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Take back Control

Take back Control

Going along the path from landlord to business owner brings many twists and turns and endless err…learning opportunities but there are common themes to each strand of business.Whether single let, HMO or Serviced accommodation these things are true.

Rule 1. There is always someone trying to take your money off you. Whether trainers, mentors, software developers, customers chasing refunds or suppliers auto-increasing their prices you have to guard your money with your life.

Rule 2. The customer is sometimes right. Every criticism has an element of truth to which you need to pay attention.

Rule 3. Keep an eye on your staff. Humans are like water and take the easiest path unless kept on track. Spend a few minutes making sure that they are ok and that they see you seeing them.

Rule 4. Nobody will sort out the rubbish (in the broader sense, whether tidying your computer files or head down in a wheelie bin). Rubbish, gardening and deep cleaning will be passed by everyone.

Rule 5. Tax, accounts and more tax are inevitable and never-ending.

Rule 6. Nothing happens unless you make it.

The conflict that this causes is that one must always be aware of the big picture and simultaneously pay attention to detail. In the course of a day I may work on a portfolio review, log the cleaning hours, spend time on tedious rate management spreadsheets and talk to people wishing to set up holiday accommodation. My current mission is to keep the flow of leaves into the gardens at bay so I try to spend an hour a day outdoors doing just that. There are occasional interruptions from guests requesting information or wishing to book and coping with breakages and repairs on top.

My plan for this next month is to log my daily activities to create a bit of order, in this way I should be able to delegate some tasks. I often get to the end of a day not knowing how I have spent my time or what I have achieved, although we always seem to get the job done. The first step is to identify how much time goes into each strand of the business (lettings, my own holiday lets, management for others) then have a look at the tasks taken for that business and if I can pare them down and streamline things at all. I am blessed with the help of the astonishingly efficient assistant who intuitively seems to have learned how I work and what needs doing next. She is talented at bookkeeping and office management (if anyone can keep my tiny office tidy they have my admiration) and effectively runs the business in my absence. If I can outsource some of her jobs then she can get promoted to more meaningful tasks and I can get promoted to extra time off…….

The Summer season has run over this year, July was weak, August good but September outstanding. Could this be because the student halls are in use by students? I think so. I have drawn a blank from the planning department on their use as hotels in the Summer so any bright ideas as to why they may not do this would be most welcome! Wishing you all a great Autumn, Charlotte

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