In this episode, we're joined by Matt Ryan. Matt has over ten years of experience in real estate and construction and founded his company, re-viv, to re-engineer residential and commercial real estate in underserved communities.
In this episode, we discuss some of the struggles and lessons Matt learned along his entrepreneurial journey including how ego can get in the way of success, time management and delegation, documenting processes and procedures, the importance of an outbound recruiting process, and much more.
Why Start re-viv?
Matt began in construction in energy efficiency. He began as a subcontractor for commercial and residential homes and eventually was working in multifamily as well. After growing this business in energy efficiency for a several years, he was surveying the industry and realized he may not enjoy the direction of the future. Matt saw the industry plateau a bit, some business began slowing down, and the solar business was really picking up.
At this juncture, Matt dove into real estate. He was interested in all aspects of real estate, so he founded re-viv to serve all facets by focusing on improving communities in general. This is broad but also allows re-viv to control all areas such as property management, broker responsibilities and the transaction side, and contractor responsibilities.
Specifically, Matt saw the rise of gentrification, private investment, private value-add investment, and external market forces coming in to certain areas. Matt was looking to preserve some areas while also delivering a competitive return.
"It was just me. I hired a virtual assistant off of Upwork, I mapped together what I thought was a business plan at the time, and I just kind of started running in the direction."
He knew the basics of what he needed, and he decided to just run with it.
Time Management and Delegation
As a contractor, Matt was faced with the two responsibilities of needing to perform fieldwork and bill hours on the job in addition to the work on the office side trying to manage, grow, and scale the business. He was looking at how to remove himself from the business.
He came across a concept about how everyone has just a handful of things that they do really well. In this digital age with instant access, many feel like they can and should do anything and everything, especially when starting a small business. Many entrepreneurs feel like they must extend themselves across the entire business to ensure everything is done their certain way.
"As I've gotten older, the biggest lesson that I've learned is to get out of the way. More often than not, especially if you're moving towards profitability or you're generating revenue, and you're starting to feel some momentum in your business... you're becoming the problem, because inevitably you're the backlog for a lot of potential growth as well. You're trying to manage so many different things that you can't truly be effective."
How to figure out what to keep doing: 11:15 "Think about what you do on a daily basis when you really feel like a) you were truly productive in that activity and b) you're drawn to it."
"There's a whole layer of work beneath your expertise and your knowledge that you can more than likely outsource for $25-$35 dollars an hour... You really have to decipher "what is your time worth"."
It's important to realize which activities are the best use of your time and which activities are best delegated.
"Take the things that bother you and are taking your mental capacity, and get them off your plate. If you're an entrepreneur, there can be hundreds, if not thousands, of things a day that can inundate you. Have that mentality capacity to really execute on the things you need to execute on."
You've got to take the time to figure out where you're headed, and it may help to break that down into quarters and years to ensure you're thinking forward and planning for the future. A big difficulty here is properly staffing. It's tough to hire early, possibly up to 6 months early, to ensure you can handle future demand and that no individual team member is consistently working over capacity. If this can be done successfully, then team members have more time to devote to client experience and to training. These areas will both significantly help growth occur organically. You must drop your margins and inject that capital to add the right staff in advance of when you expect the staff to be operating at full capacity.
Hiring and Interviewing
Matt believes it's most important to document all processes and make sure the expectations and procedures are organized and laid out clearly for the new hire.
In the interview, Matt likes to use concepts and questions from the book Who: The A Method for Hiring
The book gives a format for hiring and interviewing. The interview process becomes very specific and detailed. You're going to want to get into someone's work history and have them explain it to you. Many entrepreneurs are excited about explaining the company and the job and they end up talking throughout the entire interview. When you can get the potential hire to talk about their work history, you can get a strong representation of the individual.
"You're really understanding what someone's aspirations are for their career, how it aligns with their skills, and then how what you're offering aligns and backs into that skillset. After that, it makes it a really easy yes or no."
Matt goes through their entire work history, job by job, chronologically since college. He asks about that hiring process, the job description, their biggest accomplishments, and the biggest problems. This discussion is going to lead to other questions and talking points and offer lots of relevant information.
A good way to hire is to use personal and referral networks. Job posting websites can be good, but it's often difficult to find great and specific matches. On LinkedIn, this information is readily available and contact is easy - Matt found legitimate qualified candidates on LinkedIn and this became his preferred method. It's likely that application numbers are lower and applicants are much better qualified on LinkedIn.
Matt also believes that culture fit is largely a function of chemistry, specifically between the individuals that interact regularly. Above that, business owners should consider choosing two or three adjectives that describe culture and then use those to determine a fit.
Objective Key Results System
Derived from the book: Measure What Matters
High-level, overarching goals are set and comprised of smaller key results. Key results are the 'blocking and tackling'. Each individual is responsible for a key result and this is reviewed on a weekly basis. How important and relevant is each key result? The key result will tie in directly to the high-level, overarching goals. Monitoring the progress of the key results will help manage along the way.
"What makes you entrepreneurial is you're constantly questioning things... it's important to turn off the noise... and look at what you're doing personally with your time, and your energy, and how you're spending it - you need to."
Learn more about Matt and his work: https://re-viv.com/team/, or reach out to Matt directly.