In part 1 of our series on mistakes to avoid if you’re new to property management, we discussed the importance of operationalizing the sales process and considering ways to add value to your clients. Here are three more important lessons we learned so that you can avoid making these mistakes:

Mistake #3: We failed to focus on high-leverage, high-impact strategic moves.

If you are a list-maker like me, you might begin the day with a list of 12 things you need to get done. You write them in a notepad or type them into an app. Wherever those to-do’s end up, they stare you down all day. The challenge, however, is that we can easily trick our brain into thinking each of those items has equal importance.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

When you look at your list, there are probably a few items that are very important and have the potential to move your business forward in a way that could resonate for years, and some that if you literally never did them, nothing would happen.

As you think about your to-do lists and your schedule, you really have to give priority to those items that are high-impact. Take strategic action that is going to move your business forward. Filing away old papers that have been sitting on your desk for weeks or cold call 10 prospective clients? Which activity will better serve you into the future?

Business owners can’t do everything, but by selectively choosing highly impactful tasks, you can be more strategic with your decision making and make better use of your time. Everything that’s not as important or can be done equally well by others should be shifted off your plate.

Mistake #4: We didn’t immediately join industry trade groups.

If you’re an entrepreneur just starting out in a new industry, immediately sign up for the top trade groups and associations that are relevant for you. Get on their email lists, sign up for conferences, and find ways to connect.

By joining trade groups, you will be connected to a group of like-minded people who are doing just what you’re trying to do. Collectively they have figured out some best practices, standards, and ways of handling common challenges that are likely very relevant to you. Talk with them and learn from them so you don’t have to make the same mistakes they already made.

Had we done so earlier, I think we would have shaved off a year or two of chasing down things that ended up not working out or learning the hard way about various edge cases and details about property management.

Mistake #5: We hadn’t yet identified our ideal customer.

You may have heard the saying, “there are riches and niches” or “niche down to scale up.” Early on in a business, it can be hard to even think about turning away potential clients if they don’t fit your ideal customer profile, but there is a lot of power in getting specific about the type of customer you want to work with.

The more narrowly you define your target audience, the more value you can provide for them and the easier it is to articulate that value.

As we’ve narrowed down our market over time and the types of properties we manage so they fit within our specialty, it has helped our entire operation – from marketing to simplifying and standardizing our sales process – because you can speak your customers’ language in a way that’s simply not possible if you’re trying to capture a broad audience.

As our business has evolved, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and the industry. We hope these lessons will help you avoid some of the inefficiencies and hurdles we’ve had to overcome. To hear more about these five mistakes and other property management topics, subscribe to our podcast “Owner Occupied.”