for Your Property Management Business

The blueprint you follow when building a successful property management business has changed. Today there are more competitors (especially on the Internet) and many property owners are distracted and disenchanted with the whole property management experience. They are also very busy. In the midst of such change, many property management companies have chosen to continue on in the same vein of what they have always done or have reverted back to what they used to do because they are overwhelmed and frustrated with a continual unpredictability about their daily, weekly and monthly results. This change has caused me to reflect on the power of creating a business blueprint that will help you not only stand out to your customers and apart from your competitors, but that will help you ensure that you are happy with the result as you continue to build your business.

Your property management business, just like any business, needs a solid foundation to provide stability. If corners were cut when the foundation was built, cracks may appear and in time the structure will crumble and fall. A solid blueprint ensures that you create a business that is built to last, not just one that will look pretty on the outside, yet have unsightly cracks and problems in the basement.

This is a hard lesson for many to learn. Most business owners learn this lesson the hard way. Neglecting important details in the foundation while spending money on paint and varnish can give the appearance of sustainability, yet under the surface danger lurks. In this blog post, I want to talk about your property management business blueprint and what you’re doing about the foundational elements of your business. It is easier to rely on the new paint and shiny varnish of a trendy new software or idea than it is to look under the hood of your business and find out if you are really profitable with what you are doing day in and day out as a property manager.

Business growth requires new customer acquisition. You must work on this every day or least every other day. If you don’t your business with stagnate and will be vulnerable. It is easy to confuse revenue growth with business growth. Business growth requires new customer acquisition. You’ve got to add more doors.

Dan Kennedy says: “There are three money questions tied to customer acquisition. What will you invest? What can you invest? How can you make it possible to invest more per customer acquired without burying yourself in debt (although debt incurred for this purpose can be good debt) or leaving yourself with empty pockets? How good you are at figuring out creative answers to these questions determines how successful you can be at business growth.”

With a PMI franchise, you are able to look closely at proven blueprints and then do the work required to actually build a solid foundation and a business worth emulating. Most property managers are interested in the harvest, yet aren’t willing to do what it takes each day consistently to plant, water, fertilize, nurture, and put in the work necessary to actually yield a result that will sustain their growth. It is much easier to look for shortcuts that may appear to yield a result at whatever cost, yet that may not sustain long-term growth.

To help you build a blueprint that will withstand the test of time requires that you are aware of and are working on fixing the hairline fractures that can happen in your property management business. Every business has areas of strength and weakness. You’ve got to focus on the areas of strength and ensure that they remain strong. You can’t just spend all of your time working on just the weak areas of your business. If you do, you risk losing the strong areas to other aggressive competitors.

In this blog post, I want to share with you what it takes to create property management business blueprints you need to be strong in this business and most importantly appeal to today’s disenchanted, distracted and busy property owners who are being pulled in many different directions.

  1. Recognize your strengths. It is better to be strong somewhere than weak everywhere.

If you try to be all things to all people, you weaken your brand, weaken the depth of your offering and weaken your business area of strength. On your own, it is impossible to have everything a property owner will want in every category. With a PMI franchise, you can choose. All of the business blueprints are already built for you so you can meet the needs that owners have. It allows you to be unique and stand out in your marketplace. Here are four ways that a PMI franchise can help you grow your existing property management business in ways that help you showcase your overall strengths:

1) Find the uncontested space. Look for ways to make your competition irrelevant. A PMI franchise can help set you apart from your competition.  A PMI franchise already has an established brand with proven systems that you can build your business around.

Here are a couple of questions for you to consider:

  • Are all of the categories of property management being met in your area? What can you do to stand out and make your competition irrelevant?
  • How can a PMI franchise help you position yourself so that you can provide what property owners can’t find anywhere else?

2) Don’t be a “me-too” property management company. Position yourself with PMI and promote your uniqueness.

Jack Trout observes:

“Many people believe that the basic issue in marketing is convincing the prospect that they have a better product or service. They say to themselves, ‘We might not be first but we’re going to be better.’

That may be true, but if you’re late into a market space and have to do battle with large, well established competitors then your marketing strategy is probably faulty. Me-too just won’t cut it.

Consider the efforts of Pepsi in the lemon-lime category. Even though supermarket soda aisles are overcrowded and sales growth is flat, Pepsi [launched] Sierra Mist, a competitor to Sprite and 7UP. This is after two failed prior attempts (Slice and a product called ‘Storm.”)

Their introductory strategy is, what else, a ‘better’ soda. Dawn Hudson, Pepsi’s senior vice president of strategy and marketing, boasted to the Wall Street Journal that Sierra Mist will have  a “cleaner, lighter, more refreshing lemon-lime.”–Big Brands, Big Trouble, pp. 2-3.

