In Chinese culture, the word “chi” refers to life energy. With a literal translation of “breath” or “force,” it signifies the ethereal matter of which every living thing is composed. Early Taoists, believing chi was inherent in our breath and bodily fluids, developed ways to alter and control its movement within the body, aiming to achieve physical longevity and spiritual power.
Think of a self-storage operation as a living entity. How can you breathe life into a budding business or aging facility? What techniques can you use to create a long-lasting customer base and build marketing muscle? What is the chi of our industry? As you’ll read in this issue, many experts believe it to be supreme customer service and a positive community presence.
Your business identity is only partially dependent on mundane approaches such as display advertising, signage, corporate branding, web design, curb appeal, cleanliness, etc. You will read about those things here, as well as how important it is to ensure they are handled properly and professionally. But when it comes to the lifeblood of a business, what really seems to matter is how you treat customers and the contributions you make to your local area.
This was the lesson learned by David and Krikett Perea of Alameda Mini Storage in Denver when their facility literally went to the dogs. Neither their image nor their profitability suffered. In fact, they discovered that putting too much emphasis on image can sometimes leave you barking up the wrong tree. In the midst of pandemonium, they found a marketing haven—while it may have seemed as if the tail was wagging the dog, it was actually stirring up positive publicity!
Speaking of public relations, you’ll notice Inside Self-Storage unveils a new look this month. It’s important to update your image once in a while, no matter what business you’re in, and we found this an auspicious time to try new things. Aside from our desire to embark fresh in 2006, an important change has just taken place in the publishing aspect of the industry.
As of Dec. 31, our long-time competitor Mini-Storage Messenger officially ended its contractual standing as the member-benefit publication for the national Self Storage Association (SSA). This means SSA members who were receiving a free monthly magazine will now have to pay for a subscription—and they have a choice! Of course, they can maintain the status quo, or they can opt to experience the features and benefits of ISS .
A Chinese proverb says, “One dog barks at something, the rest bark at him.” ISS has been the top dog for more than 15 years, barking out the best industry reporting. We may look new, but we continue to be the reliable source of news and editorial the self-storage community has come to expect.
Now is a perfect time to revitalize your commitment to knowledge. Feed your mind and invigorate your chi! Interested in a new or renewal subscription? Visit www.insideselfstorage.com or come see us at our annual Las Vegas Expo, Feb. 28-March 3. Don’t worry—we won’t bite!
Teri L. Lanza