As I reflect on 2013 and look forward to another year as a real estate investor, there are many things I’m proud to have accomplished, but many more areas that need improvement. As an entrepreneur, it’s hard not to constantly wrestle with the need to improve. As my business continues to grow and adapt to a changing market, I’ve identified 5 areas of improvement that I’d like to focus on in 2014:
1. Utilize More Strategies for Finding Properties
With a continual decrease in the supply of available distressed properties, it’s become imperative for us to find new methods of finding investment properties. For a number of years, we’ve been able to acquire the majority of our properties via MLS, HUD and relationships with agents. It’s become increasingly clear that to maintain the volume and quality of investment properties that we want to buy, we need to be more creative with our acquisitions. From telemarketing to direct mail, one of my main goals in 2014 is to be extremely creative and aggressive in finding new sources of inventory.
2. Better Analytics
We are in the process of transitioning from a traditional bookkeeper to a controller for our business. Once a business reaches a certain level, bookkeeping becomes more than just figuring out tax liability. For us, we realize the need to truly analyze profitability in relation to the types of properties we buy. Not only this, but with the investment we are making in new acquisition models, it’s important to have a good handle on our corresponding return on investment (ROI). For us, 2014 is also going to be about better financial control and analysis.
3. Lower Money Costs
A penny saved is a penny earned. Every year that I’ve been in business, I’ve taken steps to reduce the cost of money …. and 2014 will be no exception. We bought and sold approx 125 homes in 2013. By lowering my borrowing costs by just a few percentage points, I can increase profitability by tens of thousands of dollars. By developing new borrowing relationships and negotiating new terms with existing lenders, 2014 can become more profitable simply by focusing some of my time and energy on this area.
4. Manage My Time More Effectively
I read a great quote recently: “In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.” – Robert A. Heinlein.
I know for myself this is absolutely true. It’s very easy to sit down at the computer in the morning and answer emails and phone calls all day without ever spending necessary time actually managing the direction of the business. One of my top priorities in 2014 is to be intentional about carving out time every day to tune out the daily distractions and instead focus on developing my team and the strategies we need to implement to grow and be successful in the coming years.
5. More Consistent Marketing
I recently had a conversation with a buddy of mine who is a very successful real estate investor and info marketer. With an email list of over 200,000 active subscribers, I asked him how he was able to be so successful as a marketer. His answer to me was “consistency.” A good marketer continues to engage his audience on a regular basis.
One of our shortfalls over the years has been the lack of consistent marketing to our investors. One of my resolutions in 2014 is going to be regular engagement and dynamic marketing in an effort to solidify our investor base.