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Welcome to Property Management Brainstorm, the ultimate podcast for property managers, PropTech ventures, and real estate investors! Join industry expert Bob Preston as he brings you the latest trends, best practices, and invaluable guidance in the world of property management. Whether you're just starting or thriving in the business, Property Management Brainstorm is your go-to destination for all things property management. Please click the "more" button in our episodes below to view the episode notes, listen through the website audio player or the video link, and follow along with the whole episode transcript.

Episode 80: Five Ways to Kickoff 2024 Ft Bob Preston

In this episode, Bob Preston shares his top five ways to kickoff 2024 for property management businesses. He emphasizes the importance of strategic planning, organizational checkups, accountability and goals, kickoff meetings, and budget trimming. These steps are crucial for setting the direction, aligning the team, and optimizing resources for a successful year ahead.


  • Create a strategic plan with a forecast and budget for the new year.
  • Conduct an organizational checkup to assess the company's culture and alignment.
  • Establish accountability and goals for every team member.
  • Host a kickoff meeting to communicate expectations and review past performance.
  • Trim 15% of the budget to optimize resources and achieve new profitability goals.

00:00  Introduction and Overview of Bob's Five Ways to Kickoff 2024
03:08  Chapter 1: Forecast and Strategic Planning for the New Year
06:02  Chapter 2: Organizational Checkup
07:30  Chapter 3: Accountability and Goals
09:38  Chapter 4: Kickoff Meeting
10:35  Chapter 5: Budget Trim Challenge
13:01  Summary of the "Five Ways" and conclusion

Episode 80 Featured Sponsor: Second Nature
At Second Nature, we heart property managers. Because we know you’ve got the toughest job around. So we create new solutions and technology to make your life easier, while keeping residents and investors happy. It’s a triple win for everyone and it’s only from Second Nature.. Second Nature (

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Transcript of This Episode

Bob Preston (00:00)
Today, we will discuss the five ways to kick off 2024. These are the ways I like to do it. I've shared this with many of my Property Management Brainstorm consulting clients. These are my recommendations on the top ways that you could kick off your companies and be ready to hit it hard come January.

Bob Preston (00:35)
Welcome to the Property Management Brainstorm Show with Bob Preston. Bob is the Lead Consultant and Podcast Host at Property Management Brainstorm, the property management consulting and strategic planning company dedicated to the property management industry.

This podcast is for property managers and company owners seeking an in-depth look into trends toward adding doors, growing recurring revenue, and building a high-profit property management business. You'll hear from leading professionals on hot topics, success stories, and strategies for expanding your company and assuring your property portfolios are managed efficiently. Now, here is your host, Bob Preston.

Bob Preston (01:19)
Hello, brainstormers, and welcome to our last episode of 2023. I can't believe how quickly this year has gone by. This is Bob Preston, your host. Happy to soon be ringing in 2024. Man, the year just went by so quickly. It's hard to believe. As always, I'm broadcasting from our property management brainstorm studio in Del Mar, California, today. If you're new here, we would sure appreciate it if you subscribe so you get access to all of our great episodes. And if you like what you hear, please pay it forward with a positive review. Before we dive in today, I want to thank our amazing sponsors for helping support the podcast. We've got some fantastic companies that are industry icons, including Upkeep Media, SureVestor, VPM Solutions, RentScale, zInspector, Showdigs, Blanket, Latchel, APM help, and today's feature sponsor, Second Nature, who you will hear more about in a brief mid-roll about halfway through the episode. I hope all my listeners are working on kicking off the new year for their property management business or preparing for it. I should say that I love this time of year because I always work on productive ways to dive in come January. I'm just chomping at the bit to get started, and typically, what I'm doing is budgeting and forecasting for the coming year, but you need to look at all these different things. Is my organization ready, along with me, to dive in? Will they know their expectations and have their goals in place? Well, you get the idea. So, what better topic to share today than what I'm gonna call Bob's five ways to kick off 2024? Here we go, have a listen. 

I love this time of year, as I mentioned because it anticipates the coming year and gets the entire company ready to charge in January. Okay. So these are what I used to do with all my businesses and what I recommend with my consulting clients within my property management brainstorm, consulting business practice. So I'm going to rattle them off, and then we're going to talk about each one individually, but certainly, the first and foremost thing is making sure that there's a strategic plan going into the new year.

Bob Preston (03:36)
Now broadcasting in December, if you haven't already done this, you should be doing this right away to have a forecast, a budget, a plan for the doors added for your headcount for your expense lines. These are all critical things. I always like to, number two, have a check-in with my organization. So what does that mean? Check-in with the organization? Well, what are your people thinking? How are they feeling about the business? Where things are headed? What does the culture look like? I see everything I need to see within the organization, making sure everyone knows what to do—okay, setting goals. I like to call it an accountability chart. So everyone knows what their duties and tasks are, and everybody has goals or KPIs, whatever you want to call them to follow once they hit that new year. So they can hit things running. I've always enjoyed and anticipated and advocated having a kickoff meeting, right? So, host a meeting. Get everybody on the same page. You can go over all these things and give that inspirational leadership to your team to get things started and charged right away in January. Number five, this is a fun one. I call it the 15% budget trim challenge. I think this is different than your forecast and your plan because it's something that I always took upon myself to make sure I did. I did my mightily, very best after we kicked off to dive in and try to trim 15% from the budget, some of that fat that might be dragging the company down a little to achieve new profitability goals. 

