Over the last eight years, we’ve helped more than 500 property management companies grow their business by helping them develop a sound and effective marketing strategy.
We’ve also been busy growing Fourandhalf.
Once we hit around $2 million in revenue, the systems we had in place ceased to meet the demands of our clients and our business. Our initial instinct was to throw people at problems. Things began to spiral, and we realized we needed to do something that would protect what we had worked so hard to grow and to help us scale for the future.
We got lucky and found EOS, which stands for Entrepreneurial Operating System. This was popularized by a book written by Gino Wickman called Traction. After implementing EOS, we have a quality control and a scalability we only dreamt of a year ago.
Today’s guest on The Property Management Show podcast is an EOS implementer. He’s also a successful property manager and is the CEO of Gulf Coast Property Management.
Andy Moore is here to help us define EOS and talk about what it solves.
Hitting the Ceiling – Solving Growing Pains with EOS
Growing companies will eventually hit a wall (or a ceiling, as EOS calls it). The systems you create in the beginning don’t necessary translate as your business scales. When you hit a wall, you tend to do what Fourandhalf did. You throw people or you throw money at the problem, and you expect immediate solutions. That’s easy for companies to do. The EOS system can provide clarity and a roadmap for implementation. Instead of looking for a quick fix, you get an idea of where you are and where you’re going. And, your entire team is on the same page.
Whether you hire an implementer like Andy or you decide to self-implement, the EOS can help you organize and systemize your company for the future. Andy works with companies to deploy this system and provide support as changes are made. He wants the companies he works with to become self-sufficient as soon as possible. It’s not meant to be a lifetime commitment.
Some companies self-implement if they have the right structure and the ideal personalities in place. Others have a lot of help. It can work either way, and if you want to fulfill the vision of your company with the help of EOS, have someone take a look at your organization and help you establish whether you’re capable of taking this on.
This is a necessity for property management companies in particular.
Because not all property management businesses realize that they’re a business. This is a huge mind shift for a lot of property management company owners.
Work Chart Definitions: Visionaries and Integrators
Andy and Alex are both filling the visionary role in their respective organizations. That’s not as lofty as it sounds, according to Andy, It’s more an admission that he doesn’t follow through with everything. He likes ideas. He likes coming up with new ideas, but then he gets bored with the implementation process, and he starts looking for newer ideas.
Does that sound like you?
Companies need a ying and a yang. They need one strong leader to bring the ideas, and they need one strong leader to be a perfect integrator of those ideas. Your integrator is process-driven and thinks in black and white terms. If you are the person bringing in new ideas, you also need someone who can take those ideas and put them into place while keeping all the other trains running.
That’s the main difference between a visionary and an integrator.
Identifying the integrator should be easy. In Andy’s case, he began working with Jodi about 10 years ago and because they were a small business, she got to sit in a lot of seats. She understands the business from the ground up, and she has an attention to detail that would drive a visionary like Andy insane. She loves data and she loves processes. A person who values the workflow and the detail of every system would make a perfect integrator.
Building and Managing for Visionaries and Integrators
Your property management business has two distinct cycles. There’s building and managing.
- Building looks like market research, idea validation, team building, beta sales, developing a sales process, and launching some marketing.
- Managing looks like operations. There’s the optimization of product delivery, HR strategy, finance, and a lot of product management. Visionaries may not embrace systems the way integrators do, but they are responsible for the direction of the organization.
Decide which one you are and which one your property management company needs.
The visionary has big ideas and wants to drive the culture and direction of the company. Visionaries are typically the owners. Your integrator helps you support that culture and direction.
Consider reading Rocket Fuel because it’s part of this process. The story is a fable about an integrator and a visionary. There, you can see the dynamic between the two. You can see the distinct differences.
Think about your leadership meetings. Are they on track or can they improve? Is there a lot of arguing and talking without anything actually getting done? Or, does each meeting have a clear and disciplined path with both big ideas and action items? EOS keeps visionaries disciplined.
