“In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying, so get in motion and grow.” – Lou Holtz
Scary to think that is the reality, but isn’t it the truth?
It is really hard to stay stagnant in life. Take any area of your life. You are either growing in that area or dying in that area. When you ask most real estate investors about where they are, they would of course shake their heads “yes” when asked, “Do you want to grow?”
Although most of us would agree of the importance of growing, many of us (including me sometimes!) resist the idea of growing. There is a lot that comes along with growing, such as the requirement of being more effective at managing time, money, and people. Over the years, we have had some phenomenal partnerships, and we have also had horrible ones. Most partnerships (business relationships) work well due to the fact each party gets something out of the relationship (win-win). The reason that most partnerships don’t work well (and fail unfortunately) is that one person gets something and the other gets nothing. Resentment and frustration build up in these situations, and the individuals no longer want to work with one another. As real estate investors, we want to do everything we can to avoid these situations!
In this post, I wanted to share some examples of “win-win” partnerships that we have experienced in our business over the years. I hope these our examples will help spark some ideas for you as you grow your business!
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Landlord Apprentice Opportunity
We currently manage and own just about 90 units spread across various residential and commercial buildings. We have a property management team that consists of four people. One of the key roles of this team is the “Tenant Relations Manager.” This person is responsible for screening prospective tenants, coordinating maintenance issues, managing delinquencies, collecting back rents, and managing the lease process and renewals. We have had some transition in this role, which has caused us to think a bit differently about it. Last week, we were going to put a job ad marketing this role, etc.
And then we stopped ourselves in our own tracks.
My husband and I began to discuss all the possible ways to fill this position (besides the normal ways). Instead of filling this position with a person who is looking for a job, we discussed filling the position with someone who actually aspires to become a real estate investor. In that moment, we decided to create a win-win opportunity.
We created a two-page document explaining this Landlord Apprenticeship, and then got the word out to our network. Even in this overview document, we put the headings “What YOU Get” and What WE Get.” Our goal is to create a win-win situation. Our “win” is to have someone in that role who not only can do the job but wants to learn the ins and outs of landlording and real estate investment. Someone who is going to go above and beyond.
The individual we hire’s “win” will be getting the opportunity to gain experience managing a large portfolio and learning about the real estate investing world. In addition to the coaching and mentoring they will receive, they will go through a learning curriculum. We are excited to bring someone fresh onto team who wants to learn and add value. We have not hired anyone yet, but I am confident that this win-win approach will yield the best outcome for everyone.
Improving Your Property Without Your Own Money
We own and manage a commercial property in the heart of Trenton, NJ. The building is about 1o,000 SF and has about 15 small businesses that occupy various offices and utilize conference room space. A few years ago, one of our tenants came to us with an idea. He wanted to begin hosting seminars in the building. However, the space in the back of our building was not quite fit out for that use.
He came to us with a win-win solution—he agrees to fit out the space with AV equipment and smart board with his own resources, and in exchange he can use space whenever he wants at no cost. We win by having an improvement made to our building without our own money. And he wins by having the space he needs to grow his business.
Free College Intern
I am sure you are well aware that there are tons of college students who are always interested in working for little or no pay to learn the real “ins and outs” of business. Over the years, we have had four interns. Some have helped around the office, another helped increase our social media presence, and another helped get our rental application onto our website. We have always enjoyed having interns.
The key to creating a win-win situation with interns is to have a solid job description put together before they begin working with you. The last thing you want this intern to be is bored because you did not plan ahead of time. The key is to have the intern work on projects that help lighten your team’s load/your load. The win for them is that they learn from you and from your growing business. The win for you is to have more hands to help with various projects. The website that we use that I would highly recommend to find interns is www.internships.com.
Free Business Coaching
Early on when we bought the above mentioned commercial building in Trenton, NJ, we decided that in order to attract growing small businesses to rent space from us, it would be helpful to offer free business coaching to tenants and people in the community. Thus, we created a win-win partnership with SCORE, which stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives. It is now recognized as SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”
Regardless, it is a national nonprofit organization that provides free business mentoring services to entrepreneurs in the United States. We have partnered with them for many years. They are able to use our small conference room space when they have appointments in the area at no charge. In return, small business owners or entrepreneurs are always learning about our space by coming to our building. The other win is to serve the community. It is important that our building and what goes on in the building gives back in some way.
I hope that these four examples have provided you with some real life examples of creating win-win business partnerships and relationships. Remember, it is not about “money” all the time. In order to create effective and lasting win-win partnerships, it often has a lot more to do with the basic idea of meeting one another’s needs.
In closing, Steven Covey said it best: “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
Keep making the best decisions to help you create win-win partnerships as you grow and expand your business!
How have you created win-win relationships within your business?
Let us know your comments and ideas in the comments section below!