Pioneering Progress in the Property Management Business

The dictionary defines pioneering as being the first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or progress. Being a pioneer in anything is challenging because you make all of the mistakes. In the case of business, you set the pace and break through the rough terrain. The work of pioneers makes it easier for anyone who follows them to be more successful without all of the same challenges and trials. It is usually costly to be a pioneer because the costs of making progress can be very expensive.

One such example that I’ve been impressed with is that of Elizabeth Blackwell, who was the first woman doctor in the United States. In the 1840s no woman had ever been admitted to a medical school, yet she decided to go against the odds when a dying friend told Elizabeth on her death bed that she would make a good doctor. Inspired by this invitation, “Blackwell took a job as a teacher and began working with a local physician to gain medical experience. This gave her access to medical texts to further her education. She also sought advice from other physicians, who told her the only way she would ever succeed would be to disguise herself as a man. Prepared with the right qualifications, Blackwell applied to all the top medical schools in the country. All of them rejected her. Undaunted, she tried the smaller colleges. After receiving so many rejections, she was astonished when she finally unfolded an acceptance letter. The faculty at Geneva Medical College, unwilling to reject a qualified applicant merely because she was a woman, permitted the students to vote whether or not to admit her. The students, thinking it was a joke, voted unanimously to allow her to enroll.

“Geneva Medical College might have been willing to accept Blackwell’s application, but that did not mean those at the institution would accept her. From the start, Blackwell found herself shunned by everyone around her. Professors, uncomfortable because a woman was present, requested that she skip lectures when certain topics were discussed. Her fellow classmates harassed and ostracized her. Townspeople, thinking Blackwell must be insane or morally corrupt for wanting to become a doctor, stopped and stared when she walked by. Despite all of this, Blackwell focused on her studies and refused to let anything deter her from becoming a doctor. As a result, she graduated at the top of her class. At the graduation ceremony, the dean of the college applauded Blackwell for her achievements, although he later said he would probably reject future female applicants because of the ‘inconveniences’ of having a woman attend the school.

“The dean’s views, however, eventually became irrelevant. A door had opened for women and it would not be closed again. Several medical schools specifically for women students opened, including one founded by Blackwell. She also founded a full-scale hospital with beds for medical and surgical patients, which still exists today as the New York University Downtown Hospital. Blackwell eventually left the hospital and the school in the capable hands of her sister, who was also a doctor, and moved to England. There she established a private practice, helped organize the National Health Society, and later became a professor at the London School of Medicine for Women.”—Darcy Andries, The Secret of Success is Not a Secret, pp. 86-87.

Blackwell once said of being a pioneer: “It is not easy to be a pioneer—but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world.”

While many focus on the challenges of being a pioneer, there are also tremendous advantages. The pioneer usually shifts the perception of the marketplace, so they also usually control and own the market (at least for a little while since no one knows anyone else who has done what has been accomplished). The first person who does something is also usually associated with the movement or idea that has been created.  In the case of the property management business, I believe this is why it is so important to always be introducing new services for your tenants and owners. Your competitors can only be mildly successful if they are always chasing you and especially if you keep changing the game so it is very hard for them to keep up. Another big advantage is that pioneers usually know the hidden pitfalls that copycats don’t. If you know what pitfalls to avoid, you can always stay at least a step or two ahead of your competitors.

One of my favorite quotes about what pioneering does for us is that of John of Salisbury, an English author, educationalist, diplomat and bishop of Chartres, who wrote in the year 1159:

“Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.”

It takes persistence to stick with something when you are a pioneer.  My questions for you Are you setting the pace or following the lead of someone else?

What new things are you pioneering in your property management business?

Are you introducing new services to your tenants and owners such as zero security deposit programs, new marketing approaches, or new revenue streams that attract attention and increase revenue?

Many rewards don’t immediately come to those who are pioneering new concepts in their respective industries. This is the unique advantage to being a part of a franchise – a proven process is already in place when you start pioneering the business in your territory. Each and every day, you have the opportunity to be a pioneer in your property management business as you create and help tenants and owners achieve their goals. A franchise can help you anticipate and quickly overcome the obstacles that come your way. If you would like to learn more about how you can benefit from the pioneering work already done by the PMI franchise, click here to schedule an appointment to discuss the opportunities in your area:

Malcom S. Forbes once observed: “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.”  You are a pioneer in many ways because of your persistence through the challenges and difficulties you have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Your continued persistence will pave the way for the property owners and tenants you serve and who are able to achieve their goals because of the courageous decision you made to get in the property management business and serve them.


James Butler

James Butler is Director of Franchise Development at Property Management, Inc. He has built four companies from the start-up phase to over a million dollars in revenue. He is the author of the best-selling book The System is the Secret and helps entrepreneurs take action in their businesses. He and his wife Heather are the parents of five children.