Sierra Mist was discontinued in 2010 and their new version of it Sierra Mist Natural is still struggling. It is easy to make the “me-too” mistake in business but as is shown here, sales haven’t supported the product and its different versions.

As a property manager, do you make the “me-too” mistake?

Do you try to promote yourself as being a better property management company than the other ones in your market?

Jack Trout makes this point:

“When you’re a me-too, you’re a second class citizen. Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.”–Big Brands, Big Trouble, p. 3.

Differentiation is the key. Don’t adopt the me-too approach. Don’t just watch your competitors and instantly mimic everything they are doing (or you think they are doing).

Instead, be different. Be unique. Position yourself as an expert in property management in all four categories with strength. Positioning is the art of defining how you want to be perceived without necessarily changing what you do (offering property management). Marketing is about perception. Are your perceptions working for you? How does your property management business blueprint reflect your uniqueness? How could you grow your business by aligning yourself with PMI?

3) Create a twist. Do things a little bit differently than other property managers with better technology and systems. With PMI, you can be unique and different and provide a different level of service. And, you can grow your expertise in other categories with better systems, training, and support.

4) Think outside the box. Lead generation and sales efficiency are the two most important blueprints you have at your business. With PMI, you can follow a proven system to get the results you seek. PMI has already created a better box so you don’t just have to think outside of it, you can prosper inside of a proven business model.

Theodore Leavitt from Harvard Business School said: “The greatest asset a company has is how it is known to its customers.” Reputation, brand, words, your story and how you are perceived and known by property owners and investors are all important aspects of your property management business blueprint.

What do your marketing messages say about you and your business?

Don’t blur your difference by trying to be all things to all people without the support, training, and technology to support it. Remember, if everyone offers the same service offerings you do, are you really that different? Be different in a memorable way with PMI.

  1. Your business blueprint should be built on the basics of what makes a valuable, successful business.

Dan Kennedy says: “Let’s review the basics of a successful, valuable business. A key factor is the affordable acquisition and assembly of a sufficient number of customers who can be retained and who will engage in on-going or repetitive transactions at price points producing net profitability.”

If a business isn’t profitable, there isn’t much difference between a $25 million company with zero profits and a $100,000 a year company with zero profits. Net profitability is the foundation that any valuable, successful business is built on.

Years ago, I read this statement by Al Ries and Laura Ries in their book The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding and I’ve never forgotten its powerful lesson. They say:

“Let’s say that you really want to be rich. Now ask yourself: Can I get rich by doing what rich people do? Rich people buy expensive houses and eat in expensive restaurants. They drive Rolls-Royces and wear Rolex watches. They vacation on the Riviera. Would buying an expensive house, a Rolls-Royce, and a Rolex make your rich? Just the opposite. It’s likely to make you poor, even bankrupt.

Most people search for success in all of the wrong places. They try to find out what rich and successful companies are currently doing and then try to copy them.

What do rich companies do? They buy Gulfstream jets. They run programs like empowerment, leadership training, open-book management, and total-quality management. And they extend their brands.

If you want to be rich, you have to do what rich people did before they were rich—you have to find out what they did to become rich. If you want to have a successful company, you have to do what successful companies did before they were successful. As it happens, they all did the same thing.  They narrowed their focus.”–Al Ries and Laura Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, p. 21-22.

Focus and profitability. Both are key components of a valuable, profitable business. Are these part of your business? If not, PMI can help you focus and build a profitable property management business.

One area of focus all successful businesses have is the ability to keep your hands dirty or to keep your ear close to the marketplace. Jason Jennings calls this keeping your hands dirty when he explains the contrast between a CEO of a big hotel chain and Jim Cabela, the CEO of Cabela’s in his book Think Big, Act Small on page 31. As part of a reality television show entitled Now Who’s Boss?, “the CEO spent five days working in one of his hotels while taping the show. ‘It got me closer to the people,’ he said in an interview with Hotel Magazine. ‘I learned that housekeeping is physically demanding, uniforms are polyester and uncomfortable, and that many people don’t tip the housekeepers.’ But his biggest surprise occurred when he got stiffed while serving as a bellman. He carried fifteen bags for one customer and received no tip! This person, who has been chairman and CEO of the hotel chain for fifteen years says he was so inspired by this experience that he made a decision to implement an annual event for hotel general managers and executive committee members to spend one day doing line-level jobs. Whoosh…whatever he learned went right over his head.”–Think Big, Act Small, pp. 31-32.

Now, contrast that with Jim Cabela:

“Each morning when Jim Cabela, cochairman, walks into his office at world headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska, there’s a tall stack of eight by five sheets of white paper awaiting him. Each sheet contains a customer comment or complaint from the previous day, the customer’s name and contact information, and the Cabela’s representative who took the comment.

Cabela spends his mornings reading each of them, noting his comments, and separating the complaints into smaller piles. Then before heading home for lunch, he walks around the company and personally delivers the small stacks to the responsible parties for their immediate action and follow up.

