Ups and Downs of Property Management

The Newsletter

Weathering the Ups & Downs of Property Management
Are you prepared for the unexpected? Whether you own a small building or an office complex, whenever corporate tenants are involved, it makes sense to expect the unexpected.

As property management guru Richard Crenian suggests in an article in Real Estate News Exchange (RENX), these times will come. “Unexpected occurrences will happen-be prepared, stay calm and remember the fundamentals to prevent a financial misstep.”

An ounce of prevention is, as they say, worth a pound of cure. So ensure you’ve checked tenants’ backgrounds during the application process. As Crenian points out, “I am amazed at the number of times a background check is skipped for an incoming tenant.” Make this an integral part of the process.

Tenants undergoing tough times may ask for a rent reduction. Yes or no? If it’s a good, long-term tenant with a solid payment history, that should be taken into account. But before deciding, ask to see financial statements as proof. Also, is the company owner taking a cut in salary? Are suppliers and the bank pitching in to help? If so, a rent break may be a reasonable request.

Don’t settle. If you have an empty unit, wait for the right tenant and opt to lease the space. Consider short-term options, such as seasonal tenants or even “pop-ups.” A good commercial broker can help you identify temporary solutions.

Finally, watch your own bottom line. Says Crenian: “Be helpful without hindering your own business and keep an eye on market trends for new opportunities – they always exist, even in downturns.”

Turn Happy Customers into Online Ambassadors in 2017
New Year's Reso

It’s no longer enough to make customers happy, or even get them to praise your good service to your face. What you really need is for your customers to share their positive experiences with others, and to do so in online reviews.

Clearly, our internet-based society is relying more and more on sources like Google, Facebook, and Yelp to decide what companies we should trust with our business. According to research, a whopping 97% of consumers read reviews about local businesses, and 89% of consumers who visit review sites make a purchase within a week.

And while friends’ opinions count, reviews from strangers still carry a lot of weight; in one Zendesk survey, 88% of customers say a review influenced a buying decision. So, since consumers are searching for positive reviews, make sure they’re out there.

Interestingly, almost 75% of consumers say they don’t write reviews; encourage your customers to share their good experiences online by incorporating this process into your business plan. Set up profiles on review sites that are relevant to your business, and provide links to reviews on all your online customer touch points. Most importantly, turn your customers’ verbal kudos into reviews. If they’re happy, ask them to write a review.

Finally, says Forbes contributor Nellie Akalp, you can offer a small incentive for writing a review. (Enter all monthly reviewers in a giveaway draw, she suggests.) But don’t specify a “good” review, and don’t buy it.

If your service is great, your customers should be more than happy to become your online ambassadors.

How to Make Your Case in a Room Full of Dissenters
Taking Stand

At some point in your career, you will almost certainly be called upon to express a point of view, take a position, or recommend an action that is counter to that held by the majority. Standing alone in the face of dissent requires the courage of your convictions. And, regardless of your gender, ethnicity, stature, or position in the organization, it takes strength and tact to present this position effectively and gracefully.

Here are some techniques to help you state your case with integrity, dignity, and self-confidence and encourage others to be more open to your perspective.

  • Active listening is a profoundly effective communication strategy. A sincere effort to listen and understand other points of view sends a positive message.
  • Don’t make getting your point across the goal. Stay focused on the fact that there’s a problem that needs to be solved. It’s not about winning points or keeping score.
  • Don’t push your position or your agenda too aggressively. The harder you push, the more entrenched others become and the harder they will push back.
  • When engaged in difficult discussions, look for points of agreement, and seek to provide information that adds value to the discussion.
  • Stay centered, positive, and focused on the issue, problem, or situation at hand.

Above all, don’t blame, accuse, or put down others, either verbally or with gestures, facial expressions, or body language. Remain poised, respectful, engaged, and purposeful. Whenever possible, allow your opponents to look good and save face.

The ability to influence and persuade is not just for leaders. Getting people to listen to, accept, and implement your ideas is essential for career success as well as success in all other aspects of life.

Good Urban Design Can Make Us Healthier
Good urban design and greenspaces impact our health, and healthy office spaces make healthy people.

