Monday, December 7, 2009

What Will Your Business be Like in 2010?

What will your business be like in 2010? Will you downsize, stabilize, or 

Here are a few tough love insights of successful and unsuccessful 
What happened? We thought things were supposed to be much better now... at least that is what we were promised right?  If we print and spend billions of dollars things will certainly get better right? Hmmm... Doesn't seem to be having the kind of impact we had hoped for does it? 

So how can we survive the current economy while planning for the future? My industry involvement and association with numerous companies has shown me many great achievements by some and overwhelming struggles by others.

We see companies who are growing, expanding and making a profit! Yes! Even in this economy. And, unfortunately I see companies who are losing money and having massive layoffs due to lost fee management and foreclosed properties. So, I have asked myself why? What is the difference? Why are some companies excelling in this economy and others are failing? In this article, I thought I would spend a bit of time sharing my observations. Hopefully it might give some insight or ideas that will help your company survive and 
thrive in 2010.

1.       Leadership: This is what I see as the most crucial element. Goals! Do you know where you are going? What are you trying to achieve?  And most importantly, do your team members understand and buy into your company’s goals? 

2.       Whatever it takes: This seems like a simple concept but I don’t think everyone gets it! In the companies who are struggling a bit, it seems as though they are actors in the Movie “Ground Hog Day”. Do you remember that movie? They wake up and do the same thing over and over again producing the same results. I see that a lot in business. If something isn't working you have to change what you are doing to achieve a different outcome. And it might take more than one change; it could take 10 +. The key is to continue tweaking your processes such as, marketing, operations, people, training, etc., until you achieve your goals and get the results you need.

3.       Decision Making: Companies who are excelling are not afraid to make an out-of-the-box decision. They don't always choose the safe road. For example:  vendors and product selection.  High achievers may not always choose the largest and most well known vendors. You all know these types of vendors; the larger and oftentimes older ones who have been around forever and can’t embrace new ideas because they are too afraid to think outside the box. Well, we are living in a new and different day. Most of us, if any, have never experienced the economic challenges we are now faced with in our lifetime. To get through these times we must be willing to face new challenges with new strategies. When it comes to growth and survival, bigger is not necessarily 
better. Bigger oftentimes translates to more bureaucracy where it takes an act of congress to make a decision and as we've seen that's not always in our best interest.

High achievers are willing to embrace new concepts, vendors, technologies and marketing strategies in order to set themselves apart from the herd and walk the path less traveled. Consumers respond positively to companies with good attitudes who respond with prompt and superior customer support. 

I have witnessed thousands of man hours being spent in committee after committee to make a simple decision that should have only taken a 15 minute conversation and an hour or so of due diligence. I have to ask myself… are these people participating in “busy work” just to justify their existence? This may sound harsh but I believe it is something that an effective Leader should investigate.

4.       Hire Hard – Fire Easy… Ok, now you really think I am being harsh don’t you? What I am saying is:  search hard for the right person for the job at hand. A warm body, shiny car or fancy wardrobe just won’t do anymore. 
You have to have someone with drive, motivation, ambition and determination with business sense, sales abilities and customer service skills to make a business successful. Not to mention, they have to care! Our company performs secret shops for the multifamily industry and all too often as we review and score the leasing “professional” we just shake our heads in amazement and mumble to ourselves: “They really didn’t care if they closed the deal or not!”  Sometimes being successful requires making tough decisions. If you find that you made a hiring mistake. Take care of it quickly so a dead weight doesn't take your ship down.

5.       Training and Investing in Employees – We don’t believe you can train too much. Not training not only creates a liability for you but it is a huge demoralizer for your entire company. Companies whose employees know 
their company is willing to invest in them and provide “quality training” perform much better. Most employees want to do well at their job and cringe at the thought of being “slapped on the wrist” by their supervisor for not 
following some protocol they weren't even aware of. Therefore, successful companies train, train and train some more. 

So there you have it. 5 of my successful company concepts. I could go on for pages and pages but just to summarize:  success in 2010 will take strategic leadership, quick and insightful out-of-the-box decision making skills and well trained employees who actually care about the success of the company.

Written by Mechelle Flowers-  The Training Factor


  1. Throughout my career in the multi-family industry, I have experienced many of the scenarios you listed above. As an individual, it is very important to make sure that a company's goals are defined and communicated to it's employees. Especially if the results are tied to the performance of those employees. I can't say enough about training. One of my biggest idiosyncrasies is to hear an employee, on any level, claim that they do not need training because they have been in this industry for years. Anyone in this industry, especially affordable housing, knows that regulations, procedures and requirements are liable to change at any moment. All I can say is "The day that I know all there is to know about everything is the day that I should be making my transition out of this world.

  2. Leigh--thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate your dedication to this industry. You are so correct on what it takes to succeed. Training is a must on any level.