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Amy Campbell

Amy Campbell
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acampbell@vpico.com

The Value of Self-Storage Networking

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Everyone knows how important networking can be. Many of us find jobs, make friends, or even meet spouses through networking. In the business world, networking is often lauded as a must-have skill. For self-storage owners, it can be a boon on several levels.

First, a manager with superb networking skills is willing to go out into the community and meet other business owners, whether it be chamber of commerce members or the competition down the street.

You have the confidence and skills to walk into a room and introduce yourself to complete strangers. You make some small talk, then get to the “networking” part of the conversation—finding out how you can help one another. Ideally, this type of networking will lead to an increase in occupancy at your facility.

Second, networking can definitely enhance your career. It could come in the form of advice from another self-storage professional, an idea from a small-business owner or even information on a class or other educational opportunity. Plus, many jobs are found through networking or word-of-mouth advertising so you never know when a connection you’ve made could lead to your next job.

Some managers may shy from networking, worried they don’t have the skills to do it. A recent article on MSN.com advises you start off slow by creating your own networking opportunities. Try inviting friends or coworkers to lunch and ask them to bring someone new along. This allows you to get to know one person at a time, and ensures you’re not the center of attention.

However, the value of networking is no longer limited to face-to-face interactions. With blogs, e-mails and social media, you no longer have to meet people in person to make a connection. Using technology as a backdrop can ease people who are uncomfortable with networking into it.

For self-storage managers, there’s no better place than the official forum for ISS, Self-Storage Talk.  With more than 3,000 members, the networking opportunities are endless. Forum members offer one another advice on everything from dealing with difficult customers to raising rents. Plus, there are areas for buying and selling self-storage, association information and even a job forum. You’ll find SST is the place for self-storage professionals to network.

Another great networking opportunity for self-storage professionals is just a few weeks away. The Inside Self-Storage World Expo in New Orleans, Sept. 29-Oct. 1 is another occasion for self-storage professionals to mingle, exchange ideas, find out about new products and learn more about the industry. The show even has four events designed specifically for networking. Learn more here.

Share how networking has enhanced your self-storage career by posting a comment below.

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