Then, Jason Jennings asks this question:

“How many chairman of multibillion-dollar firms do you think spend several hours each day reviewing all of the previous day’s comments and complaints and personally directing an immediate follow-up?  A jealous competitor might cynically mutter, ‘What the heck else is there to do in Sidney, Nebraska?’

At Cabela’s with a string of 40 years of consistent revenue growth, Jim Cabela’s response would be a benign smile and a question, ‘What could be more important than listening and responding, to customers and doing whatever else you have to do to make and keep them happy?’”–Think Big, Act Small, p. 33.

I love this statement from Al Ries and Jack Trout in their book Marketing Warfare:

“Strategy should evolve out of the mud of the marketplace, not in the antiseptic environment of an ivory tower.” –p. 188.

As a property manager in today’s challenging times, you likely feel like you’re up to your neck in the mud of the marketplace. Yet, you must step out of the “mud of the marketplace” enough to stay in touch with the property owners and tenants you serve and offer them a personal touch because it is one of the powerful things you have to offer with your business brand that will help your message spread faster.

Creating an experience where you have more of a personal interaction with your customers will set you very far ahead of the competition when it comes to the experience they tell their friends about.

  1. The essence of your business blueprint should show detail in a systematized way how your customers can do business with you next.

The way you attract property owners to do business with you and the way you treat them once they are clients is the key to establishing brand loyalty and getting the next sale.

Consider this example of how a supermarket attracts new customers into their stores as detailed by Guy Kawasaki in his book, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy. He says:

“Dick’s Supermarkets, a chain of eight markets in Wisconsin and Illinois, uses a comprehensive direct mail program to establish brand loyalty with new customers.

Store employees create a list of people who recently moved into the area, newly married couples, and families with newborn children. These lists are compiled from newspaper announcements, utility company new account information, chambers of commerce announcements, and personal knowledge.

Newly arrived and newly married couples receive a welcome or congratulations letter from the general manager of the nearest Dick’s store. There are six coupons included with the letter that are good for two free items each week for three weeks. “If we can bring people in six times we feel we can convert them into regular customers, says William Brodbeck, the president of Dick’s Supermarkets.

Two and a half weeks after the first letter, Dick’s sends a second letter from Brodbeck, another six coupons, and a self-addressed, postage paid survey about the store. In this letter Brodbeck thanks people for using the coupons. How does he track coupon usage? He doesn’t. He assumes that the recipients have used the coupons and send his thank you letter to all of them.

Finally, one year after the first letter is sent, Dick’s sends a third letter with another survey and a coupon for a discount on items such as baked goods or flowers.

Newborn children receive a letter containing coupons that starts out with “This is your first business letter.” Parents can redeem the coupons, and on the child’s first birthday, a letter is sent to his or her parents along with a coupon for $2 off a birthday cake from Dick’s.”–How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, pp. 114-115.

How could you use this idea in your business?

Is there a sequence of correspondence you could develop and use as part of your property management blueprint to impress your overall experience onto those who come into your marketing funnel and buy from you?

By aligning yourself with PMI, you can utilize the specific lead generation blueprints that are already developed and ready for you to use. Tenants and owners who are entered into your marketing funnel have sequential messages that can help you focus on what your prospect or client should do next. Don’t leave these important marketing communications to chance. PMI will help you build your business with these proven templates to help you get the results you seek.

  1. Create a community where you can get the word out about your property management business.

PMI already has an established brand presence and is continuing to grow that presence each week and month across the country to help its franchisees get more prospective clients. Here are some questions for you to ask to determine how well your business blueprint is helping you project credibility to property owners and investors in your area:

  • Are you educating property owners about what they most need to know about the benefits of hiring a property management company (especially with recent changes happening on state and nationwide level that will affect them)?
  • Are you promoting your experience and what it will mean for them (that they can’t get anywhere else)?
  • Do you come across as being knowledgeable about what it is that you are offering or do they seem to know more than you?
  • Are you communicating clearly with owners?
  • Do property owners and investors sense that you are an expert?
  • Are you likable?
  • Are you inspiring and building your expertise? Remember with PMI, you can borrow the credibility of nearly 300 other franchisees across the country to enhance your own reputation and expertise.

These are great questions to carefully consider as you promote your credibility. Remember, credibility is the pivot point in influence. It is what will help you build the foundation to be more persuasive.

A powerful way to create a community where property owners want to be is to have a unique and memorable edge that your competitors don’t.

Robyn Spizman and Rick Frishman make this astounding claim in their book Where’s Your Wow?:

“If your product or service has no unique or meaningful edge, no amount of marketing is going to make it a success.”–p. 33.

When you have a unique edge and an authentic story, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors. A good reason to do this is so that you don’t get lumped into the commodity classification.

