DGS 234: Starting Your Year in Property Management off Right with Strategic Planning

The property management industry tends to get busier during the Summer months and slow down as the holiday season begins. The colder months are the perfect time for property management entrepreneurs to work on their business instead of in it.

In this episode, property management growth experts Jason and Sarah Hull discuss how utilizing strategic planning strategies can start your year off right.

You’ll Learn

[01:22] Utilizing the beginning of the year

[05:11] Making a plan “to escape property management hell”

[11:12] Strategic time helps you grow the business

[17:42] Using this time to maintain relationships 


“Strategic time is what actually grows businesses.”

“As the world cools down, you should heat up.”

“If you lay the right foundation and you get really prepared during these cooler months, you can have an amazing growth season during this coming summer.”

“There’s nothing in the business that you have to do personally.”


DoorGrow and Scale Mastermind

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[00:00:00] Jason: If you lay the right foundation and you get really prepared during these cooler months, you can have an amazing growth season during this coming summer.  

[00:00:11] Welcome DoorGrowers to the DoorGrowShow. If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors, make a difference, increase revenue, help others, impact lives, and you’re interested in growing in business and life, and you’re open to doing things a bit differently, then you are a DoorGrower.

[00:00:28] DoorGrower property managers love the opportunities, daily variety, unique challenges, and freedom that property management brings. Many in real estate think you’re crazy for doing it. You think they’re crazy for not because you realize that property management is the ultimate, high trust gateway to real estate deals, relationships, and residual income.

[00:00:47] At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to transform property management business owners and their businesses. We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, build awareness, change perception, expand the market, and help the best property management entrepreneurs win. We are your hosts, property management, growth experts, Jason Hull, the founder and CEO of DoorGrow and Sarah Hull, the co owner and COO of DoorGrow. Now let’s get into the show. 

[00:01:15] All right. So we were talking beforehand, “what should we talk about on today’s podcast episode?” And what did we decide? 

[00:01:22] Sarah: We decided to talk about the beginning of the year. And getting a plan together. 

[00:01:28] Jason: Okay. So I’ve noticed over time doing this for over a decade, helping and supporting property managers, that property management ebbs and flows. It obviously heats up in the summer. You can even see this on Google trends. It’s funny. If you look at the history for property management as a keyword, every summer it spikes, and then it cools down in the winter, right? In search volume, even though it hasn’t grown really over the last decade.

[00:01:54] And so what tends to happen is property managers, business owners, they get really busy during the summer, things heat up, things feel a little bit crazy, and then it cools down, and things get quiet, a little bit quiet. And what I’ve noticed is then the business owners start focusing on their business.

[00:02:11] Then what happens is some holidays come, they’ve got Thanksgiving, they’ve got Christmas, and they start to get a little stir crazy… new years. And what I find is when business owners have idle time on their hands… what do you think they start doing? They start working on their businesses, right? 

[00:02:31] All of you crazy entrepreneurs. That’s what you start doing. You’re like, “I’m going to entrepreneur some more.” So you start working on your business even more. And so this is the time, this is the season. It’s November 28th at the time we’re recording this. And so we just had Thanksgiving and now we’re going into these cooler months and there’s going to be a slow down, less attention on, the property management stuff for a lot of you.

[00:02:57] And that means you can be a business owner and you can start focusing on your business. Use this time. This is the season. This is the time for you to sharpen the ax, to make the business better, to improve things so that you can tackle and grow in the summer. Summer’s the greatest time to be able to expand and grow your property management business.

[00:03:20] There’s a lot more turnover. A lot of owners are looking for additional help. They’re not wanting to do this stuff. And if you are prepared, if you lay the right foundation and you get really prepared during these cooler months, you can have an amazing growth season during this coming summer. 

[00:03:37] Sarah: So this is a really good time when things are slow and quiet and calm, this is a great time to start a new project. Summer not so much. Don’t be switching team members, if you can help it. Don’t be changing the business. Don’t be implementing new systems or “Hey, I’m going to change my property management software.” July is not a great time for that right now is a really great time for things like that. The projects that would rock the boat, as I call it in your business, this is a perfect time to do stuff like that.

[00:04:11] Jason: So let’s talk a little bit about planning, coming up with a plan. Because if you don’t have a plan to succeed and you don’t have a system that’s going to work for you, then you might blow this season and waste it. And you’re not going to have the growth or you’re not going to get out of the day to day stuff that you’ve been holding onto for the last year and the year before that.

