What’s Your PLATFORM? And more….

Blog # 203 Copyright 2012 15 July 2012

Perspective. ‘Landlease communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities,& before that, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’ GFA

What’s Your PLATFORM?

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Thanks for Sharing Your Formulae, Rules of Thumb & Measures!

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64,500 new HUD Code Homes in 2012 Slips to 63,875…

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I.

What’s Your PLATFORM?

One of the exciting new books released during 2012 is Michael Hyatt’s PLATFORM, ‘Get Noticed in a Noisy World’, a “step – by – step guide for anyone with something to say or sell”. It’s published by Thomas Nelson and ISBN number is 978-1-59555-503-8. I heartily recommend it to every businessman and woman needing a PLATFORM, “…the means by which you connect with your existing and potential fans”, would be (home buying) customers, (consulting) clients, followers, and more. P.xvi

Hyatt claims, to be successful in today’s business environment, you need two things: a compelling product (or service) and a significant PLATFORM. Why? Presence of greater competition and more distracted customers.

Early on he extols the importance and vitality of WOW, relative to one’s product or service, naming these ten elements: surprise, anticipation, resonance (i.e. ‘touches one’s heart’), transcendence, clarity, presence (i.e. timeliness), universality, evangelism, longevity, privilege. Pp. 8-10 And concludes with “…once you learn the distinction between WOW and not – wows, it is difficult to be satisfied with anything else.” P.16

Why isn’t a universal and overwhelming WOW factor germane to the MHIndustry and LLCommunity asset class? Take your pick or combination of these common obstacles:

• We simply run out of time. In other words, if ‘Proper prior planning prevents poor performance!’- as an industry, we simply haven’t been planning properly or at all!

• We don’t have enough resources. For example: staffing and or money.

• We don’t have sufficient experience. “Our vision exceeds our know how.”

• Too often, we acquiesce to the committee. Collective judgment trumps us!

• But the biggest obstacle of all is fear. “Previous four items are but excuses. If we had enough courage, we would find the time, the resources, the experience. We would stand up to the committee. We wouldn’t stand for anything less than WOW!” p.18

Hmm. Do these obstacles, particularly the last one, remind us of where we’ve already been, and what we’ve failed to accomplish, ‘image improvement and product promotion wise’, during the past decade, despite efforts by some individuals, and routine acquiescence to ‘committee’ influence? Maybe the Manufactured Housing Institute needs to invite Michael Hyatt to the next MHCongress as a keynote presenter, to challenge and allay our fears.

Moving right along. The author, on page # 20, describes the six steps it does take to make WOW happen during PLATFORM building. But you’ll have to read to book to learn them….

Then I picked up on a new acronym: PINC. Specifically, when it comes to giving one’s product or service a memorable name, it must “…do at least one of the following: make a Promise, create Intrigue, identify a Need, or simply share the Content. Hence, ‘PINC the name’!.

And when preparing one’s PLATFORM presentation, or 30 – 120 second ‘elevator speech’, ensure it’s “…a short summary of…product (or service) offering, including target market…and value proposition (i.e. What’s offered those customers).” P.41
When it comes to PLATFORM building, the author focuses on five basic branding tools: email address, email signature, business card*1 and website (designs), and social media profiles. Pp. 45 – 47

And for readers who haven’t blogged before, there’s a core of useful knowledge on this subject, relative to templates, ideas for topics, protecting intellectual property, and much more, actually 50 pages worth. See pages 75 – 123

A surprise for me, was reading how “Tribe building is the new marketing!” How to build a tribe? Hyatt’s suggestions: identify your true passion; volunteer to lead among those with like passion, be generous, and provide a means to communicate. P. 129

There’s even more to this book. In fact, I’ve already decided it’s well worthy of another read – through, just as soon as I finish a couple other books that are awaiting my attention. And it’s not a quick read, if one is intent on absorbing the Lessons Learned, described therein. But the, is anything ‘truly worthwhile’ ever a quick read? I don’t think so. GFA

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II.

Thanks for Sharing Your Formulae, Rules of Thumb & Measures!

Former St. Louis, Missouri, independent ‘street’ MHRetailer and landlease community owner, Bob Bross, Sr., suggests this witty Rule of Thumb for all of us:

‘When your outgo exceeds your income; your upkeep becomes your downfall!

Now that’s apt and cute at the same time. Any more gems ‘out there’ blog floggers?

