One of the unique aspects to the self-storage industry is no matter where your focus lies, you typically need a multi-layered knowledge base to be successful. We like to routinely credit facility managers for their jack-of-all-trades, wear-many-hats diligence in keeping a multi-million-dollar enterprise afloat, but the truth is investors, developers and owners also must be multi-faceted and understand principles and strategies across silos, since so much of planning and execution overlap.
Last year, the ISS Store released four Mastery DVD sets that focused on specific areas of operation and career advancement, covering the themes of Career Development, Revenue Management, Sales and Service, and Staffing. The sets are a kind of a “greatest hits” approach, assembling some of the best education sessions from recent Inside Self-Storage World Expo events to drill down on requested topics of interest, while also offering significant savings from buying DVDs individually.
This year, we’ve broadened the offerings to include aspects of development and investing, in addition to two areas of operational challenges.
On the operational front, the new sets cover Digital Marketing and Risk Management. Increased competition in most markets has made a strong digital-marketing strategy crucial to gain online visibility and entice prospective customers across mobile channels. Operators also need to have tenant conveniences in place in line with consumer expectations for other retail platforms. Thus, the five sessions included in the Digital Marketing package address online visibility, content strategies, Web design, technology trends, paid search and more. The sessions are:
- Digital Differentiation in Self-Storage: From Online Visibility to Content Strategies
- Building an Effective Self-Storage Website: Designing for Higher Conversions
- The Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning on Self-Storage Marketing
- Advanced Paid Search Strategies for Self-Storage Operators
- Prioritizing Your Digital Marketing Efforts (and Budget) to Drive Self-Storage Revenue
Likewise, risk management is a constant battle for operators, who must contend with a litigious society amid growing industry concerns related to class-action lawsuits, compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and other potential vulnerabilities. The Risk Management set includes insight from some of the industry’s leading legal and insurance experts. It addresses lease language, lawsuit prevention, liability, disaster management, site audits, insurance coverages and more. The sessions are:
- Cracked Clauses, Broken Business … Lease Verbiage That Can Destroy Self-Storage
- Lawsuit-Proofing Your Self-Storage Business
- What to Do When the Nightmare Comes True: Disaster Management in Self-Storage
- How to Audit Your Self-Storage Facility Like a Pro: A Case Study
- Underwriting Secrets Revealed: Managing Your Self-Storage Insurance Costs
The industry’s latest development boom has brought with it technological advancements, along with changes to building codes and new municipal hurdles. The desire for developers and operators to be near population centers has meant upgrades to facility design and amenities to blend in with neighborhoods and align with city goals, including repurposing vacant retail outlets. The Facility Design package offers insight to modern building options, site layout, municipal demands, case studies, conversions and more. The sessions are:
- Future-Forward Storage Design: Modern Building Options
- Self-Storage Site Layout for Maximum ROI and Minimum Headaches
- Design Principles for Urban-Infill Self-Storage Projects
- Self-Storage Building and Design: Case Studies of Success
- Conversions: The Self-Storage Industry's Diamond in the Rough
With many markets reaching or approaching saturation in self-storage supply, new investors or existing operators looking to increase their footprint need to take strategic approaches toward new investment. This includes not only market savviness but also financial wherewithal and finding appropriate partners. The Investing Strategies set focuses on value-add deals, equity partners, capital raising, opportunity zones, lending options and more. The sessions are:
- Finding Investment Success With Self-Storage Value-Add Deals
- How to Attract Private-Equity Partners to Grow Your Self-Storage Portfolio
- Get That Money: The Secrets to Raising Capital for Your Next Self-Storage Deal
- Finding Your Opportunity Zone: A New Government Program for Self-Storage Investors
- Survival Guide for Self-Storage Borrowers: Choosing a Loan and Lender
As the self-storage industry becomes more crowded, building, investing and operating gain new complexities. Whether you’re new to the industry or an established professional, it’s never a bad idea to sharpen your acumen and equip yourself with a broad-based, multi-pronged approach to strategically meet or exceed your goals. Becoming a self-storage master not only positions you for success today but equips you to evolve with the industry’s inevitable ebbs and flows.