[00:04:35] And so the goal of a business, to remind you, is to give you more freedom. It’s to give you more fulfillment. It’s to give you a sense of contribution. It’s to give you what you want and money helps with all those things, but you can make more money and have less of what I call the four reasons of fulfillment, freedom, contribution, and support. You should be feeling more supported in your business the bigger it gets. You should be feeling more of a sense of making a difference and contributing to others. You should feel more of these things. If you’re feeling less of these things and it’s becoming a grind and you’re getting burnt out, you’re doing it wrong.

[00:05:11] And so how do we make a plan to escape property management hell? 

[00:05:15] Sarah: The million dollar question, right? I think one of the things that we do really well is, this is all part of DoorGrow OS, which is our operating system. If you are interested in implementing that system, you do have access to it, whether you’re a mastermind client or not. You can see all of our softwares that we offer on our website.

[00:05:33] But the thing that really helps keep us on track is just our cadence. So we do our annual planning. We do quarterly planning. We do monthly planning. We do weekly commitments. And we do this all the time without fail. There’s never a point where we’re like, “Oh we just won’t do weekly planning today.”

[00:05:50] Never. We never do that. We always fit it in and this will help keep us moving forward. It will help keep us on track and it really sets the rhythm. And I will caution you against doing annual planning in January. Jason can talk a little bit more about that too. But if you just go into the new year, a lot of times, like this is just a fresh slate for us mentally because it starts a new, right? New Year’s Eve. It’s a new year. It’s a new time. We’re like, “okay, let’s just forget about the previous year and move on.” It’s a clean slate mentally. So even if you’re in the middle, like for us, this is technically the middle of our year. So January 1 is like quarter three for us.

[00:06:36] So it’s like the second half of the year, but still it’s like this mental refresh. So even though we’ve already done our annual planning in June and we’re now just in the second half of the same year fiscally we still get that reset and we might go, “okay, let’s just take a break, take a breath, regroup, and then let’s look at things again” and you know, “are we on track? Is there anything that we need to do differently? Are there things that we’re lacking? Are there things that we can change?” Because right now, being that it’s a slow season. Now oddly enough, it’s not a slow season for us. Because when you guys have a slow season, then we pick up a lot. But for you guys, it’s a great time to regroup and say, “okay, is there anything that we need to change that has been like a thorn in my side for a while? Let’s get a plan together, implement that plan and get it done now and really start that year off with a bang.” Cool. So why would someone not want to do their annual planning starting in December because everyone’s going, “what? Like that makes so much sense. It’s the beginning of the year.” 

[00:07:47] Jason: Yeah, I think, the biggest reason is, during this season where entrepreneurs like to focus more on their business, your team focus less on the business because it’s the end of the year. They’re focused on holidays and family. They’re thinking about like travel and like whether they’re going to have funds to pay for all the Christmas gifts and all the shopping they’ve got to do. It’s like they start another job. And so they’ve started this other job of family and travel and holidays and they’re not as productive a lot of times we’re not as effective or as efficient. And this then is where most businesses do their annual planning and try to hit their year end goals. And at the year end, we want to have a big push towards our goals. Property management naturally heats up, but in general this ebb and flow happens for every business.

[00:08:42] Things tend to cool down in the winter. And so what we want to do, what we do at DoorGrow and what we coach our clients to do is to offset by six months. And so we start our planning year on July 1st. And so that is the beginning of our first quarter for us in our planning year. And so if we do planning then in the summer, things are exciting.

[00:09:07] There’s like plenty of movement. We can do things, we can get things done. The team is energized. The team’s energized instead of checked out. They’ve got plenty of bandwidth. There’s no like significant holidays, like right in the middle of, June and July that they’re focused on. They might want to take some vacation time or like travel or something like this, but they’ve got the bandwidth.

[00:09:28] When it comes to Christmas and the holidays and thanksgiving and New Year’s and all of this time period for us is just the middle of the year. So it’s just a great time for us to as business owners to do a reset, take a look, “how are we doing towards our annual goals?”

[00:09:44] Are we making progress? What do we need to adjust? And so we’re just making adjustments. We’re not trying to like, get the team to finally hit some goal at the end of the year. 

[00:09:54] Sarah: “Hurry up! We still need 28 doors to get our goal, and we only have 32 days to do it.” The team is like, “I don’t care, man” At this point. It’s not that they’re completely done, but they’re tired.

[00:10:08] And the other thing that we have unfortunately, no control over is the weather. That’s a real thing. Like once the weather changes and things get a little colder and the days get shorter because for whatever reason we still do daylight savings time. Somebody seriously has to change that by the way, but it really has a physical effect on our bodies and we will just naturally start to slow down a little bit with the weather.

