It can be hard for us to change when we get comfortable where we are at. This article will examine how we can evaluate our business and make changes for the better. See the difficult ‘goodbyes’ we’ve been putting off, that once taken care of lead to a rewarding new ‘hello’.
What do we say goodbye to?
I know, this may sound crazy, but it can be very impactful for your business. This doesn’t need to be because they are bad or difficult clients. For example, when I first started my property management company, I had properties way up in the Santa Cruz Mountains and some way down in Monterey. My service area was about an hour in each direction. I got tired of wasting my time driving so I evaluated my portfolio and closed all my clients that were more than 30 minutes’ drive from my office. You should be looking at your portfolio (of clients and properties) every year and rebalancing it.
Remember, these don’t need to be clients that you don’t get along with; however, if you have clients that are making your life difficult, ask your staff: “Who should we let go?” I’m sure if you ask your employees everyone will pick the same client or two. Now, I can already hear you saying “but I can’t afford to let them go.” I’m going to tell you that you can’t afford to keep them! They are gobbling up your time and won’t appreciate the value of what you are doing for them.
Let. Them. Go. But, don’t just cut them loose. Close them out like a professional: “Look I’m not a good fit for you. Let me refer you to someone that will be a better fit.” In the end, this will be a positive change for you and your client. Time and time again, the minute I let go of these time-sucking clients, the next phone call was from my ideal client. And this happened again and again and again when I tried it. Your energy changes for the positive and people can feel it.
If you truly can’t afford to let them go because they have too many properties: add up the revenue from all these properties and start searching for new clients and properties. Once the new revenue matches the revenue from that client, then you can afford to close them out.
Vendors or Employees
The first cleaner I worked with was phenomenal at cleaning but was terrible at managing the operations of the business. At a certain point I was doing his invoices just so I could get him off my books. Save your time and energy and work with vendors that work for you.
I’ve had the same thing happen with employees. At one time they were great, but as the company moves forward and grows or shifts, they might not be a good fit for the company anymore. Keeping them on your staff isn’t doing you or them any favors. If you are a good leader you want your people to be successful and if they aren’t succeeding, then bad on you for holding them back.
Current Business Model
Raise your prices and introduce new services. Sometimes you get stuck with what you have always been doing. I can hear many of you saying “If I raise my prices my clients will leave.” That is false and a limiting belief! If you raise your price 0.5% and an owner left, I would open the door and allow them to leave— they don’t value you. I’ve coached clients that haven’t raised their prices in 30 years and are still afraid to. We raised their prices and no clients left. Prices of everything goes up, at least adjust for inflation periodically.
“I’m Too Busy”
When I hear this, I think: you need to simplify your business and processes. Look at your forms and procedures and make them more efficient where needed.
Use time blocking throughout the day to become more efficient. Evaluate what you do throughout the day and how you manage your time. We often feel busy, but we do lots of ‘busy work’ so evaluate your day and find ‘busy work’ you can eliminate.
If you say goodbye to complaints, you are saying hello to solutions. As a manager, when you are in the office with your door open, it can feel like none of your employees can make a decision on their own. You are constantly being interrupted by questions and problems. Train your employees to present a solution (or a few possible solutions) with their question instead of just asking for your decision. This will teach them to think for themselves and in the end allows both you and your employee to get more work done.
If you are the manager and someone presents you with a problem, don’t be in a rush to handle it or give them the quick answer. Throw it back at them and say, “well, what do you think?” Wait for a response even if it takes a few minutes. If they don’t know or aren’t on the right track, gently steer them in the right direction, but allow them to do the thinking themselves. This makes them learn the why behind the how and can eliminate many of these nagging questions.
When your employees can start to answer their own questions it not only gives them confidence, but it saves you time.
This is a waste of time and energy. Don’t start pointing fingers when there is a problem. When something goes wrong, it is a wonderful opportunity to fix something and make it better.
Trying to Please Everyone
I used to care what people thought and now I just don’t care. Obviously, you want to serve your clients with quality care but don’t focus on being a people pleaser. It’s difficult trying to please everyone because you work extra hard to please them and then begin to resent them when they don’t value your effort.
When you are running your own business, it can be tempting to work crazy hours and feel that you need be reachable 24/7. Say goodbye to unreasonable expectations like being reachable by phone at 10pm. Set clear and realistic expectations with your clients. We used to show properties every day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday. After a while I got tired of working on the weekends. We decided to change our listings to “Showing Properties by Appointment Only” and just had no appointments available on the weekend. If they really needed a weekend appointment, I’d get an employee to do it and comp them extra time off. Today there is technology and keyless entry systems. Use what is available to support you and your business.
By saying ‘goodbye’ to old ways of doing business, and limiting beliefs, you open your mind, portfolio, and business to endless new ‘hellos’ that will not only improve your life, but your business.
Kathleen Richards, is the owner of PM Made Easy and The Property Management Coach. With her 13 years as a broker/owner of a property management company she speaks from experience. Kathleen authored, Property Management A-Z and teaches regularly at community colleges and conferences on property management topics. She is active in her field and holds professional designations as Master Property Manager (MPM®) and Residential Management Professional (RMP®) and her company held the coveted, Certified Residential Management Company (CRMC®) designation from NARPM®. She is currently a National Instructor for NARPM® and is honored to be sharing best practices with other NARPM® professionals. Kathleen has served at the local and state level on the boards for NARPM® (National Association of Residential Property Managers)