We sat down with LPMA members, Natalie Wendell & Jeremy Sussex from Wendell Property Management, who piloted the Breakthrough Business Program earlier in the year, to chat about their experience and understand how they use the program in their business.
The new Breakthrough Business Program helps you create and implement a strategic plan for your business.
The program is included in your LPMA Membership and can be started today at lpma.com/foundry/strategy
Hi Natalie & Jeremy, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and Wendell Property Management?
Natalie: Sure, I am Natalie the owner and co-founder of Wendell Property Management with my mother Susan and husband Ashley. Both Ashley and I have stepped out of the business and have been very lucky to recruit Jeremy, the new GM of Wendell’s.
Natalie Wendell, Co-founder Wendell Property Management
Wendell's is a small boutique office in Auckland NZ. We have around 700 Managements with 11 staff and we don’t run a sales office. We have won many awards over the years and we feel we were pretty happy with where we were at with achieving our goals, and on track based on our Business plan.
Jeremy: I'm Jeremy, my background is in commercial property and development. I have taken the step to residential and it’s incredibly complex and exciting in comparison to commercial which, in retrospect, was very straightforward and perhaps even more logical.
You sound like you had things working well already in your business, so what drew you to the Breakthrough Business Program?
Natalie: As I mentioned before, we have a pretty clear business strategy, and with our award winning performance we felt pretty confident we had a complete business plan. The opportunity came through to pilot this program and I thought it would be great to benchmark our business and shed any light on areas that we missed. I also thought it was good timing for Jeremy as he could help us be objective in our answers.
The program starts by helping you choose a strategy that suits your business and reviewing your current business capabilities. How did you find that part of the program?
Jeremy: At Wendell Property our goal is to have a well oiled running a smooth, successful business which can build sustainable wealth for all its stakeholders, so the "Machine Strategy" seemed like a good fit for us.
Natalie: Immediately while answering the survey questions, I noticed that we have started a lot of the items, but not implemented them fully. Often we were a good way through an item, or have it on the road map but because it was not done to completion we had to be honest in saying that it is 'incomplete'.
After completing the survey you receive a report with your results. What did you think as you were reading your results?
Natalie: When I got the report through I was genuinely surprised! It really challenged my beliefs of where I thought our business was at. It is not about being successful or not successful it is about where we were over indexed, and areas where we should be focusing on where missing all together.
I remember looking at the first graph and seeing our circle vs our ideal for the machine strategy and thinking ….. Shit! We still have a way to go…
I was glad to see that the team and risk capabilities were where they needed to be, but I was very surprised we were so far off on other areas. Honestly, we were surprised we were not closer to our goals, as by all of our own measures we were. So it was great to have that outside perspective and be challenged.
As part of the program you receive an action plan in a digital tool called Trello. What were your initial impressions of the action plan?
Jeremy: We love Trello in our office, so that was an advantage I would say. When the board came through I was a little overwhelmed at our to do list… There is so much in there I did not even start on the day I got it.
Natalie: Jeremy and I put some time aside to go through everything and it allowed us to be objective, drill down, prioritize and get an action plan in place. We added some extra columns and started using this as a weekly “Where are we at” session to see what we had moved along.
Do you plan to continue with the program and would you recommend it to other business leaders?
Natalie: Absolutely. In the past I have paid consultants thousands of dollars to come into our business and give us a “health check”. The reports from them that I got were not even close in comparison to this report, and not one of them could give us an action plan like this. Their recommendations involved thousands of dollars of more services.
There is so much value in here, tens of thousands of dollars of consulting wrapped up in a very smart package. I think you would be crazy not to have the Breakthrough Business Program as part of your business planning and strategy.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us about the program?
Natalie: I want to say thank you to Ben and the team for taking the time to create this. It has made a huge impact on our business. It has really brought the strategies in Ben’s books alive and made a practical tool that will be a cornerstone of our business this year, and probably beyond!
Natalie Wendell and Jeremy Sussex - Wendell Property Management, Auckland, New Zealand.
If you'd like to chat to the Wendell team about their experience you can send Jeremy a message via the LPMA Forum.
The Breakthrough Business Program is included in your LPMA Membership. To start the program, go to lpma.com/foundry/strategy or contact Ashley Giles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not a member yet? Join today and get access to this and other great resources for property management businesses.