Consider this statement from Laura Ries who with her father wrote “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding” “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR” and The Origin of Brands.  She said recently:

“Brands do matter. Brands are what enable you to make profits. If you don’t have a brand, then you have a commodity, and everybody knows there is no money in selling commodities.”

Author Seth Godin makes this observation in his book, Purple Cow:

“Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service.  Not just slapping on the marketing function as a last minute add-on, but also understanding from the outset that if your offering isn’t remarkable, then it’s invisible.”

You don’t want your business to be invisible, so aligning yourself with the PMI brand helps you to be authentic with the right systems, training, and support so that you have a competitive edge.

A big part of your property management business blueprint is to reinvent yourself and tell your story in unique ways.  I like how authors Chip and Dan Heath explain this in their book Made to Stick.  They explain: “A sticky idea is a simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional story. Lots of sticky ideas have only a few of these traits, but some have all six like John F. Kennedy’s famous call to put a man on the moon and return him safely before the end of the decade. It’s simple—easy to understand, easy to explain. It’s unexpected – in 1961, putting a man on the moon sounded like science fiction. It’s amazingly concrete—notice how easy it is to visualize the moment of success, the moment when a human being sets foot on the moon. It was credible because it came from the mouth of a popular president. It’s emotional—it appealed to our yearning to reach the next frontier (and let’s not forget, our desire to beat the Soviets). And it’s the story of a journey in a miniature.”-Where’s Your Wow?, p. 35.

PMI has created numerous videos and messages to help showcase to property owners why they should choose a PMI franchisee to make their property management more manageable. Is your marketing message memorable? If not, consider aligning your brand with PMI and you’ll have tremendous marketing resources and support to set you up in the right way with a powerful and memorable story that sticks. You likely haven’t had time to build a better community with property owners in your area. With PMI, these resources are available for you to start using right away.

  1. Be clear about what you want and be sure that everyone on your team understands their role AND their part in achieving this goal.

Bill Walsh, one of the most influential head coaches in the history of the NFL explains this in his book The Score Takes Care of Itself. He says:

“Former Cleveland and Cincinnati head coach Paul Brown taught me a lot during the eight years I worked for him as an assistant coach. Among his many talents was direct communication. He was clear, specific, and comprehensive without an ounce of ambiguity. I like his approach and recommend the same for you. Here’s an example of how he insured that everyone was on the same page. On the first day of each season’s training camp, Brown would give a lecture to the squad that covered his own Standard of Performance—what he expected (demanded) in all areas. Of course, a leader’s personal example is perhaps his most powerful teaching tool, but words have their own power and specificity.

“Brown would start each season with the phrase, ‘Gentlemen, let’s set the record straight,’ and then proceed to do exactly that. Step by step by step, specific after specific, he would cover every aspect of being on the Cincinnati Bengals football team.

“He discussed how to wear the uniform, how to dress for meals, how each player was expected to keep his locker in order. He told players how he wanted them to respond to coaching, how to take notes during lectures, how teaching would be done, and what to expect from each assistant coach.

“Brown covered such specifics as punctuality, the training-room rules, what would happen when players were waived (this always sent a chill through the group), and the overall environment he intended to create. Furthermore, he shared his policy of treating each player—starts, backups, veterans, rookies, free agents—equally, with the same high level of respect and dignity.

“Each year his lecture, and this was only a sampling of topics, lasted about four hours (and voluminous printed material supplemented the lecture). Paul Brown was thorough enough that when the Bengals personnel left the meeting room they knew precisely what they were supposed to do in the coming weeks and that their head coach expected them to enthusiastically adhere to every procedure, policy, and timetable he had specified. Needless to say, he continued with that kind of direct and clear communication in the months that followed—in practice, during games, and elsewhere. What he laid out was measurable. And he measured it on a regular basis—his version of your company’s year-end review.

With PMI’s alliance with Process.St, property managers can be very clear, specific, and direct in putting forth requirements concerning actions and attitude as well as step by step processes and systems for on-boarding, off-boarding, managing maintenance requests and every single aspect of running a successful property management business.

“Vince Lombardi had a similar appreciation for the benefits of direct—specific—communication.  Supposedly, he started each season’s training camp by assembling the team and announcing, as he held it over his head, ‘Gentlemen, this is a football.’ That’s how Vince began his introduction of the fundamentals of his particular system, with clear communication. Both Brown and Lombardi understood the necessity of spelling out in detail what you expect from employees and doing it in a manner that is unambiguous and comprehensive.

“It is an important element in why these great coaches succeeded. Employees can thrive in an environment where they know exactly what is expected of them—even when expectations are very high. When it comes to telling people what you expect from them, don’t be subtle, don’t be coy, don’t be vague. What’s your version of ‘Gentlemen, this is a football’ in your property management business? Do you have the systems and processes that lay out what someone should do in any situation that may come up in your business?

