Property Management is a difficult business to thrive in because there are so many moving parts and different clients to serve from the property owner to the tenant to the vendors that support you. The very first NARPM (National Association of Residential Property Managers) local chapter monthly meeting I attended there was a heated debate amongst some of the property management business owners around the correct way to do something.

I realized then and it has proven itself to be true over the last 15 years that if you ask 100 property managers how to do something you will get 100 answers. It means there are 100 ways to be successful. It also means that property managers are very opinionated and often think their way is the ONLY way. Since we will be gathered around the table in a few weeks to give thanks and enjoy comfort food of the holiday which for many is turkey I want to emphasis the importance of giving thanks versus being a turkey. I hope the following tips will guide you through this holiday season.

  1. Be Open

The definition of being a turkey is being a know-it-all or jerk. No one likes a know-it-all. Be open to learning. Be open to exploration. Be open to trying new things even if just for a week. Change is all around us and if we are so tied to our way of doings things or our opinion we will get left behind.

It is important to know what you want for your business and have goals to get there but being open means you are willing to take input and willing to listen. Be willing to change when it is necessary. Give thanks for the opportunity to learn something new and to be able to offer something new to your clients.

  1. Ask & Give

You don’t have to have all the answers. You just need to ask for ideas, ask for help. A great way to get a feel for what other’s think about how you do business is to conduct a survey. A survey should elicit answers that will help you improve your business. A survey of your property owners, tenants and vendors is a great way to get honest, anonymous, feedback about what is working and where improvements can be made.

I heard a great saying recently that if you don’t open your mouth, you won’t get fed. You must ask for business. Ask for what you need. Seek out team members that aren’t just yes people but are strong enough in character to be able to be honest in their feedback without worry that they will be fired or reprimanded.

Give credit to others who make an impact through initiating an idea and carrying out the plan. Put your trust in your team and they will deliver for you and the business. Give praise and recognition to team members and vendors who without, you wouldn’t have a business. Everyone wants to know they make a difference and are part of the success of the business. Give back to your community by sharing your gifts and being humble.

  1. Act

The Japanese have a great saying, the empty can makes the most noise. Often people who are turkeys are people who don’t invest in themselves, or their team. They think they know-it-all or have it’s my way or the highway attitude.

Action can be scary especially if you are unsure of what steps to take. Being a business owner takes a lot of courage. The best way to act is in small steps if the leaps seem too great. Try it on for size meaning give the new idea a one-week trial then evaluate. Remember, you aren’t making a lifetime commitment. You are trying something out and then will survey the results to see if you want to incorporate the idea into your business on a permanent basis.

Stay educated by attending webinars, conferences, monthly property management meetings and network with colleagues. Everyone I know who attends conferences say the best part is outside of the workshops. It is after hours networking and face to face conversations that help them grow the most. Surround yourself with success-oriented property managers and business owners that you respect so that you can learn from them. One day you will be passing on the wisdom to the next generation or they will be passing to you their new way of doing something. It is the interchange that is so rewarding.

Just like gathering around the table on Thanksgiving to share, laugh, and be together there is much to be thankful for in property management. It is a field that allows us to serve. To provide a return on investment for our property owners, to provide quality housing for tenants and to provide work to our vendors and great team members whether they are local or remote. Our industry is about staying ahead of the problems and lawsuits by sharing best practices, being open to learning, asking for help and giving praise to those along the way that make us better businesspeople and property managers.

I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with joy, gratitude, good food and fellowship.