The difference between financial success and mediocrity in any business is action and implementation. There is power in taking action. All of us know more than we do. As General H. Norman Schwarzkopf once observed, “The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” The key to thriving and not just surviving in business is to do more of the right things. Here are three suggestions of priorities that must be done now in your property management business as you begin the new year.
Stay focused on your top priority every day. Eliminate procrastination and do what needs to be done.
There is so much that needs to be done every day as a property manager. If you don’t have a plan and priorities for action, you will likely get sucked into the day’s activities and merely drift through each day instead of focusing on the most important priorities of each day.
Are you focusing on the right things that will lead you to your goal or are you easily distracted? Most property managers I’ve talked to tell me that that they get easily distracted. I am the same way if I don’t have a plan and think through what I want to get done every day. When I take time to plan out my priorities each day, I am so much more productive.
The best way I’ve found to do this is to take time to think each morning before you start anything. This means you should do your thinking and planning before you open email, go online, or listen to any voice messages. If you wait to do your thinking and planning after you have already done these things, you’ll find yourself distracted by a myriad of other things – and you likely won’t get back to the most important priorities until much later in the day or at all. You should spend at least 15 minutes each morning before you do anything else in uninterrupted thought.
Write down your ideas of what needs to be done. It is also a good idea to divide the planning of different aspects of your business into different days to develop and maintain priorities. For example, think about marketing your business every Monday morning. Think about marketing for at least an hour to an hour and a half each Monday morning. Simply taking time to evaluate what’s working and what new things you could do to generate more leads will help you focus on getting the right things done with your marketing.
To help you with planning your most important priorities, here are five questions for you to carefully think through about your business and your life:
- What really matters to me?
- Where do I want my property management business to be in five years?
- Why? Am I sure?
- How do I want my life, at work and outside it, to be different?
- What key changes must I make to get there from here?
Taking the time to really think through and answer these questions will change your life. Start thinking and planning each day. You will be amazed by the difference this will make for you and your business. As the old saying goes “Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.” Be sure you get the most out of your day by taking time to think and plan. You will save 10 minutes on execution for every minute that you spend planning. If you don’t take time to think and plan, you will procrastinate what needs to be done.
When you really think about it, the daily activities we do basically break down into two types of tasks: those that are fun and those that aren’t. The tasks that are fun always get done right away, even sooner than we need to get them done. On the other hand, those things that bring feelings of drudgery and the tasks that we really don’t want to do always seem to get put on the back burner, and we procrastinate these things. Many times these things come back to haunt us later on.
Here are six suggestions to eliminate procrastination from your life:
1) Do what you hate first.
When you start work each day, start by doing the thing that you don’t want to do first. Schedule the least enjoyable tasks when you know you’ll have the most energy. Also, don’t put them at the end of the day. It is too easy to say, “Oh, well, I can always do that tomorrow.” Make a call list of the vendors you need to talk to or the upset owner or tenant that you need to get back to. Then, reward yourself for your discipline by doing something fun on your schedule.
2) Make an accountability contract with another property manager or with a friend.
Pick a friend who you can call every morning. Name the one thing that you really don’t want to do that day. Then, call that friend back before the end of the day to let him or her know that you finished that task.
3) Follow the 24-Hour Rule.
Within one day of receiving any new communication requiring action (mail, email, phone call, requests from owners or tenants, etc., take at least one step toward responding to it. It is even better if you can do one thing on each task the minute you learn of it. This will keep tasks manageable so that they don’t blow up into huge things to do later on.
4) Publicly announce your deadlines.
Let others know when you will get something done. Being a part of a supportive networking group is one way you can announce your deadlines. We are all less likely to put off things we don’t want to do if we know we could be embarrassed in front of others (for not doing something) or let them down.
5) Break it down into manageable steps.
For larger tasks, break down each task into smaller, more manageable steps. Then, do something every day to get it done.
6) Get clarification or more information.
Sometimes we don’t take action (or we don’t respond to an email, phone call, complaint, owner, etc.) because we don’t have enough information. Get clarification if you are not sure about something. Start the process of getting information soon so that you can move on to the next step. Following these steps can help you be more focused on your most important priorities that only you can do instead of being sucked into activities (that others can likely do) that don’t help you achieve your long-term goals.
Face it – you can’t do it all. Trying to do it all will burn you out and prevent you from reaching your true potential. Instead, get good at assigning the right job to the right person in the right way. This means that you think through the job before you delegate it. Determine who the best person to delegate a task to will be. Ask them to write down what you’ve asked them to do and have them summarize for you what needs to be done. Then, set up a time to review progress or completion. One of the biggest mistakes made when delegating is to think you can forget about something once it has been delegated and believe that it will still be done. Instead, help others remain accountable to the task you’ve delegated by carefully explaining and overseeing what needs to be done. To help you find out what activities you can delegate, carefully think through these five questions.
- Make up a list all of the business activities you do as a property manager that take up your time. Include everything (including five-minute tasks). Be specific, clear, and brief.
- Describe three things that you are brilliant at doing as a property manager.
- Name the three most important activities that produce income for your business.
- Briefly outline your daily schedule. What do you spend most of your time doing? Can you delegate out some things you are weak at so you can focus more on what you are brilliant at?
- Name the three most important activities that you don’t like to do as a property manager or that you feel you are weak at doing. Then ask yourself, “Who could do these for me?”
Now that you’ve determined what time-consuming activities you can delegate, what is the first thing you are going to say ‘No’ to or delegate right away? Don’t put it off any longer. Delegate this activity now. There will be an immediate benefit to your business because of your choice to delegate and focus on what you are best at.
Spend more time every week working on marketing your business. Stop guessing and start tracking results.
How much time do you really spend on marketing your property management business?
If you’re like many property managers, it is not nearly enough as it should or could be. The best marketing strategies in the world won’t work if you don’t utilize them. As I already mentioned, you should be having a meeting weekly where you plan your marketing promotions. You should also set aside at least 5-10 hours a week where you can work exclusively on the marketing of your business. If you find that you are too busy, find someone who can help you with this critical function of your business. This can be one of the most profitable things you’ll ever do for your business.
In every successful business, someone takes time to carefully evaluate the numbers. You should take time to carefully evaluate how successful each campaign you have done has been.
Here are two reasons that you should track your results more closely:
- If you know what works and what doesn’t, you will be able to know what to do to increase your business.
- Once you see an increase in sales due to good marketing decisions, you will see a drop in client acquisition cost. In other words, let’s say you spend $1,000 on an advertising campaign that brings in 10 leads. The cost of attracting each of these owners is $100 ($1000 divided by 10). Now if you use proven strategies that will help you bring in the right owners and you spend the same $1,000, but now it brings in 30 new leads. These leads now only cost you $33.33 each ($1000 divided by 30). When you track your results, you can make better decisions about how to spend your advertising budget. If you can convert at least half of those leads into new doors and get better at that conversion process over time, you’ll grow even faster.
As an assignment, here are four questions for you to consider about your marketing and advertising decisions:
- What has been the most successful marketing promotion to generate qualified owner leads that you’ve done this past year?
- Why was it so successful?
- When can you run this promotion again? Is there any way you can change it to make it even more effective?
- What promotions do your competitors use that are successful? Which ones can you adapt and use now?
Find out what works and keep repeating it. If you want help with generating better leads with a proven track record, it may make sense for you to talk with a franchise developer about the benefits that converting your business to PMI can have for you. You can set up a time to talk with one of our franchise developers here.
The bottom line is that if you want to be successful in marketing your business, stop guessing, start implementing, and track your results to determine how you can be even more effective.