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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

What Do You Resolve for Your Self-Storage Business in 2014?

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Tony Jones***A guest installment by Tony Jones, Manager, Inside Self-Storage Store

Happy New Year! Now what? Once the confetti settles and the noisemakers fall silent, what are you going to do to improve your self-storage operation next year?

If you treat your business the way most people put effort into fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions, you might just find yourself disappointed in your facility’s performance in 2014. According to a study released by the University of Scranton last year, about 45 percent of Americans make resolutions each New Year, but just 8 percent are successful in achieving them. Further, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of the people who make resolutions say they fail on their efforts each year.

Part of the problem is people simply lose interest or set unrealistic goals. While 75 percent of people maintain their resolutions for the first week of the year (25 percent don’t even make it a week?!), just 46 percent continue past six months. Of course, this also screams at the disingenuousness of many who make New Year’s resolutions in the first place. People love to make them and then forget about them. But self-storage owners and managers do not have that luxury. They cannot have the same cavalier attitude toward business goals without risking the long-term viability of their operation.

If you’re not sure what resolutions to make for your business, a good place to get some ideas is the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas. The 2014 expo will run March 30-April 2 and feature 10 (ten!) education tracks covering development, investment, operation, marketing and more. We’ll be debuting a How-To/Demo track and a Game-Show Learning track which ought to provide a whole lot of fun and a new type of learning experience during the show. Be sure to also check out all five workshops on tap for in-depth learning. The ISS Expo is always a terrific place to figure out where your business might be lagging and target areas for improvement. Early-bird registration expires Jan. 30.

Each year, we design our Inside Self-Storage (ISS) Guidebook series with business improvement in mind. So far, we’ve rolled out the first three Guidebooks in the 2014 series and will be releasing a couple more titles in the weeks ahead. The latest is our Marketing Guidebook, which features a wealth of articles on the Web side of the marketing equation including looks at third-party directories (gasp!), online reservations, mobile-friendly websites, e-mail strategies, pay-per-click, QR codes and a whole lot more. If you’re looking for ways to bolster your Web presence in 2014, the Marketing Guidebook is a great place to start.

Speaking of marketing, the ISS Store also just released a Self-Storage Marketing Workshop on DVD. The session features M. Anne Ballard, president of training, marketing and developmental services, and Stacie Maxwell, vice president of marketing, at Universal Storage Group, as well as Christopher Baird, CEO of Automatit Inc. At 2 hours, 45 minutes, the workshop is a deep-dive look at how operators can leverage their operational success to strengthen self-storage marketing position.

In an effort to provide operators, developers and investors with a greater breadth of self-storage market data, our partners at the Self Storage Industry Group (SSIG) of commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield have come up with two new digital reports for us to sell through the ISS Store. Both are excellent complements to the other C&W products available.

The eight-page Self-Storage Expense Report 2013 provides a sample of real costs per square foot for fixed and variable operating expenses and presents the data nationally and by NCREIF (National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries) region and subdivision. Data is analyzed using nine key expense categories: taxes, insurance, repairs and maintenance, administration, onsite management, offsite management, utilities, advertising, and miscellaneous.

The eight-page Self-Storage Market Conditions Report 2013, examines the supply and demand conditions in the top 50 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) to determine whether they are under supplied, at equilibrium or over supplied. Each market is organized by the conclusion of its market conditions and compared to a rent and occupancy index. Development information identifying new builds and renovations/additions is also included for each MSA.

Of course, ISS also has a bevy of free resources online to help you take a good look at and improve your business. Be sure to peruse the Digital Issues and Whitepapers sections of the primary ISS website for some excellent in-depth material on everything from generating revenue through solar energy to a starter guide on social media.

What are some resolutions you’re going to set for your self-storage business in 2014, and what are you going to do to achieve them?

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