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Bye-Bye 2018: Reaching New Self-Storage Milestones in the New Year

Consider the following facets of your self-storage operation to get yourself on track to a prosperous and productive 2019.

As the year winds down, we’re often bombarded with articles, blogs, videos and more about setting goals for the next year. This is for good reason. For many of us, the turning of the calendar triggers our need to renew, to think about the past and the future. It’s a chance to reset, get motivated and add purpose to the incoming year.

Last month I wrote a blog about creating an action plan for 2019. Hopefully, you’ve started or, at least, given this some thought. After all, the new year is just over a week away. As you begin to set your business goals for next year, it’s advisable to look back over the previous months and consider what went well and areas where you can improve. Whether you prefer pen and paper, intricate spreadsheets or a digital account, the important thing is to measure all areas of your self-storage business.

Once you know your business inside and out, you can set your sights on next year’s mission. When writing your goals, consider the following facets of your operation to put yourself on track to a prosperous and productive 2019.

Your local market. First, what’s happening in your market? Are you feeling the squeeze from new competition? What are you doing about it? Now’s the time to assess your products and services and seek ways you can improve.

Just this week, ISS published an amazing gallery on how to run your site at peak performance. It covers six key areas: site maintenance, customer service, policies and procedures, competition analysis, technology, and disaster preparedness. The free resource is a great reference for owners and managers alike.

Your operating budget. This is one of the most critical elements to operating a successful storage facility. You need a fiscal roadmap. Creating a budget can be time-consuming and requires an abundance of information about your property’s financials. It’s not something you whip together in an hour or two, so plan accordingly. Owners, consider bringing your staff into the process. They’re on the front line and may see things you don’t.

Your marketing. If you’re not up to speed on digital marketing, you need to get there. From websites to mobile searches to social media, your digital footprint is critical to attracting new customers. Operators also need to consider offline marketing such as referral programs, community events and sponsorships, direct mail, and other ways to build your rep in your community. Consider these six steps to build an effective marketing campaign.

Your facility. What site improvements are needed? Are your doors lackluster? Are the numbers on the keypads faded or worn off? Do you need a new roof on your building or does the office need a fresh coat of paint? Remember, you’re likely facing new competition, so it’s critical to assess your facility and add improvements to your calendar.

Your tenants. It’s time to clear out the bad debt and rule-breakers. If you’ve been hesitant to kick a late-payer to the curb because he always comes through in the end, just stop. Free up that unit and bring in a new tenant at a higher rental rate. Speaking of revenue management, when was the last time you raised the rent? Everything goes up—electric, groceries, gas. People expect it. The first of the year is a great time to make these adjustments.

No matter which areas of your business you target for improvement in the new year, it’ll take planning, reassessments and hard work. Think about where you’ve been and where you want to go. Then make it happen!

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