Editor’s Note: A Change Could Do You Good

By Diana Mosher, Editor-in-ChiefYesterday President Barack Obama unveiled a plan to help the small business sector deal with the current credit crisis. Small businesses generate about 70 percent of new job growth every year, but even enterprises with good credit histories are having trouble obtaining capital to expand or meet costs. Acknowledging the critical role that small businesses will play in the economic recovery, President Obama announced that the Treasury Department will spend up to $15 billion to boost lending to small businesses.  For full details click here.Credit worries aside, small businesses are sometimes envied for their ability to be agile and to change the game plan to respond to market conditions. Whether you manage one apartment community or 20, an agile strategy can make all the difference in how you weather adversity and emerge stronger than before from the downturn. Now’s the time to take a careful look at what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and the processes your team has in place to achieve your common objectives.Agility can be fostered in companies of all sizes. MHN recently talked to three giants of the industry who have implemented changes quickly as they steer their enterprises through these uncertain times. Investment in technology that renters want emerged as an actionable objective along with restructuring and the desire to focus on core competencies.“We’re looking forward strategically, and we’re selectively trimming our overhead to reflect the realities of the next few years and the opportunities beyond,” W. Dean Henry, President, Legacy Partners Residential Inc., told MHN. “We have reduced our payroll by about 30 percent in the past six months in an effort to evolve back into a property and asset management company and exit the development acquisition model we have pursued for the past 10-15 years. I believe we will be more profitable as a result.” MHN also talked to Jeffrey Friedman, President and CEO of Associated Estates Realty Corp. and Tom Bozzuto, Co-Founder and CEO of The Bozzuto Group. Click here to read the article. Just as important as agility is the ability to recognize ideas that are working in other industries—and experiment with them in the multifamily sector. For example, Trillium was inspired by the hospitality sector when outfitting a series of “Great Rooms” at their Arizona communities. Click here to read MHN’s coverage of this concept.These forward-thinking common areas extend renters’ living space dramatically and offer the social experience that Gen X and Gen Y residents crave. Most importantly for Trillium, it has a new marketing tool with which to set itself apart from other brands in its market. What are you doing to differentiate your property, attract and retain residents? Please drop me a line at Diana.mosher@nielsen.com and we’ll share your story with MHN’s readers. A change (in game plan) could do you good.