Self-Storage Thoughts: Getting Beyond Survival in 2010

Jim Chiswell Comments
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Is 2010 is the beginning of a new decade or the end of the last? Regardless of your perspective, a new year has started with new budgets, goals and objectives. Yet despite this beginning, there still seems to be a prevailing attitude of survival.

From owners facing the refinancing hurdle to managers dealing with declining occupancies and revenue, I have talked to many folks who’ve adopted the “bunker mentality” of just trying to make it to the next month. 

During these times, creativity is at a premium, and yet new ideas are often dismissed with a knee-jerk comment about the lack of money or the luxury of trying something new. Given a chance, many of these no-cost or low-cost concepts can produce positive results.

For example, are you thanking every customer who moves out by giving him a discount coupon to use when he needs storage again? Of course, he can pass it along to a friend and still earn a referral bonus, right? Why not make everyone who leaves a salesperson for your facility? An aggressive referral-bonus program is a method of asking people for their help, with a willingness to reward them for their assistance. 

A monthly drawing for existing customers who pay on time can be a cost-effective way to build loyalty. Even passing along a 20 percent discount coupon for all customers of a popular local restaurant costs you conversation time with the restaurant’s owner and a few dollars in printing. The restaurant owner is buying space in dining books, so why not offer him a direct program with you?

Can you honestly say you’ve maximized your Internet presence and visibility, using all of the free methods available? Do you even know if your facility is properly located on Google, Bing and Yahoo maps? Don’t guess―find out and make the changes immediately, if necessary.

The tasks ahead of us in 2010 may be daunting, but if we’re willing to adopt an optimistic outlook and a positive mindset, anything is possible. 

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