Goals for 2009: Competitive Sales, Facility Remodeling and More

Jim Chiswell Comments
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Remodeling Your Future

As I travel across the country and visit hundreds of self-storage facilities, I see some brand-new beauties with positive drive-by images and large retail-oriented offices. The vast majority of facilities, though, are 10 or 20 years old and haven’t been well maintained. I see faded doors, damaged buildings, broken pavement and storm water detention areas that are all sending negative messages to future and existing customers.

My intuition tells me the greatest opportunities in our industry over the next decade will not be in the development of new stores, but rather in the rehabilitation and re-branding of our existing facilities. Every owner needs to take an objective view, during the day and at night, of their facilities.

Are you proud of what you see? Would you rent at your facility? Is your office space adequate in today’s competitive environment? If your answer is “no” to any of the above, you probably need to turn it around to stay competitive.

Building upgrades often result in dramatic improvements in net operating income and increased facility values. Maybe you are not in a position to replace the 75 old doors at your complex but can afford to clean or paint them and alter the image of your business. Repainting your office can have a positive and immediate impact. Replacing a solid entrance door with an all-glass version not only improves the natural lighting in the office, but presents a more positive image, especially to female customers.

Broken pavement especially deserves attention. Postponing minor repairs always produces a bigger repair bill later on. Concrete and blacktop just don’t heal themselves, but they will worsen. Think about the message you are sending to tenants if you can’t even maintain parking lots and drive aisles.

Take a close look at your own facility and see if your capital improvement projects for 2009 are really sufficient to keep new customers coming in every day.

Have You Written Your Goals for 2009?

As one year ends and another starts, I ask owners and managers how they did on their written goals for the year. All too often this question is answered with a blank stare. For all too many the budget turns out to be their only success measurement. Having specific goals can pay huge benefits in keeping everyone focused on the objectives for the year.

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