Can a company have it all, whether large or small? Or is a company's size an impenetrable barrier to achieving important Association Management company ideals? Members of the CAI LinkedIn group recently exchanged some viewpoints on the advantages and disadvantages that usually favor large or small companies. While small and large companies may have inherent challenges, we suggest that all of the universal ideals that communities expect from a management company can be attained whether it is small or large. How?
Rather than accept the idea that company size is the reason ideals are not attained, we'll present some quotes from CAM Professionals to make a small case that it's people that make a company succeed or fall short. More specifically, an excellent team is the most important factor in keeping management company ideals.
We'll begin by looking at what some of these ideals are.
Ideals for Management Companies
Ideals are a collection of high standards and quality services that would make a company "perfect." The CAM professionals in the discussion group brought out a number of ideals specific to management companies. The ideals mentioned include:
- Being “hands-on” and responsive to needs of the community
- Providing personal service
- Keeping technology updated
- Low staff turnover
- Bargaining power
- Access to a team of expert resources
- Administrative, payroll, legal efficiencies
Most communities look for these ideals in a management company. While the ideals above are often associated with either a large or small sized company, an ideal company will make a continual effort to maintain and improve on them all.
Company Leaders Create the Environment
Many of the LinkedIn thread comments point out that the company leaders are ultimately responsible for satisfying clients and adding value to the company, regardless of company size.
One view on company leaders was that they should be available to individual owners. Should they go so far as to know clients by name, if they can? Mark Jones believes this helps:
[It] increases the value of the client to the company.”
Steve Roebuck countered with his view that company leaders do not need to interface with clients:
[The importance of upper management is to] create a good work environment, keep employees interested and motivated in their position, find ways to get the most out of resources, such as high end software while provided the employees best of industry equipment to get their jobs done."
Jeffrey Faria agrees that management directly affects service levels, more than company size:
The value of the client is subjective to the direction of those in charge of the company, not the size of the company."
"Those in charge, whether their organization is large or small, would be a detriment to the organization if they ignored customer service in today's customer-centric society."
The Team Keeps Customers Happy
Like love being the mother of all virtues, exemplary customer service is the foundation of an ideal management company.
Most would agree that the key to success in Association Management is relationships—doing what it takes to keep good relations between your company and your communities. If ideals are kept, any size company can have their place in the industry. Andrea Sorgani commented that while company size matters, people are what make the difference:
I strongly believe that the size of the company is not the primary reason for good or bad management. The standards, ethics and professionalism of the persons in charge and the managers and staff are what make a good or bad management company.”
Steve Roebuck emphasized that a company's success hinges on customer service:
If the bond between the manager and the community is broken, then company will fail. It HAS to be all about great service to the community FIRST."
It's a Business
While having the best staff and management who strive to reach high ideal is key to success, having them all does not guarantee success. Andrea Sorgani reminds us that Association Management is a business, and business decisions are made for varied reasons:
[Going with a large or small management company] is a business decision based on the specific needs and philosophy of operations a community holds.”
Small companies have different challenges than large companies, but by having good people in place, and with good decisions being made, any size company can fulfill the ideals which communities expect, leading to sustained successes.