And how ‘bout these two Rules of Thumb from our industry/asset class’ landscape architect par excellence, Don Westphal, RV/MH Hall of Fame Member:

‘If you can farm it, you can build a manufactured home community on it!’

Don goes on to explain, “Farmers till the best land available even though it has topography that, in other parts of the country, would be left untilled. Same holds true with wet areas or poor soils. Farmers avoid those areas, preferring to farm land they can access on a year – round basis.”

And he says: “Make the homes (rental homesites) parallel to the contours of the land.”

This practice can result in substantial savings in earthwork, and eliminates need for retaining walls, when home sites are arranged perpendicular to land contours in steeper topography.” To contact Don Westphal, phone (248) 651-5518

Jay Zandman, with Manning & Nozick Insurance Agency in Atlanta, GA., offers this Rule of Thumb reminder to landlease community acquirers and owners/operators, that “…any buyer obtaining seller financing, should request a flood plane determination. All financial lenders pull one, as part of their due diligence process. A buyer might not think of this, if obtaining owner financing. FEMA is redoing flood maps, during the next couple years. A landlease community that wasn’t in a flood plane several years ago, may well be in one now!” Reach Jay, for insurance quotes, via (800) 211-0468 X 117.

There were a few more, that you’ll read about in the Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb, & Helpful Measures, once I get it written. In the meantime, if you have formulae, Rules of Thumb, and measures you’d like to share for possible inclusion in this new ‘book of numbers’, send them to me via contacts at end of this blog posting. In the meantime, to reserve a copy of the book, for yourself, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. And if you haven’t yet registered for the upcoming 21st annual Networking Roundtable, ask for an agenda and brochure when you call, or visit the website: community-investor.com

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64,500 new HUD Code Homes in 2012 Slip to 63,875…

One of the first responses to last week’s blog topic, ‘How Many New HUD Code Homes to be Shipped During 2012?’, went like this:

“64,500 is depressing to those of us who were working in the industry in 1972. Let’s go! The regrowth and rehabbing of our industry starts with a first bite of the elephant.”

OK, I’m ready to ‘bite’, but where and how deeply? While it’s certainly encouraging to see month – after – month improvement in new home shipment numbers, I’m only cautiously optimistic it’s going to last for the long haul, unless relaxed borrower qualifying standards return to chattel (personal property) finance loan origination and underwriting – NOT; and this natural gas ‘fracking’ phenomenon grows into other regions of the U.S. – MAYBE.

In the meantime, we’re stuck with looking at our month by month new home shipment totals, supplied by the Manufactured Housing Institute via its’ ‘Monthly Economic Report’. For example, this paragraph in the 10 July 2012 report:

“The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of shipments was 55,982 in May 2012,up 6.3 percent from the rate of 52,642 in April 2012. The SAAR corrects for normal seasonal variations in shipments and projects annual shipments based on the current monthly total.”

So, where did I get the bold ‘plus 10,000’ number of ‘64,455 new HUD Code homes shipped during 2012’ estimate, published in last week’s blog posting here? Simply took the 18,131 ‘thru May’ shipments, compared to 2011 year end total of 51,618 and extrapolated for a 2012 year end total, using the 22,640 May shipments reported in last week’s MHI report. Answer? 64,455. For the sake of accurate reporting, the May 2011 figure reported as 18, 131 last week was reported as 18,125 this week; and the May 2012 figure reported as 22,640 last week, was reported as 22,627 this week. No big deal, likely a tweaking for increased accuracy.

This week’s estimate of annual shipments of new HUD Code homes, by the end of 2012? Down a notch, from 64,455 to 63,875. This extrapolated mathematical calculation and its’ result are not in accords, apparently, with SAAR methodology mentioned; but not parsed in detail in a previous paragraph of this week’s blog posting.

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End Note.

1. For blog floggers (readers) interested in business card design, front and back; call the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to request a FREE, eight panel, plastic wallet card summary, titled: Is Your Business Card a Keeper? This is a synopsis of the book on ‘business card design’ we’ve not yet published. Eight panels summarize ’10 Business Card Design Considerations for the Front of Your Card’ AND ‘50 Business Card Design Ideas for the Reverse, Back, or Verso Side of Your Business Card!’ Ask for it; you’ll be glad you did….GFA

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry,
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class &
Affordable Housing Purists & Enthusiasts Nationwide
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247 (317) 346-7156

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