As 2015 begins to wind down, it’s time to think about what has gone well and what has not gone well for the year. My company has been a part of some really cool projects, some challenges, and some amazing acquisitions — and I’ve learned over and over how important it is to learn from each project and put the skills and knowledge into the next project or system.
I want to spend the most headspace and thinking time on what we did really well and how to continue doing or refining those things. And at the same time, I want to focus on what we could do differently or how we could use more time, skill, dollars and man power to be able to increase our capacity, skill and deals for 2016.
Something that has really changed our abilities this year is the growth of our team. We’ve added a full-time property manager and leasing assistant, as well as part-time assistants and an accountant, and we’re now growing our team of construction and crew guys. How the heck do you keep all these people busy? How do they know what to do? How do you keep the business operating well and in sync from one employee to another and from one job to another?
And my favorite question the past few weeks: Are we asking the right questions, and are we solving the right problems?
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Ask the Right Questions & Solve the Right Problems
When you are approaching your deals, structure, wants and needs, what questions are you asking? Are you asking questions that help lead toward your business goals?
Perhaps you need to find more deals. Or are you finding more deals than you can handle? Maybe they aren’t in the right parts of town that you want to be working in. When you begin asking those questions, they help lead you to solve the problems that are important.
For us, an issue we’re dealing with is how to handle the volume of projects and clients who want to work with us. This is a great problem to have. We could just as easily try to solve the problem of finding 2-3 great paint colors for exteriors (which I am still needing to think about), but this isn’t something we’ve spent headspace on during business meetings. We have several others already picked out that have worked just fine. Our current colors aren’t making or breaking our business deals. We don’t need to solve that today.
Another problem we’ve spent time on is with the increase in interest for our project and property management, how do we move through a project faster? How can we be more efficient on a job site? How can we streamline the kinds of products, our paint colors, the types of vanities or toilets we put in, etc.? Another problem we want to take on is how do we make a better rental house that is safer, more efficient, and has fewer issues that need to be dealt with on maintenance and capital expenditures?
These problems become the charge for us to get better! They become the charge for us to be able to handle more properties for more clients. They help grow our ability to handle more properties in our management company.
I LOVE great problems. Make sure you are working on solving great, big, fat, important problems — not little, tiny ones. It’s not that you don’t need to solve the small ones too, but we’ve found when we solve great, big problems, it naturally leads us to automatically solve the small ones.
Revisit Your Business Plan
If you don’t have a plan, how are you going to travel in the right direction? And furthermore, how are you going to delegate tasks and create cohesion for your team to tackle those goals?
Make sure that the plan is clear, the direction is lined up with laser focus, and that you have a few actionable items for each member of the team to be working toward. For a property manager, it might be keeping track of calls, listings and units booked — or it might be working on a larger or more robust social media campaign or project.
For your contractors or handymen, it might be to be more prepared as they arrive to a job — maybe to have materials already laid out and line items purchased and on-site for the start of the project.
Related: 5 Daily Habits to Help You Steadily Reach Your Entrepreneurial Goals
Celebrate the Wins Now
Wherever you are, whatever projects you’re working on or deals you’re doing, make sure you are celebrating (including your team) the wins you have and naming them. It might be a bonus for your top earners/producers, it might be beer and pizza for the guys on a job site or a card to tenants, team members, partners, private lenders, and title companies.
Celebrate now. Enjoy the lessons you’ve learned, implement actionable items to help with the coming year, and question and review your big problems.
Here’s to an awesome 2016!
What are YOU focusing on for a productive end to 2015 and start to 2016?
Let me know with a comment!