Division of Responsibilities in a Partnership (LA 979)
Steven Butala: Steve and Jill here.
Jill DeWit: Good day.
Steven Butala: Welcome to the Land Academy Show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.
Jill DeWit: And I’m Jill DeWitt broadcasting from sunny Southern California.
Steven Butala: Today, Jill and I talk about the divisions of responsibilities in a partnership.
Jill DeWit: Sounds boring.
Steven Butala: It just occurred to me that this is my all-time favorite way to avoid work is these recording sessions.
Jill DeWit: Who wrote this? Did you come up with this title?
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: It sounds a little-
Steven Butala: Did I write this title?
Jill DeWit: I’m sorry.
Steven Butala: No. My personal assistants and full time staff did.
Jill DeWit: I know. It’s very corporate because you’re not usually a corporate guy. So I’m like division of responsibilities in a partnership.
Steven Butala: It’s not like, hey let’s sit down and see what you’re responsible for and what I’m …. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is I love doing the data and pounding it in the mail, and you and your people love to answer the phone and make these deals happen. That’s what this is all about. It’s not like we sat down and said, “You do that, and I’ll do this.” We just naturally fell into it.
Jill DeWit: Come on, let’s be honest. It was rock-paper-scissors. I lost. I’m just kidding.
Steven Butala: Here’s my big question, and we’ll get into it in a second. If we had to flip roles, would we succeed? If I had to be the wife and you were the husband-
Jill DeWit: Based on my laugh, what do you think?
Steven Butala: I know. [inaudible 00:01:23] the answer.
Jill DeWit: We’ll leave it at that.
Steven Butala: Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the landinvestors.com online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: Luke asked, I would like to know if parcelfact.com, our website that we use for due diligence, may have a GIS function so that there may be a layout … Hold onto this one, this is a good question … So that there may be a layout of all the adjacent and neighboring properties or lots with their addresses. We can use these lots or houses and to check the flood zones, comps, things like that. There’s all kinds of things you can use for the surrounding properties.
Steven Butala: What he’s asking is so when you go onto Parcel Fact, you look up a property. It’s state, country APN. It beautifully pulls up a property, with dimensions and exactly can really make a fast decision about whether or not you want to buy it. What he’s asking is, yeah there’s lots of properties that surround it all over the place. What if I could click on those and know who owns it so maybe I’d buy the property, maybe I’d contact the person next to it and see if they want to sell or buy this property really fast. And the answer is hell, yes. We are probably 30 days away from recording … By the time you hear this, it’ll be a lot less. 30 days-ish, let’s just say 60 from this functionality come into reality.
Jill DeWit: Yep. It’s being created right now.
Steven Butala: It’s something that … This is a great question. It’s one of the reasons I included it. I want this. Everybody does. I want to see who owns the property next door too.
Jill DeWit: It’s awesome. I actually looked at the beta. I was kind of approving it yesterday.
Steven Butala: Shut up. You saw beta?
Jill DeWit: Yeah, we’re way down this path. I got the beta and the only thing what I’m having them do right now is the beta has … I said, “Include everything.” I don’t want just a top 10 statistics. I want a box this long as I hover over that property so I can decide what information I want to extract from that. I don’t want it just to give me the normal ones like the name, the address, the APN, maybe the assessed value and things. I want all of it. I looked at that and I said, “This is great. But right now it’s all in abbreviations.” Right now I said, “Come back to me, give it to us all in not gibberish-
Steven Butala: Not developer speak.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. I just looked at that yesterday. So as a matter of fact-
Steven Butala: Was it cool?
Jill DeWit: Yeah. It’s awesome.
Steven Butala: Was it like, “Wow.”
Jill DeWit: Yeah. It going to be all this. It’s going to be so darn cool.
Steven Butala: Of all the things that you could film and leak to the internet, this would be one of them.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. Just imagine, you go in state, county APN, there’s all your property, and it has … You’re hovering over the property where you pull the property up, you have seller information, you might have mortgage information in there, you have zoning. And like Steven said, the full map and now you’ll be able to hover over and click all around it and go, “That guy owns that?” Oh I see what these are all worth whatever such-
Steven Butala: This is a classic example of the owner of the company is the last person to know. And all the cool stuff passed. It all goes live, and I didn’t even know anything. You know why they do that [crosstalk 00:04:42]. You know why people do that? Because they don’t want the owner’s opinion. And the owner’s only, at this point where we are now, I just slow stuff down.
Jill DeWit: You’re working on other more important things Steven.
Steven Butala: I am actually.
Jill DeWit: You really are.
Steven Butala: This episode, by the way, might be one of those situations where the question is a lot more interesting than the topic. Let’s find out.
Steven Butala: Today’s topic, The Division of Responsibilities in a Partnership. This is the meat of the show. Let’s answer the question. If our roles were reversed … I’m the data person, I’m the mail person, I’m the data scrubber and locating and all that stuff, and you’re the closer and seller. If we reversed our roles tomorrow, could we make this work?
