I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the concept of balance lately, and how it’s central to practically every part of my life, from my health and family, to my financial well-being, work, and spirituality. Day-by-day, I strive to keep all of these parts of my life in balance.
Balance is also a guiding principle in how I approach business. As an entrepreneur, investor, business partner, and boss, there are so many pieces I need to keep in balance in order to grow my company in a meaningful way. I like to think of what we do at GSH Group as “multifamily real estate investing with a conscience.” In other words, we aim to approach every aspect of our business — from the way we develop our properties to our employment practices to our investor partnerships — with intentionality and impact top of mind. It’s a helpful North Star, but it certainly can make achieving balance even more challenging. Too much focus on generating revenue and our team-building may not get the energy it deserves. All of our time spent bringing new investors into our network and our current partners may feel underserved. The list goes on.
After years of practicing this very delicate dance, here are a few key things I’ve learned to help find balance in business:
1 | Find great business partners.
The work we do at GSH Group spans across investor relations, property acquisition, asset management, property development, and construction. Within each of these sectors, there are seemingly hundreds of considerations to think about on any given day. It would be impossible for one person to navigate all of these moving parts without getting off-balance. That’s where partnership comes into play: my business partners Shmuel and Hannan have extensive backgrounds in real estate investment, entrepreneurship, and marketing, and we’re each able to trust one another’s expertise and leverage our strengths to keep the business running smoothly.
This lesson applies both internally and when it comes to finding external collaborators. In order to operate at the highest level — and keep everything in balance — we understand that there are certain things that can be better achieved through outsourced partnerships. One example of this is our relationship with Beztak, a family-owned property management firm whose like-minded approach helps us achieve our vision of placing our investors and residents at the forefront of every decision.
2 | Don’t just train your employees: empower them.
Similarly, I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to achieve balance in business is through team development. From your executive team to your entry-level employees, think less about your team as people to train and manage and instead, shift your focus towards empowerment. Of course I want our team to accomplish the tasks set before them, but I’ve learned that people will actually work harder when they’re given the chance to contribute to the greater vision and when they feel supported, listened to, and valued rather than micromanaged. Developing a passionate team not only keeps our business in balance — it helps us thrive.
3 |Focus on your “why” and the revenue will come.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in business (and in life, really) is that it can’t just be all about money. Maybe that’s ironic considering that I run a real estate investment company, but I firmly believe it is a driving factor in why investors want to participate in our fund in the first place. Yes, we want to make smart investments, and yes, we want to see solid returns, but I’ve come to the realization that these financial results actually become more accessible when decisions are made with a mission in mind, and not just dollars.
At GSH Group, our “why” is to earn superior returns for our investors and provide affordable homes for our country’s essential workers. Every decision we make is based first and foremost on that why. In practice, this looks like acquiring existing apartment properties and investing in the necessary upgrades to make them good quality, comfortable residences. This looks like investing in great property management so our community members feel taken care of on a daily basis. This looks like investing in ongoing communication so our investors and residents are always supported. Each of these decisions carries a financial cost, but they also enable us to improve resident retention, increase our property values over time, help our investors put their wealth towards something meaningful, and ultimately, see positive returns year after year.
4 | Create a business model that supports your “why.”
There are so many avenues for real estate investment, and we could easily expand our portfolio to include commercial properties and new construction if we wanted to. But again, I come back to our “why.” Focusing on our mission allows us to refine our business practices so that we stay in balance. Our model of investing in and upgrading existing multifamily properties helps us balance our bottom line with positive impact. This model allows us to achieve a smaller environmental footprint than new construction, to offer comfortable yet affordable homes for essential workers and their families, to create a sense of community in areas that may have been ignored, and to empower our investors to contribute towards something meaningful.
Whether you are an accomplished CEO or an aspiring entrepreneur, I hope these lessons prove helpful as you find balance in your own business and make a positive impact in your own community.