When I was going through my early college years I remember a professor who gave me some advice that I have never forgotten. He told our economics class on the first day that whatever we learned from his course, we should never think for a minute that we would be qualified to speak intelligently about economics until we have lived the experience.
Just as important, he always told us to remember economics is a never-ending subject, and we should engage in learning as much as possible about it and the ramifications of the past, the potential of the future and the application of our knowledge today.
As a self-storage owner/management company executive/facility manager/assistant manager or whatever role you have in the industry, can you really ever learn enough about our products, customers, facilities, markets, competitors, etc? In my humble opinion, the answer is “no.”
At any level, training for our respective positions can come from many sources. For example, we have a “training manager” who teaches all employees about the company policies, procedures, computer system, marketing program, preventive maintenance program, administrative responsibilities and, in general, the way we want them to manage the facility.
The training program encompasses four to seven full days in most cases, with follow-up training lasting another two to three days. Is this realistic for everyone? Of course not, but if you happen to work with a management company the advantages are tremendous. By having a corporate training program, procedures and policies can be changed as needed, professionalism in our stores increases and innovative ideas are presented to employees.
If your company doesn’t have the resources to provide a corporate training program, but you would like your managers to learn more about the business, other resources are available. For example, say you are interested in learning how to answer the telephone more professionally, how to compete with the larger facilities in your market, or would like to save money through preventive maintenance programs.
First, research firms that offer specialized self-storage training programs. There are numerous resources, including the Inside Self-Storage Buyer’s Guide and website, and your state and national association newsletters and periodicals.
Many self-storage vendors also offer training sessions either onsite or via the Web. The advantage to using consultants is they have vast experience by working with a variety of companies and can teach you what they’ve learned to be successful. Often, hiring a training consultant is more affordable than you would think. Consultants also have no biases and tend to be objective.