What is the one thing I hear consistently from property management business owners about what is distracting, getting in their way, or preventing them from working ON the business? It is lack of time and too much to do. I coach my clients to “keep it simple” and to ask themselves when they are feeling overwhelmed, “how can I make this easier?” Easy doesn’t mean you are slacking off. It means you have found a way to accomplish the task without it hijacking your resources, namely your time and energy. So how can we make it easy?
1. Fiercely Control Your Time
You are the boss don’t let others control your time. One of the benefits of being the boss is that you get to call the shots, set the course and lead. You make the rules.
2. Streamline with Tech
If you are a baby boomer like me tech is something we have learned to use while younger generations have grown up with it and it is simply an extension of how they live. Use all the amazing tech out there to streamline how you do business. I realize that at times there is so much tech that it gets overwhelming. Take it one step at a time. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Ask others what they use, the pros and cons. If the learning curve is too steep, or it is just something you hate, or really don’t want to learn at this stage of your life, then get people on your team that love tech and know how to use it quickly and effectively. That is making things easier for you. Find others to help you. You don’t have to do it alone or have all the answers. You just need to know where to find the answers and get help.
3. Keep It Real
Using tech to streamline operations, marketing, accounting, and pretty much everything else we do in property management doesn’t mean hiding behind the tech. Property management is a people business and the better you are at cultivating relationships and communicating with clients, tenants, vendors, and your staff the more successful you will become. Many are jumping on the virtual assistant bandwagon thinking their business will be on autopilot overnight; it is a rude awakening when things implode. The best system is to allow technology to do the heavy lifting, the repetitive work in property management which frees you to nurture relationships, oversee (not micromanage) the workflow and to chart the future of the business. You move from being the technician (hands-on person) to the visionary, the CEO of the business which is more creative, and mind work than physical work.
4. Review Quarterly
Technology changes in the blink of an eye. Evaluate quarterly what is working, not working, and needs tweaking. Ask staff for their opinion since they are probably the daily users of the technology. Implement changes if necessary. Just because you have done things a certain way doesn’t mean you should continue doing it.
5. Accept Change
Accept change and embrace it. I think back to when I started in property management, I had a flip phone and a binder with spreadsheets that were attached to me 24/7. Now there is software for every aspect of property management from accounting to leasing to maintenance. The advent of technology allows you, as a professional, to provide better service, stay relevant, manage more properties efficiently, and to be more profitable.
Technology is here to stay, and it will continue to change the way you do business. Today the modern property management office may be all remote. There are zoom meetings, video tours, online applications and rent payments, electronic signatures, along with outsourcing aspects of the property management cycle such as maintenance. However, property management and the growth of your business is still reliant on how well you cultivate and maintain relationships. Use technology to become more efficient but don’t let it become a barrier to building relationships with your clients. Today more than ever people want to feel heard, connected to their community and their support system. Trust is built and sustained when you can connect, communicate, and serve your clients. Implement tech throughout your business to elevate your customer service and you will have a winning plan for growth.