Running an association like a business is worth the effort.
Operating a successful business is easier said than done, especially a business that is run primarily by volunteer homeowners, who may have the passion, but may not have the experience or skill set to bring to the table. But association board members benefit from engaging in certain organizational and business practices to ensure that their association is running smoothly and effectively, like a core-competent organization.
In her book, Mastering the Business of Your Association, PeytonBolin founder Jane Bolin explores the many issues regarding why most community association boards aren't working as well as they should and could. By following her targeted core operating practices and guidelines, any organization can run more like a successful business.
Community associations are defined as nonprofits; however, like a business, these associations are responsible for budgets and bank accounts that can be quite large. Associations must also maintain and hire management and staff, and select a variety of vendors. Associations are on the forefront of maintaining (or increasing) the community's property values and quality of life, and elected officers are entrusted to put the well-being of the association above their own personal gain. Officers and board members should abide by the same rules they are enforcing. That is “good” and legal business protocol.
Successful business boards are not driven by emotion; therefore, neither should community associa-tions be driven by “feelings” that will inevitably compromise results. Why do association officers and board members, many of which are successful in their own business arenas, become emotional asso-ciation members? It's personal. It is their home. Having outside resources, like general counsel or a Community Association Manager, can help keep organizational practices and rules in focus. These trusted advisors focus on facts, which mitigate emotion, and bring the business at hand back into view.
Most community association board members volunteered for positions because they care about fi-nances. No homeowner wants maintenance charges to rise or property quality to diminish. Yet, the truth is, without regular and prudent investing (spending money), property values will decline, and maintenance charges will soar. Smart businesses know they must spend money to make money. So too should association boards. Maintaining landscaping and common areas, carrying the proper insur-ance policies, and thoroughly researching contractors before committing to repair projects are all ways to invest in the association, and its homeowners, while still being fiscally prudent.
At PeytonBolin, we understand that operating community associations can be complicated. That's why our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys are here to help with all aspects of running your association as a successful business.