“There’s another story about Vince Lombardi worth mentioning because it points out a high-priority responsibility of any leader. During a game in which his Green Bay Packers were giving up one gain after another, as the opponent marched down the field, he screamed out at his defensive players, ‘Grabbin’, grabbin’, grabbin’! Nobody’s tackling!!! What the hell is going on out there?’

“Lombardi could see that this defensive players were not getting it done, were not really doing the hard job of tackling runners. He let them know that ‘grabbin’ was not their job description and simply going through the motions was going to get them beat. A leader must know when his team is making a lot of noise signifying nothing. UCLA’s coach John Wooden summed it up like this: ‘Don’t mistake activity for accomplishment.’ Lombardi was more graphic in his language but was addressing the same issue.

Don’t be vague about what you expect yourself and those on your team to do. A clear blueprint outlines exactly what must be done as a business or a project it is based upon is being built. If you lack clarity, you will probably end up with something you didn’t expect. With PMI, you won’t have to wonder if your processes are adequate or enough. You’ll have the specifics when you start and the support you’ll need from your franchise business coach and 280+ other franchisees who are willing to share their systems and support as well.

  1. Don’t be content with where you are. Have the courage to attack yourself before your competitors do.

A great example to me of the courage it takes to attack yourself is found in the life of Diane von Furstenberg and how she reinvented her company by necessity.

“In 1970, von Furstenberg created her own line of printed cotton knit dresses and brought them to New York. She was seven months pregnant, she recalled, pulling a heavy suitcase full of samples up flights of stairs, taking one rejection after another from the buyers. Her friends thought she had lost her mind.  That spring, during New York’s famed Fashion Week, she hired some young women from a modeling school to present her work at the Gotham Hotel. A few small shops bought her designs, then Bloomingdale’s, then a store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. She hit the road, lugging her suitcase full of samples from one mom-and-pop clothing store to another….By the end of 1975, von Furstenberg was selling 15,000 of her figure-hugging ‘wrap dresses’ a week. Retail sales from her clothes, branding licenses, and a new fragrance and cosmetics line hit $60 million. A few months later she was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal—and then, the cover of Newsweek. ‘Von Furstenberg: The Princess Who is Everywhere,’ the New York Times proclaimed. And she was still just twenty-eight years old. But in 1977, the bubble burst: The company was overextended, the market saturated with her products. Women’s Wear Daily declared the wrap-dress craze history. Von Furstenberg was stuck with $4 million in inventory—and a factory in Italy pumping out 25,000 new dresses a week. The company was sliding quickly toward bankruptcy.

“But von Furstenberg fought back. She sold the entire dress business, despite the emotional toll, and restructured the company top to bottom. She refocused exclusively on cosmetics and perfumes while continuing to make millions a year by licensing her famous DVF brand name. The company took off again—only to overheat and overexpand once more in the early 1980s. The company was nearly lost, until the cosmetic business was sold. Now, with a cash-positive position, von Furstenberg set out to build DVF all over again.

“In 1992, she made her most unexpected leap: She brought her DVF signature goods to QVC, the dowdy home shopping network. One night, she recalls, she sold more than $750,000 worth of her goods in just fifteen minutes. When Barry Diller bought QVC, von Furstenberg got 10 percent of the company as a kind of finder’s fee.

“Since then she has continued to fight for the survival of her firm….Now, some 40 years after setting off a fashion revolution with her wrap dress, von Furstenberg is president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the highest seat at the most prestigious fashion association in the nation.  ‘Isn’t it hard,’ I asked her one day, ‘fighting one battle after another, to keep your dream alive?’

“ ‘My mother was in the concentration camps,’ Diane replied quietly, ‘at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Ravensbruck. When she was freed she weighed forty-nine pounds. Sixteen months later she gave birth to me. Compared to that, my hardships are nothing.” –Erik Calonius, Ten Steps Ahead, pp. 80-82.

Today, Diane has a net worth of $1.2 billion and is still involved in the brand she developed. You can learn more about her philanthropic work at

Oftentimes, the best way to stay on top in any business is to attack your own core business with something unique that makes what you used to sell obsolete. If you don’t have the courage to do this, the marketplace may shift and you will be left behind. Shifting demographics and behaviors of how people rent today are changing the landscape in the property management industry. How you adapt to these changes will be a big part of whether you will continue to grow and prosper or whether your business will decline as property owner’s and tenant’s behaviors continue to shift and change.

In order to determine where to attack your business, ask:

  • What is your number one strength in your business?
  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • What is your biggest opportunity?
  • What is your biggest threat?
  • If you were your competitor, where would you attack?

Taking time to think about how to attack yourself is a great way to stay on top and to look for better ways to stand out in the marketplace.

