Today’s guest speaks Danish, is an adventurous wine-drinker, and has 29 years of experience within the tradeshow industry. He also happens to be the CEO of Fourandhalf and PM Grow Summit.

That’s right, it’s our very own John Bykowski!

John joins Marie and Brittany today on the Property Management Show podcast to discuss PM Grow Summit 2021, which will take place January 20th – 22nd. They talk about this year’s concept and theme for the Summit, the decision to go virtual for 2021, and why this virtual conference is unlike any other you’ve attended.

Lean forward, listen in, and get excited — we can’t wait to unveil what we’ve been planning.

What’s PM Grow Summit?

PM Grow Summit LogoPM Grow Summit is a property management conference designed from the beginning to focus on how property managers can run their business more effectively. NARPM is a great resource for getting the nuts and bolts of property management, but if you want to get exposed to the latest innovations and ideas on running and growing a business, you want to be at PM Grow. PM Grow brings in the best ideas for business growth from outside property management, and then teaches business owners, marketers and sales teams how to leverage those ideas within the industry.

In the first year of PM Grow, using video content in your marketing was a new and novel idea, so that became the focus of the conference that year. In later years, PM Grow tackled company structure and the importance of hiring a BDM for your business. PM Grow also helped put EOS into the mainstream within the property management industry.

For 2021, PM Grow’s theme is: Removing Barriers to Growth.

There’s been feedback from previous years that some property managers have trouble implementing all the ideas that they get from PM Grow. Learning the latest trends in the industry won’t help your business grow if you can’t implement them. Between this feedback and the obvious barriers to growth being presented from COVID-19 this year, “removing barriers to growth” felt like an extremely relevant and timely topic.

You may be wondering what some of these barriers are that will be covered at the conference? Here are our main Keynote Speakers:

  • Keynote Speaker – Greg Crabtree: Will speak about financial barriers to growth, with a Q&A to follow.
  • Keynote Speaker – Libby Gill: Will speak about how to overcome mindset as a barrier to growth and how you can lead people through change, challenge and chaos.
  • Keynote Speaker – Chuck Blakeman: Will speak about how to get off the treadmill and how to overcome time as a barrier to business growth and making money.

There will also be a variety of workshops you can attend to get more individualized attention and answers to your questions. Visit the website for more information.

To Go Virtual or Not to Go Virtual?

John says there isn’t a 100% satisfying replacement for in-person conferences. The energy, the hugs, the atmosphere: those things will never be replaced in a virtual platform.

But John still felt that PM Grow had value to offer property managers, especially in a world dramatically altered by COVID-19. The best way to overcome the hurdles that property managers are facing right now is for the industry to come together and share ideas with each other.

So, PM Grow was definitely happening. But with COVID cases rising and laws prohibiting large gatherings, an in-person conference was impossible.

A survey sent out to property managers had mixed reactions — the overwhelming majority wanted PM Grow to happen, but many were concerned about the health risks of an in-person event.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Virtual PM Grow Summit

All these factors meant that PM Grow had to go virtual. But there were several concerns about putting on a virtual conference. We’ll tackle them one by one.

Do I have to be on a screen for three full days?

A man looks outside his window while working on his laptopNope, you won’t be forced to be in front of a screen for three full days. The conference will have a mixture of on-demand content and live events, so that you have flexibility to juggle both the conference content and your day to day responsibilities.

We did this because we understand that screen fatigue is very real. You are free to log in to the virtual world outside conference hours to catch up on on-demand content you missed during the day. The recorded content will also be available to all attendees after the conference.

We want you to be able to maximize your time during conference hours engaging with other people, attending live sessions, and connecting with fellow property managers as well as vendors.

Is this amounting to a glorified Zoom meeting?

A woman working on a computer creates her online avatar in the virtual world of PM Grow Summit 2021Definitely not! When you log on to the online platform, you will create a personal avatar that you’ll control, and who will serve as your “virtual representative” as you walk the 3D world of the conference. You will see and be able to interact with other attendees’ avatars — shake hands, talk to people as you approach them, play games, ride speedboats with your friends, etc. John said it felt like playing a video game, in some respects!

