It’s that time of year again – the beginning of a new year and the perfect time to make new business and marketing goals. 2019 can be a fresh start for you and your team to improve your residential community, increase your revenue and strengthen relationships with your residents. As all property managers know, New Year’s resolutions are easy to make but a bit harder to keep. Part of the problem is that most people don’t have a sustainable plan when it comes to setting achievable goals. So this year, when setting your business and marketing goals make sure that they are S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. This simple acronym will help you frame your goals in a way that makes them achievable. By giving yourself a framework for your business goals you are sure to have a successful 2019. If you’re not sure what your goals are this year, we have a few suggestions to help get you started.

Manage Your Maintenance

Regardless of whether your residential community is large or small, every property manager is well acquainted with the never-ending deluge of maintenance requests. Maintenance is the one area of property management that can quickly become unmanageable. Without a solid scheduling  system it is easy to miss a maintenance issue which could result in a more costly repair and unhappy residents. This could be coupled with a technological goal as well – to incorporate a new technology into your day to day business operations. We know that some people like the old brick and mortar ways of doing business. But we encourage you to let technology make your life easier and your residents happier by giving one new technology a try in 2019. A new maintenance scheduling system is the perfect place to start.

Connect With Your Vendors

Of all the tasks that fall on a property manager, reevaluating vendor relationships is likely the one task that gets overlooked. With all the day-to-day happenings that can happen in a residential community, seeing the big picture of your business can get difficult. However, it’s crucial to examine your business relationships to determine whether or not there might be a better option for your business. As things come up, it is easy to forget about or overlook small problems with vendors or less than stellar service. Often times, we maintain business relationships simply because it’s what you’ve always done and it’s just the familiar way to handle a problem. Think back over the past year and the times you’ve had to contact one of your vendors. Did they respond in a timely manner? Was the matter resolved efficiently and satisfactorily? If the answer is no to any of these questions, then take some time locate make contact with other vendors in the area that may be able to help you streamline your business processes. Yearly contact with your vendors also keeps the relationships fresh and helps you to be sure that they are still in business and that their services remain the same. This way, you won’t be left hanging when an emergency comes up and the vendor you thought you had is no longer in business.

Find and Keep Your Best Residents

How do most prospective residents hear about you? If you’re not tracking this data, 2019 is the time to start. Tracking this data will give you the knowledge to maximize your bottom  line as well as help you streamline your marketing practices. Likely, many prospective residents come to you through various forms of social media. Make it a goal in 2019 to effectively utilize social media to bring in perspective residents. This is also a good time to evaluate the screening process you use when going over potential resident applications. Does your process ensure that the residents are the best match for your residential community? Remember, keep your goals S.M.A.R.T. Some ways to do this are to make smaller goals such as being sure to respond to every lead within 24 hours. Be sure to follow up with every tour you give with a phone call, email or note. When meeting with either current or prospective residents turn off your computer monitor to focus your attention on the people you’re meeting with. Small gestures such as these go a long way in finding and keeping your best residents.

Focus on Communication

Communication really is the cornerstone of any effective business model. Not only is communication between you and your residents essential but also between you and your staff. This could be another opportunity for you to integrate a new technology. Consider creating a resident portal where they can pay rent, get updates, send maintenance requests and communicate with you all from the convenience of their computer or smart phone. Check in with your staff monthly too. Brief, monthly meetings can help your staff feel connected to the bigger picture as well as deal with issues as they arise instead of waiting until they explode.

These are just a few suggestions we have to make 2019 your best year yet. By no means is this an exhaustive list. All residential communities are unique and have their own needs. Keep this in mind as you set your 2019 business goals.