Look for ways to improve and get better. Ask the property owners you work with: How can I improve my service to you next time? How can I be better next time? If you just ask property owners, “How is everything going?”, they will invariably answer “Fine.” To have the edge, learn more, and set yourself apart, you could ask: “How can I improve my service to you next time?” Then look for meaningful ways to act on what you’ve learned.

It takes commitment to change and learn new things. It is hard to beat resistance everyday. It takes courage and a willingness to do what hasn’t been done before. Consider this statement by Sterling Sill about Julius Caesar in his book How to Personally Profit from the Laws of Success. He said:

“Pompey the Great was ruler of the vast Roman Empire half a century before Christ. His most important field general was Julius Caesar. Caesar had some differences with Pompey, and was considering marching on the capital to take matters into his own hands. In forty nine B.C. Caesar came to the Rubicon, a small river in Northern Italy that served as his territorial boundary line. The Rubicon was called ‘the sacred and inviolable.’ It was the line across which no general was ever allowed to pass without special permission from the Senate. If Caesar crossed the Rubicon it would be with the idea of making the entire Roman Empire subject to his will.

“That was a momentous decision. It would immediately precipitate a civil war and divide the world between Pompey and Caesar. Caesar knew what the consequences would be if he tried and failed. He knew that many lives would be lost, in any event. Surely he must have hesitated before arriving at so great a decision, for he knew there could be no hesitation after the decision was made. Caesar carefully considered every angle. He explored every possible alternative. Then he made up his mind. He would march on Rome.

“One part of Caesar’s power came because of his ability to analyze a situation: another part came because of his habit of always finishing what he started. He was not starting the biggest undertaking of his life, to strike down the very heart of the world. Caesar said, ‘The die is cast.’ That expression marked the point where deliberation ended and action began. There would be no turning back. Then Caesar threw himself into the waters of the Rubicon at the head of his legions and the whole history of the world was changed.”–pp. 49-50.

What have been the moments in your life where you have made a momentous decision and stuck with what you started out to do? Perhaps, you are experiencing your own “crossing the Rubicon” moment in your property management business right now.

What have you decided to stick with or eliminate to help you get back on track or stay on track towards the accomplishment of your goals? When you are sure and determined, your commitment will be seen by everyone around you.

This important quality of leadership is what will give you the courage to continue and motivate those around you to give a little bit more and to be a little more focused on the accomplishment of your daily, weekly and monthly goals. After all, you can’t lead anyone somewhere that you aren’t committed to get to yourself. The decision to get there and stay on track is at the heart of any successful business blueprint.

Recently, I read a fascinating book called Game On: Find Your Purpose-Pursue Your Dream by Hall of Fame Running Back and Dancing with the Stars Champion Emmitt Smith. I am fascinated by him because he spent his entire football career getting knocked around, knocked down, beaten up, losing yards on plays, failing a lot in order to succeed when it counted. After a failed play, he had less than thirty seconds to restore his confidence and determination, line up, take the ball, and run at the same opponents again. There are a lot of other football players, business leaders, and even property managers who fall down and don’t get back up consistently over time because it takes a lot of determination and heart to do so.

Let me share one inspiring story with you. Emmitt recalls:

“When our Dallas Cowboys team faced the New York Giants in the last regular game of the 1993 season—actually played on January 2, 1994—there was a lot at stake. The winner would secure home-field advantage for the play-offs, not to mention a first round bye, which meant a week’s rest. The pressure was on. For me, there was also a motivational factor. The season’s rushing title was also at stake. I’d won it the two previous seasons, but at that point I was in a tight race with Jerome ‘The Bus’ Bettis of the Los Angeles Rams, and he had just pulled ahead of me. One of my big legacy goals was on the line.

“We met in Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex on a frigid day. The field’s artificial turf always felt harder than most, but on that day it was like glacial ice, cold and unforgiving. I found out just how unforgiving a couple of minutes before halftime, when Giants safety Greg Jackson tackled me and rode me to the ground after a 46-yard run. With Greg’s full weight bearing down on me, my right shoulder slammed into that frozen turf. Pain shot through my body like I’d never experienced.  The impact had torn the ligaments in the shoulder, separating it. Somehow I also bruised my sternum, which sent spasms up the middle of my back to my trapezius muscles. Worst of all, I could barely raise my right arm. Just taking a breath was difficult.

“I went to the sideline to have my injury checked out, but the doctors and trainers said there was nothing they could do for me right away except take me in for X-rays. My upper body was beaten up and bruised, but I could still run. And I knew this was a must-win game. If we lost, we had to play again in a week. If we won, we had two weeks’ rest before the play-offs. I needed that rest, and so did my teammates. I was not about to remain on the sidelines.

“I did have to make one major adjustment because of my injuries. Upon returning to the huddle, I asked our offensive lineman to make sure someone followed me down the field on every play because I was having a difficult time getting up off the ground and I needed assistance.