If you identify as a visionary, you cannot just walk into a leadership meeting and say hey we have a new product. We’re going to sell fur coats and everyone has to focus on fur coats. The team would then go crazy and everyone’s working on fur coats and then the next day, the visionary comes in and says forget fur coats, we’re only selling jeans.
This creates chaos and frustration, not growth.
Visionaries tend to do this to their teams. The EOS is a roadmap. There are scorecards and accountability. There’s a clarity in meetings and a direct division of roles.
Where Does Sales and Marketing Fit In?
There might be some push and pull about who should be responsible for sales and marketing: the visionary or the integrator.
For Andy, the sales and marketing is with him. If the responsibilities stay with the integrator, it might create some discord simply because there’s not an immediate return on a marketing investment. An integrator is going to need to measure results and see some tangible win before wanting to invest in a marketing goal or a sales plan.
That’s what they should do.
But, sales and marketing requires vision. It requires creativity and experimentation, which doesn’t always fall into the expert wheelhouse of integrators.
Decide who will be responsible for this function, and hold that person accountable. If it looks like things aren’t working with the visionary or the integrator in charge of sales and marketing, make an adjustment.
One of the principles of the E Myth, a book by Michael Gerber, is that you have to assign every function in your organization to a person. This is true even if you’re a one-person company. If you are your sole employee, you’ll need to be the janitor and the accountant. You’ll need to put your name in every box on the accountability chart. As your company grows, you’ll start replacing your name with other names.
Typically, you’ll hire for what you’re not good at. Visionaries won’t hire another visionary. You want to hire what you need, and you build your empire to the size you want it to be. You hire better people than you to fulfill those roles in your organization.
EOS and Property Management: Why it Works
At the PM Grow Summit in April, Andy will talk about EOS and why it works especially well for property management companies. He’ll also lead an expert panel on the subject, and give you the opportunity to decide if this is something that sounds good for your organization. He’ll even give you some shortcuts that can help you prevent things from falling apart.
Property management is aggressively complex. The competitive pressures are intense, and probably driving much of the industry’s willingness to embrace EOS. Gulf Coast Property Management and the top-tier property management firms like it are providing a certain level of service. Every owner and investor out there is expecting that same high level of service no matter where they are.
We’re setting the bar higher in property management, and companies are responding. There are still 70 percent of rental properties being self-managed. That’s a ridiculous statistic, and we are slowly changing it.
In addition to competitive forces driving property managers towards solutions like EOS, there’s also a generational shift. Sons and daughters are taking over businesses from their mothers and fathers. They want to innovate and do new things.
As this industry becomes more professionalized, companies realize that they want to work with the best in breed, whether it’s an accounting professional or a business development manager. They want the top leasing agents and extremely good maintenance. Customer service experts are managing tenants and owners better than property managers. You cannot be everything to everyone. Use EOS to develop your team and build your business. Then, you’ll grow.
Property managers weren’t doing any of this 10 years ago. But, you’re doing it now, and you’re only going to get better.
Increased Opportunity: Growing the Value of Your Business
Another benefit to EOS is that it increases the valuation of your company. Your first 150 properties might be easy to earn and manage. Soon, you’ll want to grow and you’ll not only want to grow by number of doors, but by different types of revenue. Andy’s company isn’t only doing property management. They’re caring for vacation rentals and handling maintenance and sales. They’re becoming more valuable to their customers.
This increases your company’s value. You can exit the industry in five years. Or, you can stay in it and keep growing with continuous innovation.
Come to the PM Grow Summit where the best property managers learn and network. You’ll meet Andy there and ask him any questions you want. In the meantime, find him on gulfcoast.com or sixkeycoaching.com.
At Fourandhalf, we’re here to help our customers get scalable. We want to help you see the value in marketing and to find something that works for you, whether it’s EOS or another program.
Contact us at Fourandhalf if you have any questions or thoughts about today’s podcast.