A Serial Entrepreneur’s 'Common' Sense Advice for Running a Successful Self-Storage Business

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By Victor Green

It’s true that many factors contribute to an organization’s success, but in the end it all comes down to how your self-storage business is better or different than what’s already available in the market. Do you provide a better service than anyone else? Do you offer something that improves your customer's business or life and makes or saves him money? The answer to one—preferably both—of these questions should always be a resounding “Yes!”

Below are some common sense tips that will help you become or remain the leader in your market. Though the knowledge may be "common," its successful application in today's business world is often rare.

Promote your business. The first priority is to clearly identify your audience. Who are your prime targets? Once you’ve determined who they are, prioritize them in order of importance. Your marketing budget should be spent in accordance with these priorities, rather than choosing advertising and publicity avenues based on price.

Consider every marketing resource. Then evaluate which will give you best value. Seek out promotions that enable you to measure response. It’s important to know if your marketing expenditure is producing results. One way to measure response is by using coupon offers. Another is to use unique URLs to measure website traffic from a particular ad.

Service is the most important part of your business. Today, everybody wants to be treated as a “special person.” If you treat your customers well, your reputation will grow. This is the cheapest and most effective  form of advertising.

Relationships with repeat customers are important. Every effort should be made to make personal contact with your “base” whenever possible. Be honest, polite and attentive. Don't rely on e-mails or social media to do this work for you. There’s nothing better than doing business face to face.

Your staff will follow your example. If you portray professionalism and attentiveness, your staff will see this as the way you want your business to be run. If, however, you have a poor attitude, are a bad timekeeper, take extended breaks during the day, go home early or dress poorly, then your staff will assume this is how you want your business to be run. Never ask your staff to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.

Think before selling your product at lower prices than competitors. Many new business people think this is the “secret” to business. But undercutting your competitors is only successful if it gives you a sensible return and a significant net profit. I call this “vanity vs. sanity.” Vanity is being concerned with your sales figure; sanity is being concerned with your net profit.

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