In his famous poem, "The Hollow Men," T.S. Eliot sardonically notes how the world ends: "Not with a bang but a whimper." And so it does, when all the hubbub over Y2-chaos turned out to be little more than speculation and a few midnight pranks amongst strewn confetti and broken champagne bottles. But then, what would the turn of the century have been without some Nostradamus nightmares and paranoia of apocalyptic dimensions? No fun, to be sure.
What all the whimpering ultimately translates into, however, is a sigh of relief and renewed energy to forge ahead in our businesses, particularly in the area of automation. It's been somewhat of a battle, but self-storage owners are finally adopting and adapting to the computerization of their operations, from management software to automatic security gates to e-business. And slowly, the software for this industry is changing to accommodate more needs and create greater convenience for managers and consumers alike.
Are you converting from a DOS to a Windows system this year? Does your facility have its own website, or is it at least listed on one of the several sites that will include it in their directories for free? Are you using automatic payment systems or communicating with customers via e-mail? These and other options are discussed in detail in "Self Storage Software 2000," which begins on page 16. For further advice on taking advantage of automated benefits and marketing to the "new" self-storage customer, refer to Shaun Ferguson's article on "The Disposable Generation". Finally, Michael Zervas provides some tips on how to best use banner ads on the web to draw attention to your business without breaking the bank.
Of course, all the newfangled automated features and web marketing in the world won't be worth a cheap, foam mousepad if your managers aren't trained for sales. Leading the horse to water is one thing--making him drink is another. Rick Kaczmarek outlines some simple steps for developing a sound management-training program at your facilities and turning your employees into "ultra-salespeople".
I'll be looking for you all at the Inside Self Storage Trade Fair in Buffalo, N.Y. during May 11th and 12th. This is a unique opportunity because, in addition to all the great educational seminars and networking opportunities, you'll learn about acquisition and development of self-storage in Canada, which could provide some new business connections and insights. Now that we know the world isn't ending, why not invest in a more profitable future?
See you in Buffalo,
Teri L. Lanza
For a complete list of references click here