What does S.I.N. have to do with being an entrepreneur? This formula serves as the basis for all new and growing endeavors. You don’t even have to confess this Sin. Sin translates to Seek Wisdom, Implement, and Innovate. (The phonetic “innovate” is applied.)
One of the critical requirements is either having expertise in your chosen industry or acquiring it. When it was time to start Mountain Castles Property Management, I heard, “You can’t do that. That’s a dumb idea.” “You don’t know anything about property management.” True. If the expertise does not currently exist, acquire it. Even if some experience and knowledge are already present, acquire more.
It was time to read every current publication, attend Inc. conferences, attend University classes, and seek industry mentors. CDs transformed the car into a rolling university. Mastermind groups and Meetup groups added insight. Interviews with other property managers added additional perspective. The final research step before attending the Colorado Real Estate Institute to obtain my Real Estate Broker’s license was becoming an employee of a property management company to gain “on the job” experience.
Seeking general property management wisdom required several months.
Once the general knowledge was acquired, it was time to narrow the scope of the business. Focus and prioritize.
Competition probably exists in some form for your business as it did for mine. In this case there were numerous property management companies in the resort; however, they all focused on condominium complexes. One man managed non-rental, executive, single family homes. The initial target market was homeowners who chose to rent long term as well as the executive homes.
After interviewing real estate agents, homeowners, and potential renters, it was determined that a sufficient market existed who desired high quality management services. Potential renters were groups of young people working on the ski mountain and families who were moving in to the resort. It was decided to rent to the executive families who had chosen to rent for a year before purchasing a home.
The monthly management fees from the executive homes and the percentage of the long term rental fees would cover the monthly overhead. A determination was made about exactly how many homes were required to cover that monthly expense.
Once the knowledge, license, preliminary experience and market research were completed, it was time to launch. Knowledge without action is of reduced value; knowledge without implementation does not yield any income.
The business plan was written. A business name was selected and registered, a logo was created and business documents were created: business cards, stationery, brochures, and contracts. Launch time was at hand.
In order for the launch to become successful, it required obtaining property owners. Real Estate agents were contacted as referral sources, ads were placed, and personal contact marketing commenced.
Implementation involves growing pains. Procedures were tweaked, contracts were refined, and midnight maintenance calls transpired.
Implementation becomes a lengthy process requiring constant attention to detail. Despite the due diligence and attention to detail in the business plan, adjustments will occur.
Seek wisdom, implement, and begin innovation. Once the procedures and policies were well established, the time for innovation had arrived. Staying too long in one place is like a rocking chair. You are moving but not making forward progress.
Innovation is either significantly improving what already exists or adding new products or services. Mountain Castles addition was including vacation homes in the property management mix. This bold move required significantly more and different marketing, additional owners, and a wide variety of additional services.
Despite extensive market research to determine if a sufficient market existed for vacation home rentals; this was a much bigger step than originally anticipated. In ski slope terminology, “Go big or go home.” Mountain Castles stepped out on the slippery slope. Mountain Castles vacation home rentals commenced.
Challenges? Oh yes. No one locks themselves out between 8 and 5 Monday through Friday, it was always in the middle of the night. The record was four times in one night by the same man. Beverages were involved.
The key points are:
Seek wisdom from a wide variety of sources. Compile all of the knowledge and experience into a succinct business plan. Pay special attention to all licenses and government requirements. Narrow the focus to a specific target market.
Implement the business plan and review it frequently to be certain your progress stays on track. Make the necessary small adjustments to the plan.
Innovate when the initial format is solidly in place and both the timing and money are available to leap forward into the next phase.
S.I.N. is not bad when it means seek wisdom, implement, and innovate.
Elaine Love writes for PrintPlace.com, Small Business Examiner and Elaine4Success.com. Her expertise is in small business, marketing, mindset for business and speaking coaching. Her credentials include Masters Degrees in Communication, 35 years of entrepreneurial awards including “International Innovator of the Year,” World Class Speaking Coach, and author of 3 books.
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