Frustration to Success
January 1 2004
David Bateman is the first to admit that his wife deserves much of the credit for his company, Property Solutions International, Inc., receiving the best business plan award from Fortune Small Business magazine. The upstart property management software firm in Provo, Utah, bested 56 different teams from MBA programs around the country to win the award.
After watching his wife, a property manager, struggle with paper ledgers to record rent payments each month, Bateman, who was working on a degree in business administration at Brigham Young University, decided to take action. In addition to his wife's list of problems, he survey 450 management companies about their problems. Bateman developed the software with his partners, Jeramy Morrill and Ben Zimmer. He and Zimmer handled the management of the company, while Morrill designed the user interfaces and the flow of the software.
The software requires apartment firms to add properties and residents into the system. Property managers then create a Web site where residents can pay their rent or submit maintenance requests online. "The beauty of the Web site is that it's perfectly integrated with the management software," Bateman says.
This should save property managers a lot of time, he adds. "Since the resident can take care of the rent, all the manager has to do is click a button and see who has paid," Bateman explains.
At the time of the Fortune Small Business contest, Bateman already had 57 clients. This, combined with the business experience demonstrated in his business plan (Bateman had past success in starting a Web-based company), gave him a tremendous advantage over the other competitors, says Verne Harnish, one of the judges in the contest. "It's clear that the business plan had been written by someone who had been in business before," he adds.