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Discover how SouthSide Property Management achieved remarkable business growth while achieving a healthy work-life balance. Explore their journey with ActionCOACH, from founding principles to team development, and learn how they're building a prosperous future in the property management industry.

SouthSide Property Management had already established strong foundations in the Edinburgh property community, having been set up by experienced landlord John Davidson in 2009. With his deep passion for business, John found himself devoting upwards of 100 hours a week working, meaning he was missing out on precious time with his young family. Being a firm believer in the power of coaching, John is still just as invested in the business but has developed a team to be truly proud of, all while he spends less time working, in part thanks to his local Action Coach.


The SouthSide Story: Founding Principles and Growth

John set up SouthSide Property Management in 2009 after identifying that landlords and tenants were being overcharged in a number of different ways. These ‘hidden costs’ inspired John to set up his business in a manner that was based on fairness and transparency. This has continued to be a unique selling point for the business, which has acted as a driver for consistent growth and client retention.

Drawing upon a history of seeking guidance from mentors and business coaches, John was no stranger with the services ActionCOACH offered. Through mutual connections, he crossed paths with his local Action Coach and was intrigued to explore the ways in which his expertise could benefit SouthSide.

 BizX Awards 1

Team Building with ActionCOACH

Amidst John investing so much into the business, he found himself constrained by time, making him unable to lead the team’s development. On ActionCOACH’s initial involvement with the team John says, “I’ve always believed in the advantages of internal staff development. Unfortunately, I regularly have too much on my plate to devote the time I’d like to it, so introducing the quality service ActionCOACH delivers to the team was a no-brainer.

“At first, our local Action Coach came in and delivered monthly leadership sessions. These had a tremendous effect on my colleagues, Cat and Leah. We’ve enlisted ActionCOACH’s help since late 2016 and continue to invest in their support due to how successful it has been.”

The primary objective was to influence the leadership qualities within the team. Cat Dalrymple, the Head of Development, has worked closely with their Action Coach.

“I’ve always looked forward to our leadership sessions. I consistently feel like I’ve walked away from them gaining valuable information. Sometimes it may be a simple tip, but you can see the benefits of putting it into practise straight away. One of those things is maintaining an up-to-date schedule just so no task gets forgotten, no matter how busy it gets.”

Their initial Coach also brought on board the assistance of a fellow Action Coach to provide the SouthSide team with an array of new perspectives and valuable business insights.

“The advice they can provide is specific to our business and ourselves. After many years of working together, they know our strengths and weaknesses so we can really work on what needs to happen to ensure the business continues to run smoothly.”

Team Building with an Action Coach


Returning to Core Principles

Since establishing itself as a major player in the Edinburgh property market, SouthSide has stuck closely to its core principles of Safe, Happy and Sustainable. “Sticking to your principles in business is vital as they serve as the foundation for your identity and reputation in the community,” said John.

“What we’d noticed, around the same time as our Action Coach joined us, was that we’d strayed away from our principles somewhat. That’s not to say the business had lost its identity but I don’t think we were implementing them as much as we could.

“With our Action Coach’s help, we reintroduced our values into all aspects of our day-to-day operations at SouthSide. They made sure we were talking about them in team meetings regularly, just so our team would remember how important our values are to us as a business.”


A New Lease on Life: Achieving Work-Life Balance

The priority for John was to improve his work-life balance so he could spend more time with his family. From starting the business, to the birth of his first son in 2013, John had been putting in over 100 hours per week. ActionCOACH’s work with SouthSide had an overarching goal to help John continue to scale down his workload as he looks to take a step back from the business in the future.

“The number of hours I was putting into the business was unsustainable. I’d managed to trim it down a little after my son was born but I was struggling to find a work-life balance. When ActionCOACH came in, they really helped me reduce my hours closer to 70-80 hours a week. Alongside their leadership and management coaching, which really helped develop the team’s management abilities, they suggested carrying out regular one-to-one meetings with staff so we could build a clearer picture of how the business was operating. 

“The hard work definitely paid off! We’ve grown every year since we started in 2009. Even during our toughest time through COVID, when a fifth of our properties were vacant for around 2-3 months, we still managed to achieve 2% growth.

“Now I’m looking to decrease my hours to 50-60 a week consistently. I feel confident we have built a team that will continue to be successful with less and less input from me. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the business flourishes whilst I can enjoy more time with my family and on other projects.”

The SouthSide Property Team


Future Expansion and Business Evolution

SouthSide’s flourishing business model and their standing in the community were central to them winning the award for Best Service-based Business at BizX 2023. Now, their focus shifts towards two key developments: expansion and the futureproofing of the business with John’s intention to gradually step back from his business.

“We’ve come a long way since 2009 but we don’t want to stop there! We are always looking for ways to help. In 2022, at a time when housing was in high demand for our clients, we completed 34 property refurbishments for clients and added 42 bedrooms to existing dwellings, this is roughly equivalent to 16 new properties. We hope to add around 200 properties per year to our portfolio. From this expansion, we aim to increase our income and number of properties by 50% by 2027. 

“It’s so important to establish a solid foundation for the future – whether that be through our bespoke software management system or through the professional development of our people. But one thing is clear, if you want to ready your business for a successful future, you should be working with experts.”

Houses in Scotland


The Coach's Perspective: Building Success and Trust

“It was clear very early on how much of an exceptional businessman John is. When coaching at SouthSide, I knew I wouldn’t be a knight in shining armour, coming in to make drastic changes to turn the business’ fortunes around! Sometimes there are more subtle changes that take a good business to great. In this case, the team has grown to allow John time to concentrate on the areas of the business he’s prioritised while trusting them to take care of the rest. The client-coach relationship we started has grown to in a strong, trusting friendship.”


Transform Your Business and Life with Coaching

Are you inspired by John's journey with SouthSide Property Management?  

You too can achieve substantial business growth while creating a harmonious work-life balance. Take the first step toward your own success story today. Start your coaching journey with ActionCOACH and unlock your full potential for growth and balance.

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