It’s impossible to believe, but we are now in 2008. Need some help making resolutions to set the tone for a successful and rewarding year? Read on for tips to get your facility off to a great start.
R = Responsive
Operators need to be more responsive to customers. Overall, I think the industry has done a pretty good job in meeting customer needs, supplying clean, secure and convenient space to store treasures. But now we need to ask ourselves what else we can do.
How about extending gate hours for commercial customers, or adding a kiosk for tenant convenience? Perhaps provide a cold bottle of water in the summer when tenants are moving, or a cup of hot chocolate when it’s chilly outside. The idea here is: “How can I be more responsive to customers, and then make a plan to fulfill this commitment?”
E = Evaluate
How well are you performing at your job? We each need to regularly review how we do things. For example, could you be more efficient in answering the phone or greeting potential customers when they walk into the office? Can you do a better job of maintaining your grounds and buildings?
What can you do to improve your curb appeal? How can you collect better data to know what competitors are doing? In short, what will it take to improve your performance?
S = Sell More
As competitors enter our markets, we have to constantly upgrade our selling techniques to increase occupancy as well as the sale of ancillary supplies and services. Do you have a good inventory of things customers really want and need? Can you display my merchandise more attractively? Should you add goods and services outside traditional self-storage? Can you convince potential customers your facility is the best suited to their needs? Answers to these questions can be just the trigger to help us sell more and more often.
O = Organize
Most of us in today’s hectic world often seem to run ragged. Perhaps we need to look at how we organize our priorities and time. For example, if we organize our office so we’re not constantly looking for things, it will cut down on the time it takes to complete simple tasks. If we tidy the maintenance room, it will take less time to fix things with the proper tools and hardware.
Design your to-do list so important things get done first and lesser items get done when you have an extra minute. This way, your work life becomes streamlined? and you might just have more time for a social life!
L = Laugh
Studies indicate that laughter leads to a longer, happier life. Start the day by reading the comics in the newspaper. A few minutes of laughter can get you going in the right direction. Laugh at yourself: Recall a funny event that happened to you once. Pick a new comedy show to watch. You may find yourself looking forward to it, and you’ll maintain a more positive attitude during the week. Life is more fun when you can laugh, so do it more often!
U = Understanding
By resolving to be more understanding of a different viewpoint, you become aware of possibilities and are more creative in problem-solving. If an employee or customer sheds new light on a situation, try to understand the point before you insist on doing it your way. Understanding does not mean you have to change or compromise; it simply means you have another perspective to consider.
T = Training
Even old dogs learn new tricks. For some of us veterans of the business, updating training is positive step. Think about how much the world of self-storage has changed over the past several years. With technology making things easier and faster, we either keep pace or we’ll eventually be passed over.
Take a class at a local community college. Go online to learn a new process or subject. Read a different magazine to expand your horizons. Pull out some of those past articles you saved from industry publications and refresh your thinking about the business. The important thing is to learn constantly. You’ll be rewarded many times over by new knowledge, which will allow you to be more versatile.
I = Innovate
Trying something new leads to success or failure, but always teaches you how to do things better. Come up with a fresh idea for your facility. Create a new landscape design or way to market your site. Innovation is the key to staying ahead of your competitors. Those who stay ahead, win.
O = Observe
Watch successful businesses operate and copy them as much as you can. By evaluating the way another company operates, you can pick up useful techniques that can be applied to your own facility. Observe how great operators treat customers and employees, and how they prosper even when new competition enters the market. Spend an evening at a highly successful restaurant and watch how staff takes care of you. Go to a neighboring business and ask for advice. By watching and emulating others, we can increase our own aptitude.
N = Neighbor
Become a better neighbor to those around you. Walk your neighborhood and become familiar with people in the area. Stop in at nearby businesses and introduce yourself. Get involved in a Neighborhood Watch group or help in a local charity project. Make your facility a drop-off point for a charity such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Work with your local police or fire department to host a finger-printing event or helmet day for the kids. Strive to be a good neighbor by getting involved; you and your facility will ultimately benefit.
S = Send Thank-You Cards
This is my favorite because it’s easy, takes little time, has minimal cost, and the rewards are tremendous. Take a few minutes each day and write one thank-you note to a tenant or business you appreciate. A simple thank you such as, “Dear Friend, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for being my friend,” will surprise recipients and make them feel just a little bit better about themselves.
People may forget how much others mean to them, but by making a simple commitment to this every day for a year, you’ll make a positive impact on 365 people in 2008. Think about how powerful it would be if each of us did this!
So there you have it: New Year’s resolutions for 2008. Good luck and best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous future.
Mel Holsinger is the president of Tucson, Ariz.-based Professional Self Storage Management, which offers self-storage facility management, consulting and development services. For more information, call 520.319.2164; visit www.proselfstorage.com.