Matt Brigden (President of Cypress and Associates) visited our Property Management class to talk about the skills or characteristics needed to be, and the problems of being, a good property manager. He talked about his own entrepreneurial path to become a leading property manager in Kingston Ontario. Since one of the necessary skills is “people skills,” it is not surprising that he is gregarious and enjoys sharing ideas with students.
The number 1, most important characteristic, according to Matt, is that you must be passionate about what you do whatever you do. In several examples, he demonstrated how passion leads to constant improvements which leads to a good outcome.
In spite of that advice, it is also important to be willing to bail if a project is not working out after a decent amount of time; what the serial entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley might call “failing fast, failing early”. Some things are not meant to be.
He offered a number of stories about the importance of being nice and surrounding yourself with nice people:
- life is too short to deal with a “tenant from hell” (he claims that they are easy to detect though I think that 30 years of experience and occasional mistakes make it easy now).
- he once fired 5 percent of his clients (i.e. landlords that he was working for) who took up 19 percent of his time
- Karma’s a bitch
He noted that the advice “think outside of the box” is common and valid. His in-class exercise on this point was instructive (and taught me something about the students). He did not mention that one advantage of being an entrepreneur is that, as Richard Branson said, “You will never have to think outside the box if you never let anyone build one around you.”