Jill DeWit: Yes.
Steven Butala: I think so too.
Jill DeWit: Would it be as easy? No. Would it be as fun? No. Would it be as profitable? No. Would it be as smooth? Nope. And it certainly would not be as efficient. It would take me longer on the data side, and it would take you longer just getting up the gumption to answer the phone.
Steven Butala: What is this?
Jill DeWit: It’s a bracelet.
Steven Butala: It’s look like a shackle from the 18th century.
Jill DeWit: It’s a bracelet, but somehow whenever I move, it pops off my wrist.
Steven Butala: It looks like handcuffs from the 18th century.
Jill DeWit: You bought me that.
Steven Butala: Oh, I’m supposed to remember that.
Jill DeWit: You buy most of my jewelry.
Steven Butala: Why does it keep falling off [inaudible 00:06:06]?
Jill DeWit: I don’t know. It’s a sign. I don’t know. Break free.
Steven Butala: When your spouse’s jewelry looks like shackles, ask yourself some questions.
Jill DeWit: That’s awesome. All right so-
Steven Butala: I could not have answered the question more exact or more similarly than you did. I think we could do it because that’s who we are. We’re entrepreneurs and we’d get through it and we’d find a way to do stuff. Would it be fun or normal or natural like it is? No.
Jill DeWit: No. I have some other points if you want. As always, I pore over every podcast topic for at least an hour. I sleep on it. I review my notes the next day. But I did spend some time, seriously, thinking … I’m not kidding, I did.
Steven Butala: While you were writing the sentence of the topic title.
Jill DeWit: No.
Steven Butala: Spent some time thinking about it.
Jill DeWit: I wrote some notes. I did really spend some time on this because I do, I like to bring my best self to this show, and I have some things to share. What I thought about this topic is well, number one, about the division of partnerships. There’s always things that one person is better at, and I put use talent was my note. There’s things that, maybe you don’t even like doing it, but you’re good at it, you’re talented at it. You should do it. At least-
Steven Butala: There’s nothing that I’m good at that I don’t like.
Jill DeWit: That’s good. But for some people I’m sure that’s the case. I think some people there are things that like, man, you’re really good at X. I know I am.
Steven Butala: Yeah, there is. There’s some stuff I can’t stand that-
Jill DeWit: You don’t really like it, but you’re really good at it. You’re like-
Steven Butala: Like sports.
Jill DeWit: There you go. Football.
Steven Butala: I’m very good at sports, and I hate playing them.
Jill DeWit: There’s a good example. But you took one for the team, ha, ha, and played in high school. And then it stopped. There’s a good example. You have a partnership, I’m assuming, and you’re listening to this or you’re planning to have a partnership so as you’re doing that, think about the things that you are better at and think about, at least in the beginning, you should be responsible for those things. Don’t make your other person struggle and learn. When it takes you five minutes, it’s going to take them an hour. Do it and then you can train someone. Or hire someone who is also good at that to replace you at some point.
Jill DeWit: The second thing is with dividing up the responsibilities, a reason why you want to do that is you don’t want to be doing double work. What we have learned, you can’t really take your acquisition sheet and draw a line in the middle and go, “You call on those, and I’ll call on those.” They’re doing double work.
Steven Butala: No, geez, no. That would never work.
Jill DeWit: Right. I’m trying to help people here too.
Steven Butala: Here’s how we do it. The anatomy of an acquisition, if you’ve been with us for a couple of years you’ve heard me say this maybe a million times. The anatomy of a deal is exactly the same. It’s never changed since caveman times. There’s acquisitions, engineering and sales, and I’ll even throw in pre acquisitions, which is get the data, choose a county, scrub it all down. Acquisitions, engineering, sales you can visualize it. There’s a certain point where that stops, and I call it pushing it to sales.
Steven Butala: I do the pre acquisition, we get it all in the email, I purchase it. Jill’s involved in purchasing it only to the point where she speaks with the seller to make sure that they’re going to sell. Then we go through the engineering part, which is get it all ready for the internet with pretty maps and videos and stuff, and we push it to sales. From that point forward, I don’t look forward or back. I move on to the next deal. And usually there’s hundreds of these deals going on at the same time, and I don’t care what happens to it. I literally do not care and don’t want to know. Because we trust each other. That’s part of this. And she turns it back into money. I take some money, buy it, make it look pretty, and she converts it back into more money.
Jill DeWit: Thank you. Exactly. And that’s the thing. You don’t want to be doing double work. You want to have an arrangement at some point like that.
Steven Butala: There’s no circumstance where I say, “I was thinking about mailing this one county in Montana. What do you think?” Never. That never happens. She just trusts me. On the flip side at the end where she’s like, “I’m really having trouble selling this thing,” she doesn’t ever think to come to me to talk about it. It’s just a distraction.
Jill DeWit: Wouldn’t that be funny? That would be funny.
Steven Butala: It would be awful.
