Every once in a while, I like to take a close look at my business to make sure I’m still reaching my full income and personal potential. Hopefully, you do the same from time to time, because it takes diligence to maintain success for the long haul.
Students of mine know that if something isn’t working well, it means one of three things: their business is underfunded, underexposed, or undermanaged. This basic principle hasn’t changed since I started investing in real estate in 1997.
But how you meet that third requirement – adequate management – has changed a lot, because one of the keys to good management is the productive use of available technology. And boy, has technology changed since 1997!
Do you remember when a car phone was cutting edge, but it was a huge, expensive, ugly block of a thing with a foot-long antenna. There was no texting, and that phone sure didn’t take pictures, or save documents, or keep track of my appointments, or give me directions, or, well, do anything except make a phone call. And even though I was pretty tech-savvy, I was still very dependent on low-tech solutions like filing cabinets and calculators and old-fashioned film cameras.
When I started investing in real estate, and before I developed the systems I now teach, I had paper everywhere. In my office. In my car. On the dining room table. Wherever I was, I had every piece of paper I might possibly want at my fingertips – if I could find it, that is – except the one I actually needed at that particular moment. Sheesh!
And now? What a difference! My iPad and iPhone have allowed me to load my entire life into one small device. My iPad can communicate with my staff, manage my expenses, and give me directions to the next house. It can find neighborhood comps, and take high-quality pictures and video. It can “park” pictures or contracts or handwritten notes in the cloud, so my staff and I can both get to them easily. It can keep my calendar and tell me when I need to be at my son’s hockey game. And most importantly, it can save me enough time to be at that game.
Experts say that people waste an average of 45 minutes per day looking for things they’ve misplaced. I’ve been able to roll so much of my work and personal life into my slim little iPad that I save at least an hour a day. That’s time I can spend looking for prospects, or having lunch with my wife, or hanging out with my kids.
The fact is, these changes in technology have given us productivity potential that was unimaginable 20 years ago. And like it or not, smart use of that technology by your competitors has raised the bar for YOU as well.
Maybe some of you are still resisting 21st century technology. You know who you are. You have a cheap phone that does just one thing – it makes phone calls – and you’re proud of that. You’ve never texted, and you hope you never do. You still have to ask your six-year-old nephew how to send an email. And by gosh, you’re never going paperless, thank you very much.
But wait! Maybe, secretly, you wish you could use some of this new technology to your advantage. Maybe you’re not so happy being stuck in 1993. It’s a real pain in the neck driving back to your office to fetch that contract you forgot. By now, though, you think the technology train left the station so long ago there’s no hope of ever catching up. You wouldn’t even know how to turn on an iPhone, much less put it to good use. Heck, you’re still a little shaky about the faxing thing! Even if you were ready to learn, where on earth would you start?
Or maybe you’re on the other end of the scale: You’re pretty comfortable with your iPad or Android, and you’ve put it to good use, but you wonder if it can do even more than you know.
Well, whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced user, I’ve got some good news for you: Knowledge is power, and it’s there for the asking.
Using an iPad or smartphone isn’t intuitive. It requires training, and patience, and practice. It also requires willingness – the willingness to start at the very beginning and ask lots of questions even if you think they’re really dumb.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be offering inexpensive classes where you can learn how to use an iPad to streamline your life and maximize your profits. If you’re a complete beginner, I’ll start by showing you how to turn it on. Even if you’re an experienced user, you’ll learn some new tricks to improve your productivity, increase profits, and free up more leisure time.
I hope you’ll join me at a session convenient to you. Wherever you get your training, though, please get it, because it’s never too late to start learning – and that technology train isn’t slowing down anytime soon.