[00:10:36] Like animals, they go into hibernation. We’re mammals too. This is what mentally we start doing that a little bit. Now, It’d be great if we could just check out and hang out in a den for three months and come out in springtime But our minds do this especially right around the holidays because we kick it off with Thanksgiving, then we get into Christmas, then we get into New Year’s, the weather’s cold, the days are shorter, It’s the end of the year. Everyone’s tired This is not a great time of year to be like, “rally the troops guys! Go get them!” Not going to have great success there. 

[00:11:12] Jason: Yeah. And this is a good opportunity, when things cool down and your team are a little bit more focused on their personal lives and things are shifting, this gives you a lot of space and a lot of bandwidth to really focus on what you want.

[00:11:26] And so I would say is that as the world cools down, you should heat up. Like you should then step more into that strategic role of being a business owner instead of being an employee in your own business, which you’re doing at least half the time, probably, or more. Now you can get out of that daily tactical stuff a little bit more and start to focus on strategic. Strategic time is what actually grows businesses. Tactical work, emailing, calling, that’s not really what grows or moves companies forward. It just keeps them alive. But what helps is innovating, moving the business forward, planning, scheming. This is your time to be able to come up with a plan, come up with an idea. And if you don’t have a really solid plan, you don’t know how to 10X your growth over the previous year.

[00:12:14] Like you’re like, “that sounds impossible, Jason. I don’t have a clue. Like the last year before that, we’ve had maybe consistent growth. Maybe it’s even slowing down. We don’t know how to 10x it.” Then you need a better system and you don’t know what you don’t know. So you might want to reach out to us and maybe it’s that you just want to get out of the day to day. You’re like, you’re really starting to feel burnt out. Look at the future. Can you do this for another five years? Can you do this last year for another five years? You may have been doing this for five years already. 

[00:12:44] Sarah: Can we do groundhogs day again and again? 

[00:12:47] Jason: Yeah, and You know that probably feels like a grind if you’re not enjoying if you didn’t enjoy last year, if you weren’t like, “hey I love this. This is amazing,” Then you’re probably doing it wrong and it’s pretty wild to see how quickly we can shift clients’ businesses to restructure their business around them and allow them to have more freedom and more fulfillment and more contribution and more support and help them get a better team, help them get better systems, and then they’re enjoying their life.

[00:13:17] There’s nothing in the business that you have to do personally. There’s nothing that you have to hold on to. We can build this business around you and you just hold on to the pieces that you really enjoy or that you really love, or they give you momentum. And very few of you really, if you could just do nothing would really enjoy that.

[00:13:36] You might be telling yourself that right now, because you’re burnt out, but what I find is once clients are in alignment with the things that they actually enjoy doing, then they no longer hate their business and they start to enjoy it and it becomes a source of life for them. That’s fulfillment. And that’s what freedom feels like.

[00:13:56] And then they want to benefit others, and that’s contribution. They want to start contributing to their team. They want to make everybody’s life better. And what you’ll find is if you get in proper alignment, then you can build the right team around you, but you can’t build the right team around the wrong person, and you’ve probably been showing up as the wrong person for a while now.

[00:14:16] And it’s time to shift that, and it’s very doable. We have a process for how to do this. We have clients do a time study. We figure out which things energize and drain them. We then take all the things that drain them that are very tactical, and we create new job descriptions for new hires for this, or we give these things to existing team members.

[00:14:35] And then we create a plan to get the business moving forward, either related to growth or related to systems, so that the business becomes scalable. And then, You start to see there’s light at the end of the tunnel and business can become really fun. It was fun when you started it. It was exciting. It was new.

[00:14:53] You had belief in what you were doing. We want to get you back to that. 

[00:14:57] Sarah: Yeah, for sure. So if you’re feeling the stress and the overwhelm, then you’re holding on to things that you probably shouldn’t be doing at this point. We have one client who just, he still won’t do it. He knows what he needs to do, but it’s so painful for him to do. And he’s “I can’t fire my team. Can’t do it.” When he does make that leap, I’m telling you, it’s going to be night and day for him. But when you have the right things on your plate and when you have the right people surrounding you in the business, and they’re on board with helping you like move the business’s mission forward, not just “Hey, I’m clocking in and I’m here to do a job.”

[00:15:35] Everything is different and everything is easy, which is crazy to think in property management that it can actually be easy, but it can, as long as you’re building things the right way. 

