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Inside Self-Storage Magazine

Posted in Articles, Archive

Dear Waldmans: Most of my adult life I have worked in the self-storage business, and I presently manage a facility. Recently, I attended a management seminar hosted by several different speakers. I found the first speaker to have great concepts. In fact, he was so fascinating that I found myself anxious to get back to my facility to try some of his techniques.

The second speaker was a different story, though, as I quickly became bored with his presentation; he just could not outshine the first. Realizing it probably wouldn't be wise to leave before the third and final speaker had his say, I settled in for his story. I stayed, but then I was really confused. This guy was flamboyant and had recommendations that were totally opposite the first one, but very exciting.

After listening to the first speaker, I was absolutely positive about what steps I should follow in renting a unit. Whoops! Then the second one had me extremely bored, while the third had me going in a completely different direction. I was thoroughly confused. I found myself grabbing information, without being sure what to do with it. There were so many directions to choose from. How do I decide which method is best for my business?

--Stuck in New Orleans

Dear Stuck in New Orleans: Whether it's the purchase of a new vehicle, a new television or what to eat for supper, we have to make difficult decisions every day. While those decisions may cause stress in our lives, we're lucky to have so many choices. Confusion occurs when we worry about making the right choice. It is important to feel comfortable with your decision because you like it, not because someone else liked it. Never select something if you have doubts. Most likely, you will not be happy about your choice.

Seminars can be exciting and offer valuable tips. Just remember never to sacrifice a long-term image for short-term profit, because your external image is crucial to your company's success. When attending seminars, try to learn a little from each one. Educating ourselves through different resources is always valuable. There are no wrong ways, just different ways. The really winning way is to be open to learning new things. A lot of people won't even try to do something that is foreign to their already-established routine. If we take what we like from this one and that one, then we can establish our own new way. That's the excitement of seminars.

New trends and new ideas always jazz up your business. It makes the day-to-day operation of a facility new and exciting--new products, new technologies and new ways of doing the same things. Choices really make life less boring. Ask questions during and after the seminars, if possible. Participate and talk with the experts. You'll return to the office invigorated and surprised at how the day-to-day procedures look different. Finally, develop all you have learned into a creative successful new way of operating your business. Remember, we can learn something new every day. Just look and listen. The world is full of valuable choices.

A father-daughter team, Stanley and Jill Waldman are self-storage owners/operators and attorneys. In addition, Ms. Waldman holds a master's degree in labor and employment law from Georgetown University. Together they have co-authored a number of books on self-storage operations, including Getting Started in the Self-Storage Business, Self-Storage Business Management Forms, The Policy & Procedure Manual for the Self-Storage Business, Selling Your Self-Storage Business and The South Carolina Tools Manual for Self-Storage Operators.

Comments and questions may be sent to: Ask The Waldmans, P.O. Box 21416, Charleston, SC 29413; or via their Web site:

Editor's Note: Views and opinions on legal matters are those of the authors. Professional counsel should be obtained before any determination or positive action is taken.

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