“Seriously, I was like the old woman in the commercial who says, ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.’ Every time I was tackled, I had to wait for one or two teammates to hoist me to my feet. It wasn’t hard for them to find me in the pile, though. I could be easily spotted because I was the guy on the bottom.  And each time it felt like someone was shoving hot coals up through my shoulder. It hurt so badly I bit through my mouthpiece.

“Our quarterback, Troy Aikman, had to make an adjustment for his one-armed running back. My left arm was the arm I carried the football in most of the time, so he had to bend down and tuck the ball into it on handoffs since my right arm couldn’t brace it. But I stayed in the game, and I kept running.

“My battered chest was so sore that between plays I’d take big, deep breaths to pull air into my lungs. One of the coaches must have noticed, because someone sent in my backup, Lincoln Coleman. But when Lincoln tapped me on the shoulder, I told him to go back to the sideline.

“At halftime, our team doctors went to work on me like a pit crew at the Daytona 500. Dr. Robert Vandermeer and our trainer, Kevin O’Neill, did what they could. They gave me two Vicodin to ease the pain, but the damage was too severe to repair then and there.

“ ‘Emmitt, it’s going to hurt, but you can’t damage it any more than has already been done,’ Kevin told me.

“I was hurting so badly at that point that if the custodians and the parking attendants wanted to treat me, I was willing to listen. The Cowboys’ equipment manager, Buck Buchanan, and his assistant Mike McCord, devised a MacGyver approach for my aching shoulder. They cut a doughnut hole in the middle of a foam knee pad and taped it to my separated shoulder under my shoulder pads to help disperse the impact of any direct blows to the injured area. Their improvised shield helped some, but every time I went down, there was still a crunching sound in my chest. It sounded like someone was cracking his knuckles in there.

“After being tackled on one play, I was in so much pain that I just stayed down. Michael Irvin came over to help me and said, ‘Hey, man, you have to stay in the game. We need you out here.’

“Vicodin or no Vicodin, I was in pain, but Michael was right. I had to stay focused on picking up yards and scoring. This was one of those games where mental toughness was a key factor. The Giants were piling on me and taking shots at my shoulder because they knew I was hurting. My teammates saw that and did what they could to protect me, pulling defenders away from me and off me. They respected me for staying on the field, and they seemed to intensify their efforts too.

“In every huddle, Troy would look at me after calling the play and say, ‘Emmitt, are you all right?’

“At one point early in the third quarter, I noticed that they weren’t giving me the ball as much. They were using me as a decoy in pass-action plays. I told the coaches that if they were going to put me in the game, they needed to give me the ball and let me run. So they went back to handing me the ball and throwing it to me too. I still don’t know how I caught it with one arm, but somehow I did.

“The score was tied when the final second ticked off the clock. The game went into overtime, and I did too. Bruised, beaten, and battered, we all just kept rolling. I carried the ball thirty-two times that day even though my teammates all but carried me back to each huddle. With a lot of help from my blockers, I managed to run for 168 yards, catch ten passes for another 61 yards, and score our only touchdown.

“In what turned out to be my last run of the game, the Giants’ linebacker Lawrence Taylor came at me like a runaway truck. Somehow my injured right arm rose up, and I straight-armed him. I don’t know who was more shocked, Lawrence or me, but that last run put the Cowboys in position for the field goal that finally won the game.

“Then the stuff hit the fan—or at least the pain really hit me. I managed to smile in the locker room when it sank in that we would have two weeks off before the play-offs. Someone helped me pull off my shoulder pads, and I stood up, feeling good about the game. Then I dropped like a sack of potatoes.  Spasms ran through the muscles in my chest all the way up to my neck, constricting them so much that I couldn’t breathe. I felt as if a giant python had wrapped itself around my upper body and was squeezing me. I was in agony. My teammates carried me into the training room, and the team doctor gave me another shot. I was lying there on the stretcher when John Madden appeared over me. That was a shocker. The coach-turned-sportscaster patted me on the shoulder, and said he’d never come down into a locker room after broadcasting a game, but he wanted to tell me, ‘That was the gutsiest performance I’ve ever seen.’ Even with all the pain wracking my body, I had to smile at that. I couldn’t raise my arm enough to shake John’s hand, but I was grateful to him for stopping by and offering that amazing compliment. He said the same thing over and over again in his broadcasts after that game, and I appreciated every word.”—Game On, pp. 123-127.

He continues:

“Truth be told, if that Giants game had gone another minute, I might just have collapsed on the field and turned to pure dust. Physically and mentally, I was drained dry. I’d given everything I had and then burned up everything in the reserve tank. The pain meds kicked in, and I was in la-la land when my parents came in to congratulate me. We talked for a while, but the pain was starting to mount. They walked me to the team bus, and my mother said she knew I was in pain.

