❮ All Articles

Goal-setting is critical to planning for a changing industry.

Think long-term

Dr. Stephen Covey’s 2nd habit is “Begin with The End in Mind,” the principles of which should be applied to your property management strategies as a single-family rental property manager. This is especially true now as we enter 2022 with an industry that continues to evolve. Goal-setting should start with an understanding of where you want to be in several years, not just at the end of this year. It forces you to consider industry trends that you may not feel the impact of immediately, but will definitely affect the viability of your business in the future. 

Short-term goals should ladder up to long-term goals. They should serve as pieces to the long-term puzzle. It’s important not to lose sight of what that puzzle is supposed to look like when it’s finished. Anticipating how trends will affect the industry and creating action items to address that will keep you a step ahead of companies that are reacting after these market forces have already begun to affect their bottom line. Those action items then become your short-term goals for the next year.

Identify opportunities to improve resident experience

As the most important industry trend continues to be the evolution of demand from a simple service to a more complex experience, you should be identifying opportunities to improve resident experience and setting goals based on how you want to achieve said improvement. What can you do this coming year to improve the living experience for your residents? This could include new programs to be developed and implemented, new roles on the team specifically focused on experience, or a number of things depending on your answer.

The best way to identify opportunities is to listen to your residents. It sounds simple, but they’ll tell you what they perceive as a great living experience, and that becomes data you can act on. Consider a list of services you think a resident may like, some of which could be rental rewards, home-buying assistance, credit-reporting, holiday gift certificates to local businesses, etc. You can survey your residents on these ideas pretty easily, or you can simply roll them out and gauge resident response. 

As long as your programs are creating real value for the residents, any pushback. A small fee for something they’ll actually use and benefit from is typically considered a win by a resident. It’s just a matter of ensuring you are creating value. 

Identify opportunities to improve investor experience 

We talk a lot about the triple win here at Second Nature. The third branch of the triple win is a win for your clients. Typically, this is laddered up to by a resident win, which minimizes vacancy to the benefit of the client. There is more you can do, though, to really deliver something irreplaceable to your clients. 

A popular takeaway from PMLX 2021 was the value of communication with clients. Scheduling quarterly meetings with your clients and overcommunicating everything they could want to know about the management of their properties has proven valuable to the companies that pioneered this concept. Launching these quickly became a popular short-term 2022 goal for many attendees. 

Clients leave with an extensive understanding of what is happening with their investments. That’s an additional win for them and for you, as investors are not only more involved, but they tend to appreciate the time you take to communicate with them and can gain deeper insight into the full value that your company provides. This isn’t the only way to improve client experience, but it’s a popular and relatively easy one to implement.


When setting goals for next year, make sure you know what the puzzle is supposed to look like when it’s completed. Then set your 2022 goals to put together the right pieces.