The new year is upon us, and it brings with it a time of reflection and a resolve to do better in the coming year.
How close did you come to meeting the goals you set for yourself last year?
Hopefully, you had a great year. More likely, the months passed by too quickly and you didn't get done everything you had hoped to get done.
But now it's time to focus on the lessons learned, and how you will put them to use in the new year.
The CAM industry has enjoyed a more promising and healthy marketplace of late, compared to the dark days that followed the housing crisis. All signs point to continued economic improvement in the coming years. Your challenge will be to craft a strategy that takes advantage of new opportunities.
Here are 4 resolutions you can actually keep in the coming year to help you take advantage of the market changes and improve your business.
1. Change from the Inside Out
While the market for community associations is looking up, employment has not quite caught up to the growth yet, which means we are seeing more management companies competing for a somewhat static group of candidates. This can lead to higher turnover and manager burnout as your staff are being asked to do still more with still less. Don't let these issues linger, not even for a moment. They are the first steps on a slippery slope toward operational disruption and general instability.
Make this the year of employee engagement. Start a rewards and recognition program for all your employees to make them feel valued and prepared for the tasks at hand. There are many simple and affordable actions you can do that will make a big difference in the lives of your team. And happy, engaged employees go a long way to contributing to the health of your business.
2. Healer, Heal Thyself
As a CAM professional, you represent the industry to your team, boards and homeowners. Make a commitment this year to do something to improve your own education. Take the next step on your certification journey. Create an educational workshop or seminar and present it at a local industry event. Brush up on the laws and issues facing the industry. Become an expert witness. Attend industry events to expand your horizons.
By committing to improving your own education, you serve many purposes. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment that comes from completing something you set out to do. You'll lead by example - showing your colleagues and your clients that everyone has something more to learn. And you'll build out your resume, contributing to your future plans, whether it's starting your own business or becoming a consultant.
3. Automate and Streamline
The technology you use is as much a member of your team as your employees. With the right technology and processes in place, you can accomplish far more for your clients than you could by hand. And yet you are still putting off implementing automation and process streamlining that could save you time. Why? Because you don't have enough time.
It's time to poop or get off the pot.
Make it a point to understand how your policies and practices impact the everyday value of your business. Streamline your core practices from a strategic and policy standpoint, and you'll be able to ease some of the strains you experienced in the last 12 months.
If you are using software that is not tailored to the needs of the CAM industry, you should begin to do so now. If you have too many different, siloed pieces of software in place for various functions and requirements, you need to centralize. You already know the value of implementing these changes. You just need to make it happen.
4. Improve Client Relationships
Last but by no means least, you need to look at your client relationship management procedures and consider what you can do to make it better. With the improved industry outlook and increased competition, you simply can't afford not to nurture these relationships.
Do you have members that just don't understand, or are getting in the way of getting things done? Consider implementing more educational programs for board members and homeowners. Even if your state doesn't require training, informed members are worth their weight in gold.
Do a health check of your entire client base to make sure that you are best serving their needs and they are happy with your services. Do you have client communities that are just going with the flow? Show your appreciation through simple and sincere gestures. Do you have a toxic community that you just cannot seem to do right by? Fire the client. It will be better for both of you in the long run.
Make sure your clientele know that they're valued and you will be far less likely to struggle with the same issues you faced in the past 12 months.
Get A Move On.
These resolutions aren't difficult, or even new. You probably already thought of these things yourself. Maybe they were even in your SMART goals from last year. But resolving to do something and actually doing it are far from the same thing. If you want to be a better manager, a better employer, a better service provider, you have to follow through. So get up and get started. Time flies, and it will be 2017 in no time.
*Image credit: Ashley Nootenboom via Flickr