“The pain came with a vengeance as we traveled, and so did the muscle spasms. The team doctors had me lie down on a seat near them so they could keep an eye on me. That was a good thing, because after more meds finally put me to sleep, I woke up in a panic. My arm was on fire. The darn thing hurt so badly that I started banging the arm against the plane window, trying to break it off to stop the pain.

“Pile on! My teammates pinned me down so the doctors could hit me with another needle. That knocked me out, but only for a short time. Again the burning sensation shot through my arm, and my own hollering woke me up in a wild frenzy. They offered to land the plane right then and there so I could go to a hospital, but I told them, ‘If I’m going to die, I want to die in Dallas!’ When we finally landed in Dallas, the doctors took me directly to Baylor University Medical Center and hooked me to an IV bag full of a powerful painkiller. When the meds first hit me, I felt a wave of elation. I was smiling and accepting compliments. The television in my room was turned to ESPN, and when a recap of our game came on, I thought, Great. I can watch the highlights.

“I didn’t see a single one. The mighty meds kicked in fully, and it was nighty-night for this beat-up Cowboy.

“I remained on that IV through the night. And as exhausted, bruised, and swollen as I was in the days that followed, I felt deep satisfaction, too. With God’s help, I had dealt with the pain and helped my teammates win the game they deserved to win. I had also won the rushing title for a third-straight season, too, which was pretty gratifying. (Nice try, Bus!)

“I was grateful for those who had made it possible for me to make it through. Norv Turner, the offensive coordinator, let me have the ball, and my teammates blocked for me. They raised me to my feet when I could not pick myself up. On that field they were my brothers in battle for every yard gained.

“But try as they might, my teammates could not protect me from the biggest battle I had faced in that game—my battle with fear. I’d been running scared on the field that day—no doubt about it. I was afraid of losing. I was afraid of being hurt seriously and maybe even having to leave football. I was afraid of letting down my teammates and disappointing my coaches and not reaching my goals.

“So my greatest satisfaction after that game was not that I’d played well, not that I’d played with pain, not even that I hadn’t let the team down…but that I’d been able to manage my fear.

“I was surrounded by Giants intent on knocking me out of that big game, but my fears could just as easily have put me on the sidelines. That’s a reality we all face. Each of us has challenges that come at us from the outside and from within. You can defeat rivals and overcome challenges at work and in your personal life, but if you can’t manage the fears and doubts you harbor inside, you may never be all God intended you to be.”—Game On, pp. 123-130.

You are in overtime now. You may be hurting and stressed out from the continual pressure placed on you during this pandemic. It takes courage to go back into the game one more time for one more sale when the chips are down and you don’t know if you have what it takes to succeed.

I love this statement by B.C. Forbes about this quality that we need to hold onto every day of our lives: “History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”

Few individuals had as many reverses of fortune in business as Walt Disney. There is a lot we can learn from his life and more importantly his perseverance when others had all but given up on him or thought he was crazy. The story of how he created Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a particularly inspiring example of what it takes to persevere when others don’t believe in what you are trying to do.  A great summary of this story is told by Darcy Andries in her book The Secret of Success is Not a Secret. She says:

“The film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was not Walt Disney’s first business venture. In fact, at least three of Disney’s previous businesses had failed and, and after one such failure, he was forced to file for bankruptcy. Disney had once been fired by a newspaper editor who told him he ‘had no good ideas.’ Somehow, Disney knew that the Snow White venture would be different and that this idea was a good one. Not everyone agreed with him, and early in production others warned him that he was going too far. The whole concept of creating such an extravagant family film seemed ludicrous to his critics. For four years, Disney ignored the skeptics and critics as he worked. Costs for the film exceeded $1.5 million and pushed his company to the edge of bankruptcy before he was done. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated feature presentation, became the most successful motion picture of 1938 and earned an honorary Oscar in 1939, in part because it ‘pioneered a great new entertainment field.’ Since its release, the film has earned more than $400 million. Disney holds the record for having received the most Academy Awards, twenty-six, including four honorary awards. He was nominated for sixty-four awards during his lifetime.” –pp. 172-173.

Every person who is in business experiences difficulty, challenge, and failures. Persevere through the difficulties you’re facing. Someday soon, you’ll look back on your challenges, the failures, and the criticism you’ve experienced as the stepping stones that led to your success. Do what it takes to learn to develop the property management business blueprint that will lead you to the success you desire. PMI can help you build a better blueprint.

You have chosen to work in the world of property management and that means that you will keep going and make it work no matter what it takes. The ability to forge on when you feel fear is what makes champions. That kind of perseverance and tenacity is something that can’t be written in any blueprint. It is what makes you who you are and why you will win in the fight you are now waging each and every day. If you would like to discuss how PMI can help you work on, develop, and refine the blueprints that will build your property management business for a long, sustainable, and profitable future, please schedule a call with one of our franchise developers by clicking here: