Last modified on December 2nd, 2020
By Beth Gilbert
There’s no question that pandemic-related challenges have made business growth difficult for many community association management companies this year. However, don’t rule out growth altogether — many savvy managers have been able to adapt their business strategy to bring on new associations during these challenging times, acquire other companies to better serve their associations, and use technology to gain a competitive advantage.
To help you make the right moves and remain ahead of the game, here are a few ways to continue growing your business, even in difficult times.
Look for Self-Managed Associations Ready for Professional Help
The simplest strategy to continue business growth in tough circumstances is to bring more associations into your fold. One great place to start is by advertising your services to self-managed associations, who may have found it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of their homeowners this year.
Community associations may be struggling right now, which may mean they are open to partner with a professional management company who can help them better serve their community with well-established, tech-forward processes. This year COVID has brought the technology gap to light for many self-managed associations. If adopting new technology is not something they can do on their own, they will be looking to partner with a management company who is ahead of the curve with software solutions. Not only will they need this support to overcome pandemic-related challenges, but they will also need to better serve homeowners in the long-term, who increasingly expect to have access to modern, mobile technology.
If you’re prepared with cutting-edge technology that provides a competitive advantage, you can use this to attract more associations, so you can grow your portfolio and thrive despite difficult circumstances.
Acquire Smaller Companies
Amidst more competition between community association management firms, businesses that want to continue growing are figuring out that growth may mean acquisitions. Larger management companies are increasingly looking out for smaller ones who may be struggling, and partnering with them via an acquisition to benefit both companies.
If you’re looking to grow, think about also seeking out companies where the owners are planning to retire, they don’t have enough support staff, or their infrastructure has not kept up with their communities’ evolving needs, and review if it makes sense to bring them underneath your company’s umbrella. Management companies who are stable, tech-savvy, and maintain their growth mindset can better serve their clients, which benefits everyone long term.
In addition, having technology in place actually helps the acquisition process go much smoother. With modern, intuitive software, acquired companies can integrate quickly, and get the tools they need to serve their associations without missing a beat. With technology at-the-ready alongside your acquisition, you can communicate fast, pivot when needed, and review and analyze growth options.
Use Technology to Gain a Competitive Advantage
One way to attract new associations is to market your business by sharing the successes that you have accomplished this year, particularly by showing how your approach to technology differentiates you from other competitors.
As an example, Pelican Property Management owner Jordan Levine says they continued to grow during COVID because they implemented mobile accounting and payables, eliminated all physical mailing, became more efficient, and solved customer issues quicker with their tech system so they haven’t skipped a beat.
“It’s the most amazing software I’ve ever seen. It’s completely knocked the socks off of anybody we’ve pitched to get new properties because we can virtually show them a little peek behind the curtain on how invoices come in, how they get entered automatically, how they go to the manager for approval, and then back to get paid,” says Levine, “It’s all virtual, none of it is physical, and things are getting paid quickly and on time.”
They’ve also grown their team by hiring several new staff, and “had an explosion of business only from companies that did drop the ball during this period,” he explains “We’re hearing all these crazy stories about bills not getting paid or people not being responded to and I can see how things can easily fall through the cracks. So we’ve had to hire, [but] we’re so excited that we’ve had to because there are so many people that have been on the opposite side of that.”
Business growth and employing technology go hand-in-hand, whether you’re adding to your portfolio or partnering up with another company to grow together. The ability to move swiftly as developments and opportunities pop up depends on how efficiently your company is run. And when you have a cloud-based platform, like AppFolio’s community association management software, to keep a pulse on your business, easily bring on new associations, and connect with team members, it’s painless to grow toward your goals. Maintain your growth mindset and stay on top of developing changes that can help your businesses succeed by implementing the right technology.