It’s easy to set New Year’s resolutions. It’s even easier to fail to follow through on them. Though statistics suggest about 60 percent of Americans set goals for themselves when the calendars flip each January, just 8 percent actually achieve them. While those returns are paltry, they’re mostly amusing and inconsequential. Businesses, on the other hand, don’t have the luxury of setting goals and continually failing to meet them. Instead of a one-off list pinned to the refrigerator, business resolutions for self-storage and other industries are a continual ebb and flow of evaluation, planning and execution.
As we dip our toes into a new decade, here are three resolutions that, should you achieve them, may make the difference between 2020 being a year of hindsight and one of vision and focus.
1. Set and Stick to a Budget
Whether you’re planning a development project or fully operational, annual budgeting is a way to road map and set goals for numerous aspects of your operation, from employee and customer relations to marketing to site maintenance. A detailed budget will help you predict cash flow, set goals for revenue growth and help manage expenses. Be sure to measure your progress against the budget throughout the year and make adjustments as necessary. A well-planned budget can also help you create incentive plans for staff and avoid costly operational mistakes.
2. Go Mobile
It’s been nearly five years since Google altered its search-ranking algorithm to favor mobile-friendly Web pages. U.S. search traffic from mobile devices increased from about 29 percent of all online searches in 2014 to 47 percent in 2017. By 2018, up to 70 percent of all Web traffic stemmed from mobile devices. This is only bound to increase, particularly with 5G networks—predicted to revolutionize smartphone performance—on the way.
If you haven’t transformed your website to cater to mobile users and invested in improving search ranking and online visibility, you’re already behind the curve. For those who have evolved their online strategies, including the deployment of key e-tailing tactics, the shift to Progressive Web Apps should be squarely on your radar. Mobile marketing isn’t a fad that will run its course; it’s how operators have gained a competitive advantage. Those who figure out how mobile platforms will evolve during the next decade and adapt the most accessible components into self-storage operation stand to become the envy of their markets.
3. Embrace Technology
It wasn’t long ago that we discussed Excel spreadsheets and the Internet as technological advancements. Today, the industry is abuzz at how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are already influencing facility operation. The Internet of Things and systems integration are poised to raise the bar on data collection and efficiency, which in the long run should raise customer convenience, lower operating expenses and increase profit margins. The move toward a much more robust technological platform for daily operation isn’t just for those who wish to embrace the unmanned-facility model; the tools and metrics already at your disposal provide increased insight into strengths and weaknesses, and offer empirical opportunities for business improvement.
Leveraging AI to boost marketing performance isn’t a pipe dream. Dynamic pricing is no longer a luxury that only the largest operators can exploit. Gathering market data to help guide investments and project planning has never been easier or more detailed. Remote monitoring and security enhancements are already available, and my guess is this is an area that will see swift evolution and improvement in the near term.
Whatever goals you’ve set or plan to map for your business this year, make sure they’re well-thought-out and resolve to stay diligent in working to achieve or exceed them. At a time when carving or preserving market share in some communities has quickly become among the most difficult operational challenges, I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.