For some time, scientists have studied the impact of our physical environment on health. Now researchers are almost at the stage when they can quantify these facts. And developers and property owners are listening.

In a recent CBC interview, neuroscientist and design consultant Colin Ellard noted, “You can draw a fairly direct set of lines between urban design and the state of our health. If municipalities want to hear the argument in dollars and cents, we’re getting close to that.”

Ellard adds, “There are all kinds of ways in which the geometry, the appearance of the surfaces of our surroundings, influence how we feel and how we act, how we decide about things, how we think, how we pay attention.”

As well, design can affect our actual physiology. According to a study in Nature, “…greenspaces can be psychologically and physiologically restorative by promoting mental health … reducing blood pressure and stress as well as promoting physical activity.”

A University of Chicago team of researchers recently studied the impact of trees on health perceptions in Toronto, Canada. The results: participants who lived in well-treed neighborhoods reported lower incidence of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

And, according to Ellard, interior spaces can have the same impact on health as our streetscapes.

Office designers and builders are beginning to act. The current is away from the cubicle model so popular in previous decades: “What you’re trying to do in an office design is find a way to satisfy a large number of needs and a large number of different kind of work roles, typically. So you want to build an environment in such a way that it encourages people to have face-to-face interactions,” Ellard says.

However, it remains a challenge to ensure workers have privacy as well as opportunities for interacting. One company may have found, if not the answer, then an answer. Spotify has designed its office spaces with employees’ health and privacy needs in mind.

In an interview, Satish Kanwar, Shopify’s director of product, says, “We recognized there are people who are predominantly introverts and others who are extroverts…. So we wanted to create a very flexible environment that was both extremely private and extremely open.”

One of the innovations was the “sofa box”-effectively a room on wheels. Soft boxes can be pushed together for meetings or stand apart in splendid isolation. Thanks to a see-through wall, a sofa box is simultaneously open and private.

Ellard notes that office design should be trying to achieve “the water cooler effect,” and design a space where people who may not see or talk to each other in their usual course of work will “bump into each other.” He says: “We don’t have water coolers really anymore, but we can have a proxy for that in the design of space.”

As science focuses on quantifying the benefits of healthful urban design, the industry may see an opportunity in doing the same.

SA Realty Watch Group
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Worth Reading
Twitter in Retweet
By Staff
The Economist

It’s always interesting to read about the ups and downs of unicorns. Twitter, which has occupied a central place in users’ lives for years, has been on a downturn, this article suggests. And many believe it’s time for an overhaul. Are they right? Read this and decide.

This Company Has Built a Profile on Every American Adult
By David Gauvey Herbert

Bloomberg Businessweek

Using database subscription services, marketers, law enforcement, debt collectors, or private investigators can digitally peek into virtually every aspect of people’s lives. A company’s data sets can be used to predict behavior, locate missing persons, surveil people, and sell to us. Who fears this “creepiness” along with Herbert? So far, not many. But perhaps he has something here. Consider “Big Brother” and what happened in George Orwell’s iconic novel, 1984.

Research: We Drop People Who Give Us Critical Feedback
By Francesca Gino

Harvard Business Review

Francesca Gino and her fellow researchers conducted studies showing that people often drop relationships with colleagues who provide “disconfirming” (negative) feedback. Dumb move: Their research also showed that being aware of weaknesses and shortcomings is critical to improvement. So bring on the colleagues who give tough feedback!

This Month: Successful Mentoring
What do 71% of Fortune 500 firms have in common? Successful companies have great leaders to train great leaders. It’s a healthy cycle of cultivation that bears much fruit.

These links will take you to the hows and whys of workplace mentoring:

Companies implement mentoring programs to meet common business goals. See how:
4 Reasons to Support Workplace Mentoring

Millennials are revamping mentoring. Here’s how:
Reverse Mentoring Target UnitedHealth

Workplace mentoring initiatives can offer these benefits to your business:
Four Key Benefits of Workplace Mentoring

Modern mentoring comes in many forms. Learn the basics in this overview:
Modern Mentoring Is The Key To Retaining Millennials

Is the concept of workplace mentoring new to your business? Get started here:
How to Start a Mentoring Program

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.
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