If there is one thing we can say about 2016, it was a helluva ride. On top of a highly charged political season, 2016 saw big and small changes all over the world. In 2016 we published over 100 blog posts to for community association management professionals. Our topics ran the gamut from alternative revenues to the latest trends to finding new ways to take back our profession and so much more. As the new year begins, we take a look back at the most influential articles of 2016. Did you catch all ten?
Your certification demonstrates to board members and homeowners that you know what you're talking about when it comes to community association management. It's so important, that a number of states have now enacted laws that require certification for managers. Rather than just talking about it, this article walks you through one woman's journey (okay, mine) to achieving the CMCA.
Checking Your Org Chart
Industry organizations regularly release statistics on salaries, community satisfaction, and other statistics. However, when we started researching the Management Companies that manage those communities, we were shocked at how little information was known about what those companies actually looked like. How many employees? Who does what? What divisions have they added? That information simply wasn't available. So we asked. And many of you answered. The resulting report was an important resource to help management companies compare themselves to their counterparts all over the country.
Feeling like you just can't get no respect? It probably wouldn't surprise you to learn that the average new community manager burns out within 18 months of starting the job. If you're still in it after that, you're part superhero, and part masochist. But it is possible to get to the point where you can actually go home at the end of the day and feel fulfilled and still have enough energy to spend with your family. And you don't have to change jobs to get there...
Making More Money
Is your management company living on the financial edge? Are you tired of never quite making enough to do the things you want to do for your employees, for your clients, for your business? You could grow your portfolio, but unless you overload your managers, new clients mean you'll need to hire new people, which puts you right into the same state again. Management fees alone are rarely enough when you account for competitive undercutting and penny-pinching boards trying to keep assessments low. You need to add additional streams of revenue. Here are some ideas that other management companies have successfully implemented.
Taking Back Professionalism
The management company relies on the manager to keep the board happy. To not make waves or rock the boat. This can create a new kind of conflict of interest, one in which the manager is afraid to perform her duties as a professional manager when it may anger the board. (How can you advise the board that they are going down the wrong path, or that they are in breach of their fiduciary responsibility when you are afraid your job will be on the line?) Too many managers have given in, abandoned their professional standards, and simply become order takers for the board.
Preventing a Breach of Trust
Just as you trust the board to exercise their fiduciary duty and self-police when they have a conflict of interest, your professional code of ethics as a CAM manager requires you to do the same. That doesn't mean that you cannot do what is needed to help your business succeed. It's not wrong for a management company to have a landscaping service. What's wrong is leveraging your insider information to win bids and earn business. It is possible to marry your management division with your service provision.
Dealing With Decision Paralysis
Boards are notorious for experiencing decision paralysis. This seeming inability to make a decision on even simple issues causes agenda items from meetings to show up month after month without being resolved. Simple decisions can be discussed to death, buried, resurrected and discussed to death again. Learn what you can do to help the board make informed decisions faster so that the meeting ends earlier and the community runs more smoothly.
Mapping Your Buyer's Journey
We live in a different world today than even just one decade ago. When it comes to growing your management company, you can no longer rely exclusively on word of mouth or having a company name that starts with AAA so you're listed first in the Yellow Pages. Today, people complete over half of their research and education over the Internet prior to ever contacting an organization or purchasing services. If you want to be able to reach them, you need to meet your dream clients where they are in the decision making process.
Communicating Value to Residents
As a community management professional, you understand the value of belonging to a community association. Homeowners, however, are sometimes more aware of the rules and restrictions that community associations bring, rather than their benefits. So how can you communicate these benefits to residents?
Burning Out on Burnout
Think about the last time a new person started in your office who was new to the industry. You probably gave them a baptism by fire, right? ("Welcome to the company. Here's your desk. You have 16 messages from angry homeowners, the lawn guy mulched all the succulents and you need to prepare financials for tonight's board meeting. Your computer password is on the sticky note under the keyboard. Good luck, I'll be back around lunch time!") How can we expect new community association managers to do well with such an introduction? At best, someone takes them under their wing and helps them muddle through until they 'get it'. At worst, they burn out in 6 months and swear off CAM management forever.
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