I recently came across an article that uses a mnemonic device to help folks develop new ideas to innovate products and processes across all fields of industry and life in general.  The means for doing so, that I will briefly discuss below, can be found in more depth in the original article, but I’ll apply it here to property managers specifically.  So, I encourage readers to visit the original article to explore the psychological explanations provided.

Here’s the mnemonic device:

SCAMPER
S = Substitute?
C = Combine?
A = Adapt?
M = Magnify? = Modify?
P = Put to other uses?
E = Eliminate?
R = Rearrange? = Reverse?

SCAMPER is based on the notion that everything new is some addition or modification of something that already exists. You take a subject and change it into something else. (E.g., drilled petroleum becomes chemical feedstock becomes synthetic rubber becomes automobile tires. Natural gas becomes polyethylene becomes milk jugs. Mined ore becomes metal becomes wire becomes parts of a motor.) You can take anything that exists and change it into a new idea.

Now, how can this be a property management mnemonic you may ask…

What parts of your day to day activities in managing your properties could you change (applied to the types of changes below) to make your business more efficient and profitable?

S = Substitute?  

  • Rent checks substituted by online payments.
  • Mail notices/general correspondence substituted by email contact.
  • Self-service portals for tenants and owners.  Let  them get their own info when they need it, answer their own questions.

C = Combine?

  • Combine tenant info, contact info, correspondences, work orders, etc. into a CRM that organizes and makes life easier for you and your employees (thus promoting greater efficiency and increased profitability).  Having all your information in one place where information can be shared and used between the various aspects of your business will allow for many new opportunities.

A = Adapt?

  • When I think of “Adapt”, technology and new processes come to mind.  Staying on the leading edge with technology will help your company to remain the most efficient.

M = Magnify? = Modify?

  • “Magnify,” in this context, is a great concept.  All of these ideas for increasing efficiency and profitability can produce the capability to magnify the scope and volume of your business.  In doing so, it would be up to the individual property manager as to how he/she would modify his/her activities, business, and relationships in order to grow their businesses in the best ways they see fit.

P = Put to other uses?

  • The first thought I had on this “letter” would be how you can put your employees to new/different uses to grow your business rather than using increased efficiency to cut back on the number of employees, and thus costs.
  • Find new uses for the employees you already have.  Maybe an internet savvy manager in your company could devote time to manage new internet marketing campaigns, new market research, prospective investments, etc.

E = Eliminate?

  • This could be a great cost saver…AND NO…I do NOT mean eliminate employees (unless that’s what you have been looking to do in the first place).
  • Eliminate time spent on tedious, individual emails, calls, letters, unorganized file cabinets, etc.  This opportunity to greatly increase efficiency w/ Property Management Software (that would also act as a CRM) could eliminate many of the time consuming, mundane aspects of your daily work…leaving time for you to build more personalized customer relations, or just extra free time.

R = Rearrange? = Reverse?

  • Simply put…rearrange the way your organization works by employing the suggestions above.
  • Online Property Management Software can rearrange your files AUTOMATICALLY (contacts, tenant info, due dates and delinquencies, etc…).
  • Reverse your stress and struggle into enjoyable progress and greater profits!
What other ideas can you think of to apply to the SCAMPER device?  Have you already implemented some of these concepts into your business?  If so, how are they working for you?  Change isn’t always an easy thing to embrace in an organization, but when applied effectively it can dramatically improve efficiency.

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