Jill DeWit: If you said, “Hey Jill, I’m not feeling good. Can you finish this mailer?” And I’d be like, “Sure. Will you follow up on these phone calls for me?”
Steven Butala: By the way, you cannot and should never attempt raising children this way.
Jill DeWit: Hey, did the first two years. It’s your turn.
Steven Butala: Yeah, that’s what I mean. He’s not a baby anymore, and he’s out of diapers. You’re up. I’ll see you when he’s nine.
Jill DeWit: Call me when he’s 18. I’m getting an apartment. Mommy loves you.
Steven Butala: He needs to talk about condoms now. You’re up. I’m going to leave for a couple of years.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. He stinks. Your turn. I was great where there was the puppy phase. Now I’m out.
Steven Butala: That’s actually how it went. That’s how it’s going. This is the truth.
Jill DeWit: That’s kind of true.
Steven Butala: I love the teenage years. I really do.
Jill DeWit: I did the girl.
Steven Butala: Yeah, that’s true.
Jill DeWit: That’s fair. My final point is when you divide up the responsibilities in your partnership, one key thing though is you have to have some form of great communication. And preferably … I want to say something about this … where there’s not a lot of talking. Because-
Steven Butala: God bless you.
Jill DeWit: You do things in a different way in a different pace. And I do things in a different way in a different pace. What’s really great … actually I didn’t tell you this … I’m watching our team develop this skill right now. I’m so thrilled. I have a Head of my IT working with the Head of everything else, and I’m watching them have less communication, less talking, and they have committed to this spreadsheet where they leave questions for each other. They’ve committed to replying to each other in there. They know exactly where they stand, when items are going to be completed, if there’s any hiccup in the process. And then that way too, I don’t have to drop everything at 1:00 because I have a meeting. My time might be best between 3:00 and 4:00 today, and their time might be best between 1:00 and 2:00. They do theirs. I do mine. It just works out beautifully.
Jill DeWit: I was also listening to this too. I was thinking about it because when I listen to the Wharton School of Business in my car on Sirius, and I was listening the other day about-
Steven Butala: You mean between the four blocks between our office and the house. You listen to the radio?
Jill DeWit: Yes, I have a five-minute chunk of time. Exactly right.
Steven Butala: Jill puts her car in first gear, burns the tires off. Just burning rubber for four blocks and then parks it. That’s how far it is.
Jill DeWit: I come in RRR as I slide in.
Steven Butala: Puts 1.2 miles on her car every day.
Jill DeWit: Pretty much, yes. We’ve taken a few trips in my car. I think I put 4,000 miles on my car last year. I was looking at that. It’s kind of funny. Anyway, I’m watching them do that while I was thinking about this company and they were talking about strategies and things that they do because they have employees all over the world. You have to do this. You can’t have a meeting every day when you’re all over the world in different time zones. You have to set up things like this for communication. Anyway, that’s my final point.
Steven Butala: When I was at KPMG and before that, wherever we worked people our age, communication’s a huge thing. This is even before email or email was used but it was only used for certain stuff and nobody really used it or understood it. Communication is part of continuing education constantly and the overtone was the more talking, the better. You’ve got to communicate what you’re doing. You have to constantly tell everybody, “I’m moving from this thing to this thing. I’m going in a little bit of a different direction. What do you think?” Constantly on conference calls. Remember that? You’d sit in a conference room on a conference call, that big spider looking thing is in the middle of the conference room table and everybody’s sitting there talking. That is so far from efficient, it’s ridiculous now. There’s CRMs and ways that people from all over the world can collaborate in a single application to get a transaction done in minutes. And it used to take months.
Steven Butala: I remember an old boss of mine talking about communication before FedEx. You’d either talk on the phone or send something in the mail. The U.S. snail mail. Keep up with those times. Get a partner that’s on the same page about the amount of communication that you need or don’t need. Jill and I are very lucky with that. Even in our personal life. Some guys can get talked to death by women. Literally. Literally they die because they’ve been talked to too much. And some women just sit around smoking a cigarette wondering why their husband never talks to them. You have to choose a partner in life and, all kidding aside, in business that where the communication level everybody just basically understands it.
Jill DeWit: That’s a very good point. You’re right. Thank you.
Steven Butala: Well, you’ve done it again. You spent another 20 minutes or so listening to the Land Academy show. Join us next time for the episode called, How Men and Women Approach Land Investing Differently.
Jill DeWit: Love it. We answer your questions posted on our online community landinvestors.com. It is free.
Steven Butala: You are not alone in your ambition to get a new teleprompter.
Jill DeWit: I’ll share mine. I have one.
Steven Butala: I really can read. I just can’t operate a … never mind. You do have one. Maybe we’ll use yours.
Jill DeWit: I do have one. You can use mine. All good. Wherever you are watching or wherever you’re listening, please subscribe and rate us there.
Steven Butala: We are Steve and Jill. Information-
Jill DeWit: And inspiration-
Steven Butala: To buy undervalued property.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.
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