Providing Services under Covid-19

It has been awhile since I have written here – mostly because I blog at   There we share lots of ideas on how condominiums can successfully run regardless of what pressure the rest of the world is under.

Today I thought I would share how we are responding on behalf of our clients.  Most of these items we have had in place for at least 6 months and were beginning to roll out to our clients.

  • zoho meeting and webinar.  The webinar approach allows us to have the board act as co-presenters and the condo owners to log in and watch the proceedings.
  • Board briefing books.  An e-book sent to the board about a week to 10 days in advance of the board meeting with all the information they will need to have for the agenda.  This includes the financial statements, committee reports, management reports and suggested motions.
  • E-Voucher system for bill payment.  Some of our association still require a board officer (the treasurer) to counter-sign checks.  Our e-voucher system automatically sends an email to the required board officers to review the documents and then e-sign their approval.  This allows us to then either pay by ACH or check without requiring a business officer to find time to meet with us.
  • Service request system.  Unit owners can go online and report an issue and our system automatically logs it and starts a workflow which takes us all the way through vendor billing.  This includes getting all necessary approvals from our team as well as the board.
  • Our HOA Fiscal system to manage assessments and owner payments.  We designed it to allocate the assessments in accordance with the CC&R’s and ensure that owner payments are easily tracked and recorded against the correct assessment.

The team tracks everything in our database.  And yes, we spent a great deal of time and energy on customizing our CRM system to work this way – but it is so worth it.  Our emails are automatically recorded as well, eliminating the need for any of us to CC another team member.  We record phone calls and can even receive text messages.  All this means that the account manager has everything at his or her fingertips they might need to know what is going on with their assigned client – which leads to more effective and timely decisions.

And we think the best part is that this is at no additional cost to our clients.  By eliminating the non-value added time wasters we can leverage our time more effectively which means more work in the same amount of time per month.  We win – we can work from home and reduce travel time: Clients win – they get superior service with no additional cost.  They can talk to any of us and know that it will be taken care of.

In short, peace of mind for the boards.  They see everything they want to see in order to make the best decision for their association and they know we are on top of everything that is going on.  And all at no additional cost to their association.

If you are a service business and are still trying to meet with clients physically and sending emails to everyone in your organization to try and find a document, perhaps you need to re-evaluate your process.  Consider:

  • Moving away from landlines to virtual phone systems which can tie into your CRM
  • Ensuring you have a project/client work management system which allows you to track the steps your team needs to take and also where you are in the process.
  • Set up a record management system where the team (and maybe even clients) can upload documents so that they are in one place.  Move away from unmanaged record storage on your local or even network drive.  Save it to the database!
  • License Zoom, Gotomeeting, zoho meeting (plug, we use zoho) or some other meeting software which allows you to set up both group meetings, classes, or on-demand one-on-one meetings.  Even within your office, it is superior as you can share documents, jointly change the document, and share screens without having to get out of your chair.  Efficient use of time.
  • Stop sending emails.  License Slack, use Teams, Yammer or the like to let people share ideas in a social way.  Zoho and RingCentral (plug, our phone system) both offer means for us to share documents outside of the database as well as simply have a free exchange outside of email.
  • And lots more.  Everything you are currently doing that takes more than one person to do should be in some sort of workflow/document management system.  Period.  If you don’t want to license something industry specific, use Access and interface with Sharepoint (if you are using Microsoft 365).  Anything but the constant extra work that your current process requires that slows down your ability to respond to clients and keeps you from scaling without extra costs.

Welcome to the new normal.  Take the time to plan and fix one area of your business at a time and you will soon be ready for whatever the future offers you.



One of the more challenging aspects of working from home is to stay motivated and on target.  And there are days where I know that some little step has to be performed and I simply can’t find the desire to do it.  It is 15 minutes out of my day to do something that can’t be avoided but never-the-less requires me to change gears to get it done.

The first thing I needed to do was admit there are times of the day where I am motivated to do things and other times when I am better off following an established pattern.  Writing for instance.  I always write these blogs first thing in the morning.  I am wired on caffeine and have lots of ideas flowing through my head.  I am motivated to get my thoughts down and honestly have a bigger problem with selecting a topic than with coming up with one.

I also recognize that one of the things that motivates me is solving difficult problems.  This is why I enjoy being an auditor and also love doing planning work.  As an auditor my role is to ferret out the truth and make sure that what is in a financial statement is accurate.  It demands a focus on details and putting puzzle pieces together.  Planning requires a passion to look at the bigger picture and oftentimes create the puzzle itself.

A quick segue on planning.  I am about 60% through a major revision of my planning workbook as of last evening.  It takes a model from going directly to consumer to working with middlemen.  Now I have to start filling in the concepts and giving those values.  For instance, going direct requires more marketing and advertising to build brand awareness whereas going through middlemen require more discounts and slotting payments to ensure the middleman gives a product enough love and attention.  And all this to determine how much working capital may be required to get a dream off the ground.

I rely upon mental discipline to do things like tax preparation.  Mental discipline is not the same as motivation although it can ultimately help you get the job done.   I get incredible satisfaction doing audits and working on planning and almost zero finishing a tax return.  I can, however, slog through dozens of returns with no errors and perhaps even flashes of insight but really, I would be ok if I never saw another tax return in my life.

For me, I do the things I enjoy early and late.  I save mid-day for the discipline stuff.  Finishing a blog provides me enough positive energy to get through a few required tasks and then I can finish the day theorizing and documenting how a 2 point change in price might influence a buyers decision.

So, if you find something that gives your work meaning try to find out how to use it to get the other parts of your job completed.  I suggest always starting with a motivating step and then following that with something you find less-motivating.  And then maybe take a break and do something to reward yourself.  For me its the gym but you may want to go to a little coffee shop and read a book for an hour.  Whatever you need to do to get all those little things done when your motivation lags.

Have a great day and enjoy the work.  If you have questions or would like to comment feel free to write me anytime.  And if you are looking for an advisor through your harder business decisions, I would love the opportunity to be of service to you.