Okay, number one, one of the most critical aspects as you head into the new year is to make sure you have a strategic plan. I've done this hundreds of times for my businesses and consulting clients. If it's something you'd like help with, I can certainly assist. You want to have a strategic plan which includes a forecast and a budget. Indeed, you want to be forecasting your growth, the doors you need to get under management. What attrition rates might you be expecting? What are your fees going to be? What are your gross profits, your headcount, and your operating costs? You should anticipate these things in advance because this is how you will be driving your company's future. You will be rolling through the year and operating under this strategic plan. It's essential to have it in place. And it's not just a one-and-done. You need to tweak it along the way and ensure that your forecast and actual are comparable.

Bob Preston (06:02)
Number two, I like to have some organizational checkups. Okay, how are my people feeling about the business? Are they happy? How does our culture seem? Are we on the right track with people, and where are we headed? I like to do what is offered on a website called Organizational Checkup. It's sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Operating System people, EOS, and it's a straightforward survey. You can invite your team to take, it's I think believe, 20 questions, and it measures your company in several significant ways, your vision, whether you have the right people, the grand vision might be in place, but do you have the right people, the right butts in seats? It helps identify any issues you might have regarding what's going on in the business, the data and the objective numbers that provide a pulse, where things are your processes, and overall, whether you are getting traction.

Number three, you should have accountability and goals for everyone in the organization. This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many companies don't do this. There are lots of terms used for them. It could be called SMART goals. You've probably heard the term KPIs. In the EOS vernacular, getting back to the entrepreneurial operating system, they're called ROCKS. I don't care what you call them, but everyone in the organization should have them, and they should be measured either monthly or quarterly or over some specific amount of time. So, they should be simple to understand, sensible, and significant. They should be meaningful and motivating to those individuals. They should be achievable, attainable, and realistic. And, of course, it is time-bound again for some period of time. That's what's known as the SMART goals approach. Each team member should have some form of goals, ROCks, KPIs, or whatever you want to call them. They should be measurable, and they should be reviewed regularly with their supervisor.

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Bob Preston (09:10)
My number four. I always like to host a kickoff meeting every single year. And this is a chance for me to communicate with the team and tell people what I'm expecting of them and what it will take to have a great year. I think this is important. It helps get everybody on the same page, correct? So, an agenda would be something like this. Hey, what do I expect from each of you today? Here's a theme I have for the day. Okay, let's go through the organizational checkup results and share all the data you have done through the organizational checkup through EOS. Talk about how the company is organized, who's doing what, and what people are accountable for. Take a step back and review last year's results. Did we do what we said we were going to do? What were our accomplishments? What were our disappointments? What did the metrics look like in the KPIs as a company? Did we get the unit and revenue growth? Did we get the proper mix where our fees came from? These are all essential things you want to identify and cover from last year to get everybody on the same page coming in the new year. Then, you can get into your 2024 forecast and projections and finally wrap up with some team recognition and celebration, which is always a good thing to do. 

Number five is kind of a fun one, but it's also essential. Every company I've ever worked with in my consulting business, including mine, has some degree of budget creep, right? Occurs every single year. Maybe those apps that you, you know, impulsively signed off on to help the company and then nobody uses, maybe it's the amount you're paying for your internet fees or your VoIP service on your phone. But I always try to trim 15% of my budget. So, I call this a 15% budget trim challenge. I think it's a healthy thing for all companies to go through. And this is whether you're the CFO, the CEO, or maybe even your departmental budget, see what you can do to cut things down. One thing is, gee, your office and lease agreement and office space, you know, do you still need it? That could be a quick hit. If you can go virtual, get rid of that office, you know, saves a lot of money—all subscriptions, wifi, telephone plan software. 

Bob Preston (11:35)
A couple of years ago, I changed VoIP providers. I went from Nextiva, who was charging me, I don't know, $300, $400 a month. And I approached Zoom, and they said, Hey, we'll give it to you for free for two and a half years. So, boom, I saved $300, $400 a month, just on my VoIP service. You know, software, do you need to, can you, you know, do you need everything you're still signed up for? Can you cut some of these things out? Recurring costs that often hit your credit card that you forget about, pour through three or four months of your credit card bill, and see if there are things you no longer need, right? And then outside services, your IT, you know, how are you paying for photography? Do your people do it, or do you have a photographer? Could that be renegotiated? Your accounting and your marketing SEO. The whole idea here is to see if you can trim a little bit off your budget. I always like to shoot for 15%. 

So I hope these are helpful things. I helped a lot of companies launch every year. I'd be happy to do it if you're looking for somebody to help facilitate that launch process. Again, forecast and budget with your strategic plan, number one. Number two, do an organizational checkup. I recommend EOS. Number three set accountability and goals. Rocks, SMART goals, whatever you want to call them. Make sure everybody knows what they're going to be doing. Host a kickoff meeting, number four and number five. See if you can trim 15% from your budget for the coming year. Those are my five ways. Happy holidays, everybody. See you all in January. And I'm looking forward to the new year. We'll have more episodes coming from Property Management Brainstorm. I hope you've enjoyed it this year, and we'll see you in January 2024.

Bob Preston (13:01)
As we wrap up today, I'd like to make a quick plug for our listeners to click on the subscribe button, give us a like, and, if you would, please pay it forward with a positive review. Thank you for tuning in to Property Management Brainstorm, where we always work hard to find new ways to advance the property management industry. We will catch up with you next time.