The unsettling notion that the world is on the brink of a military and diplomatic catastrophe is a grim reminder that many of the largest emergencies we encounter in life and business are entirely man-made, foreseeable and, therefore, avoidable. Human shortcomings are often at the root of major problems—whether caused intentionally or by accident—which is why it pays for self-storage owners and managers to work proactively at prevention and discovery rather than reactively from a place of hindsight.
This is really the value of performing daily walk-throughs, analyzing management-software reports and conducting physical site audits. While you’re certainly looking for any obvious, gaping holes, these exercises are really designed to find small cracks that might signify the potential for something larger. Though they’re more difficult to spot, patching a crack before it spreads or widens is much easier than trying to mend a major fissure or plug a leak that’s beyond repair.
For owners, the preventive work really begins with hiring, staffing and training. Bringing in the right personalities with good character who’ll act as conscientious stewards and protectors of the business, coaching them up to how you want them to perform and then managing their well-being within their role lays the groundwork against nefarious actions.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t monitor what’s happening. Analyzing the books and running operational reports can expose employee theft or procedural wrongdoings that can lead to big financial hits and risk exposure. From petty cash and bank deposits to merchandise sales and rented-unit inventory, there are a lot of ways for cracks to appear. Here are some recent ISS resources to help you cover all the bases and shore up your site-auditing processes:
- Article: Performing a Self-Storage Facility Audit: How to Properly Inspect Your Site and Uncover Potential Problems
- Article: Red Flags: How to Detect and Prevent Employee Theft in Your Self-Storage Operation
- Article: Why and How to Track Expenses for Your Self-Storage Operation
- Education video: Checks and Balances: Site Auditing for Self-Storage Success
Inspecting the physical premises and performing regular site maintenance is another way owners and managers can prevent major incidents before they occur. In addition to looking for literal cracks in pavement and buildings, property inspections can uncover criminal behavior by intruders and unwanted actions from tenants. For helpful tips and tricks on a variety of related areas, be sure to keep an eye on our Site Maintenance topic page. Our annual Self-Storage Maintenance Package, which features monthly task calendars and a comprehensive booklet of educational articles, is also designed to help you keep your facilities running in peak condition.
Finally, data integrity is another item that should be regularly monitored for vulnerabilities. Maintaining compliance with the handling and processing of personal information as well as having systems in place to help protect your technology investments and shield against hackers, malware and phishing schemes is critical to securing operational efficiency. Operators should be aware that insurance coverage against cyber liability is now available from industry providers. In addition, owners and managers should know what threats to look for as well as how to respond if you’re hit by a cyberattack.
While there are certainly incidents that can occur without warning, many of the ills self-storage operators face begin to reveal themselves before they manifest into crises. Taking steps to prevent problems and monitor for cracks as they surface is a strategic, smart way to secure the continuity of your business.