When you want to talk to someone and see their actual face rather than their avatar, you’ll also have the ability to connect your camera to designated screens within the virtual world. Choose your own adventure so to speak!

One of my favorite parts of PM Grow is getting to network and hang out with people. Will I still be able to do that?

Two avatars in the digital world of PM Grow Summit 2021 having a conversationAbsolutely! This is one of our favorite parts of the platform. As your avatar wanders the conference, let’s say, the Exhibit Hall for example, you’ll pass by other attendees’ avatars. If they’re engaged in conversation, you’ll hear their audio get louder as you approach, and softer as you walk by them, just like in real life! You can even pause to listen in, and ask to join the conversation.

If you want to have a private conversation with someone, look for the blue halos circling groups of tables and chairs. When you step inside one of those blue halos, your conversation becomes private. No one walking by will be able to hear what you’re saying.

My computer isn’t built for fancy technology. Will I still be able to experience the conference?

Yes! You do not need to have a high-powered computer in order to attend the conference. However, we do recommend that you log in on a desktop computer or a laptop, rather than a tablet or cell phone. The virtual platform runs smoothest on a computer setting.

I’m not tech-savvy. Am I going to be overwhelmed by learning a new piece of technology?

A man looking at his laptop holds up a sign that says "Help"Not at all, because you’re in good hands. Staff from both Fourandhalf and from the virtual platform provider will be on-call during the conference in case you have any questions or concerns. When you first log on to the virtual space, you will be greeted by a staff member who is there to help you get familiar with the software and answer any questions.

We can say from experience that the software is extremely user-friendly and intuitive to use. If you’re comfortable using your keyboard arrows to move your avatar, you can do that. If not, you can use your mouse to walk around by clicking on where you want your avatar to go. There will also be a menu on the left which will allow you to instantly go to certain rooms/areas without having to walk all the way from point A to point B.

We’ll also be opening up the platform a little early before the conference begins, so that you have time to get acquainted with the software.

What happens if I miss an event?

A woman working on her laptop registers for PM Grow Summit 2021No biggie. If you miss one of the live events, it will be recorded and made available to you to watch on your own time once the conference is over.

Attending a conference from home will be difficult because I have kids / responsibilities I need to attend to. Is it worth it for me to attend if I can only be available for short periods of time?

Absolutely. You can tailor your experience of the conference to whatever your at-home needs are. Feel free to pick and choose the live events that you’re most interested in, tune in for those, and watch the recordings of the ones you missed. Or, if you want to use conference time to catch up with old friends or make new acquaintances, use the conference to expand your network. We want this to be as accessible to you as possible.

How much does it cost to attend the virtual PM Grow Summit 2021 conference?

The virtual PM Grow Summit 2021 is just $450 per person. That’s more than half off the regular in-person price! We’re so excited for the possibilities this opens up. Smaller property management companies that may not have been able to afford attending the in-person conference may be able to attend the virtual one. If you’re accustomed to sending just one or two members of your team, perhaps this is the year that the entire team is able to come, and reap the benefits of being in a room with like-minded entrepreneurs.

The cover of "Rehumanizing the Workplace" by Chuck Blakeman

As a bonus, we’re giving away free copies of Chuck Blakeman’s much-awaited book titled “Rehumanizing The Workplace By Giving Everybody Their Brain Back” to the first two hundred (200) people to register for our virtual property management conference.

How do I register for PM Grow Summit 2021?

Learn more and get tickets at

The Future of PM Grow Summit

Is PM Grow Summit going to be virtual forever? No, definitely not. We all miss in-person events, and just because our current circumstances have necessitated a virtual platform for this year’s event, doesn’t mean that PM Grow won’t be back in full swing sometime in the future.

So stay healthy, stay tuned, and get registered for PM Grow Summit 2021! The conference is January 20th through the 22nd.

We can’t wait to see you in our virtual world.

All-in-One Owner Marketing to Help You Thrive in 2021 (and beyond). Click to Get A Free Marketing Assessment.