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

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Build a relationship with all customers. You’ve caught me. This is a repeat of the advice above. However, it bears repeating. You must develop a loyal customer base to maintain reoccurring sales revenue. Then, and only then, can you start to branch out secondary audiences and those farther out. If you don’t build a strong relationship that produces repeat business, you will effectively have to start your business over and over again every time you sell.

Keep your finances in order. To manage a business successfully, it’s essential you have accurate up-to-date financial information. Each month you should produce a profit-and-loss statement, or P&L. If you don't have a P&L, you’re effectively running your business in the dark.

Analyzing financial income vs. expenditure is crucial. Your new P&L will reveal all sorts of things. You can obtain sales trends by tracking periods of higher and lower sales, which will help you direct your advertising and publicity expenditure at these particular times. You can also study your overhead costs to see if they can be reduced. Every dollar of overhead you reduce goes to the bottom line.

It’s easy to deal with success, but how do you deal with failure? Thousands of businesses fail for a variety of reasons. Most fail due to inadequate research, not clearly identifying a gap in the marketplace or determining their potential customers before starting out.

Every successful entrepreneur has had business failures. When I realized a company would not succeed, I accepted that the first cut is the cheapest and moved on. I had no problem in closing down businesses that were not going to succeed. Too many people let ego and pride get in the way and continue to run a business that’s not profitable. Be ready and willing to cut the cord, and you’ll set yourself up to succeed.

Victor Green has a long record of founding and growing businesses in a variety of industries. Now retired, he lectures and mentors small-business owners and new entrepreneurs in conjunction with SCORE and the U.S. Small Business Administration. In his book, How to Succeed in Business By Really Trying!, Green shares more than 40 years worth of practical business advice. For more information, visit www.howtosucceedinbusiness.com.

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