Navigating Growth and Vision in Property Management: A Deep Dive with Peter Lohmann

Navigating Growth and Vision in Property Management: A Deep Dive with Peter Lohmann

In our over fifteen years in the property management industry, we’ve seen our fair share of growth. In fact, since 2008, Evernest has grown from 30 doors to more than 16,000. And a clear vision has been at the heart of it all.

So, it’s fitting that we recently sat down with Peter Lohmann, our longtime friend and a key player in the PM sphere, to talk about just that. We covered everything from hiring challenges, to marketing tasks, to the benefit of taking some time off from the business.

You can tune in to that conversation here, or simply read on for the top takeaways.

Let’s dive in!

The Value of a Break: Gaining Perspective and Stimulating Innovation

As Peter explains, one of the most impactful experiences he’s had as an entrepreneur was the decision to take a month-long break from his business, RL Property Management in Columbus, Ohio.

This wasn't just a vacation; it was a strategic move to disconnect from the day-to-day operations and gain a fresh perspective. Peter cannot overstate the value of time freedom for entrepreneurs. It's essential to prioritize taking time off, not just for rest, but to stimulate new ideas and opportunities.

During his break, Peter traveled and sought new experiences, which were crucial in stimulating his brain and generating breakthrough ideas for the business. "I'm trying to stimulate my brain, I'm trying to stimulate new ideas, new opportunities, really step into that visionary role," Peter said.

Trust us—it's amazing how stepping away from your usual environment can lead to such profound insights.

Preparing for Time Off: Ensuring a Smooth Transition

Navigating Growth and Vision in Property Management: A Deep Dive with Peter Lohmann

Taking a month off doesn't happen spontaneously, though. It requires careful preparation

Peter had to ensure his team was ready and the business operations were set up to function smoothly in his absence. This preparation was key to enjoying his time off without worrying about the business.

The Clarity Break: A Strategic Approach to Business and Personal Goals

If you can’t take a whole month off, don’t worry. Brief, hour-long breaks can help, too.

Spencer and Peter explain this through the concept of a "clarity break," which allows entrepreneurs to reassess their business and personal goals. A clarity break is when you set aside some time to just think. You might ponder what’s holding you back, where the company is succeeding, or just grapple with some recurring issues.

For a successful clarity break, you’ll want to block the time off on your calendar, grab a notebook, and get out of the office. You’ll be amazed at what comes up.

For example, Peter’s first clarity break led him to a significant realization: RL Property Management was just one of many options. This epiphany spurred a recommitment to the business while also exploring other opportunities within the property management industry.

Introducing Crane: A New Venture for Property Management Owners

One of these new ventures is Crane, which Peter recently launched with his partner, Wolfgang Koski.

Crane is a private community for property management company owners, designed to facilitate face-to-face connections and ongoing relationships between conferences. They chose Circle as the platform for the community and included various tools and resources to support medium- to expert-level owners.

They've been selective with early membership to set the tone for the community, and they're committed to keeping connections alive through gatherings and hosted dinners. As Peter says, “We're big believers in keeping those connections alive between the conferences and meetups.” The ultimate goal is to deliver value to members and help each other succeed while learning from one another's experiences. 

Keep an eye out for more exciting updates from Peter and the Crane team!

The "Do Not Do List" and the Importance of Retreats

During our chat, Spencer also inquired about Peter’s "do not do list" and his practice of taking a three-day retreat for reading, thinking, and planning.

This list helps him prioritize essential tasks and focus only on executing top priorities. And his annual retreat is a time to disconnect and strategically plan for the upcoming year.

PMC owners just like you might consider implementing something similar. You’ll probably be surprised to see how much of your time is being spent on tasks that really should be on the “do not do list.”

Hiring Challenges and Client Retention

Peter shared some of his struggles with hiring executive-level talent and the importance of being cautious and trusting one's intuition. HeI recommended the book Who, by Geoff Smart and Randy Street, for its exemplary hiring framework and process.

We also talked churn. After experiencing a significant loss of clients, Peter had to reevaluate his approach to client acquisition and retention.

Despite these challenges, he remains optimistic about the recent key hires and their ongoing efforts to scale and grow. "We spent a lot of time in 2023 very focused on operations, making sure that the clients we were bringing in were the right people, with the right properties, and that they had been onboarded correctly," Peter said.

They aim for a 12% churn rate per year and are continuously learning from peers who manage churn effectively.

Connecting with the Community

Our rich conversation underscored the importance of taking time off, gaining clarity, reassessing business goals, and the entrepreneurial spirit of exploring new opportunities.

Whether it's through strategic breaks, community building, or hiring and retaining, the journey of entrepreneurship is one of continuous learning and adaptation.

For those interested in connecting with Peter and learning more about the industry, we strongly encourage you to join his weekly newsletter for updates and resources. You can sign up here.

Ready for More?

We know what it’s like to grow a property management business from 30 doors to more than 16,000. The journey was anything but easy, and we learned tons of lessons along the way. Our desire to share that knowledge with you motivated us to start the Evernest Property Management Show podcast, a weekly newsletter, and our monthly webinar series for property managers.

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