[00:15:46] Jason: Yeah. A lot of property managers see the pain and the challenge that they have right now. And maybe you have a hundred doors and you’re like, “this is tough.”

[00:15:53] Or maybe you have 200 doors, like, “this is tough.” And so what ends up happening in the back of their mind, they see “if I had another 100 doors or another 200, or I doubled the size of my business, it would be worse. It would be harder.” But if you do it the right way, it actually gets a lot easier.

[00:16:10] In fact, the bigger you get, the easier it can get if you do it the right way. Because you can get better and better team members. You have more resources. You can get better and better tools, right? You have more and more leverage if you do it the right way. And property management can be death by a thousand cuts, especially if you have a thousand doors, or it can be a really great systemizable business that you don’t have to be super involved in the day to day, if you’re the business owner, especially the larger you get.

[00:16:40] And this can happen at any stage. At any stage, you can be miserable or you can be enjoying yourself. And we want to make sure that we get you towards enjoying yourself, because what you’ll find is when you are in alignment with the four reasons, your team members then have a chance of doing it, and it’ll be a lot easier to help them get in alignment with the four reasons.

[00:16:59] And then you’ll probably get two to three times the output from those team members. Because they’ll be on fire, they’ll be excited, they’ll be in momentum, they’ll have a sense of fulfillment and freedom and contribution and they’ll feel supported. And you will get a lot more out of those team members than you do out of the ones that are just grinding every day.

[00:17:20] So right now is the time, it’s time to make a plan. And if you need some help making a plan or you need a really good system or your current plan is to do whatever you did last year or just wing it, then that’s not a great plan. So you need a better plan and we can help you come up with a better plan here at DoorGrow.

[00:17:38] So anything else we should say about this season? I don’t think so. So I think this is also an opportunity to check in with your owners, reconnect with your clients as you move through this season, since things have cooled down a bit, this is a time that you can re establish the connection and in those relationships to increase the lifetime value of your clientele and to decrease churn and so this is as things cool down, as things are a little quieter, feel free to show some care and leverage the holidays to reach out to your existing clients and just let them know that you care about them. Wish them happy holidays, merry Christmas And Happy New Year’s and let them know that you they’re in good hands with you. And this is an opportunity right now also to increase future revenue through retention and decreased churn. So I think that’s pretty good for today. 

[00:18:33] Sarah: All right. Cool. That’s my topic for this week’s scale call. You must’ve heard me talking about that on last week’s. 

[00:18:39] Jason: I did. I heard you mention it. You talk loud. I’m just kidding. All right. So if you are a property management entrepreneur, you’re wanting to add doors, you want to grow your business, you want to get out of the day to day, you want to make your business scalable so that adding more doors does not make your life personally worse. Reach out to us at DoorGrow. We can help. We help people like this all the time and we just get better and better every year. So if you have been listening to this podcast a while, or if you are a past client for maybe two, three, four, five, something, many years back, even one year back, even one year back, we’ve changed super system a year ago, right? We’ve changed any of that a lot and we’ve taken the things that have helped us scale our business and we are now leveraging these to help scale our clients businesses and it’s working incredibly well. So I’m obviously biased, but I think we have the best stuff for the property management industry. I don’t think there’s any other coaching or mentoring or consulting that can touch what we’re able to achieve with our clients. Our clients are crushing it.

[00:19:42] And we can help them through every major issue or problem that they’re dealing with, whether it be the op stuff or whether it be adding doors. Our clients are crushing it. So reach out to us. We want to make you our next success in our next successful case study. Hopefully we’re talking to you soon. Go to DoorGrow.com. Join our free Facebook group community at DoorGrowclub.Com. And hopefully we’re talking and working together soon. Bye everyone.

[00:20:11] you just listened to the #DoorGrowShow. We are building a community of the savviest property management entrepreneurs on the planet in the DoorGrowClub. Join your fellow DoorGrow Hackers at doorgrowclub.com. Listen, everyone is doing the same stuff. SEO, PPC, pay-per-lead content, social direct mail, and they still struggle to grow! 

[00:20:38] At DoorGrow, we solve your biggest challenge: getting deals and growing your business. Find out more at doorgrow.com. Find any show notes or links from today’s episode on our blog doorgrow.com, and to get notified of future events and news subscribe to our newsletter at doorgrow.com/subscribe. Until next time, take what you learn and start DoorGrow Hacking your business and your life.

Jason Hull

Jason's mission is "to inspire others to love true principles." This means he enjoys digging up gold nuggets of wisdom & sharing them with property managers to help them improve their business. He founded OpenPotion, DoorGrow, & GatherKudos.

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