Earlier today I reviewed an article about setting sales goals. The author discussed why using the SMART method can help define your mission, measure and track your progress. It’s a pretty simple concept, actually. The acronym is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. You’ve likely even heard about it. But as we all know, putting this into practice is a bit more complicated!
Around this time of year, most of think about goals for our personal and professional lives. Sadly, many of these will fizzle before Valentine’s Day. Even if you’re not the type of person who likes to create objectives at the beginning of the year, there are still some steps you should take to ensure your facility’s continued success. We’re coming off two excellent years for the self-storage industry, and the forecast remains optimistic. However, there could be some hurdles ahead. Prepping for them now will help you jump over them easily. Here are a few areas to consider as you plan for a successful 2023.
Money in and money out. Businesses across every industry have been impacted by inflation on a variety of levels. This means keeping an eye on your operations budget is critical. If you haven’t created a financial plan for your business yet, do it now. Consider where your funds are going and whether changes are necessary.
You also need to watch the cash flowing into your business. While operators enjoyed high occupancies last year and were able to pass along rental increases, some markets could begin to return to pre-pandemic levels as new facilities open and the demand previously created is met.
Of courses, this doesn’t mean you should halt rental increases for your existing customers or drop your street rates. Rather, they should be planned and executed carefully. There should be no guessing here. Your management software likely has a built-in program to make this job easy.
Also, be fair when it comes to setting these rates. There’s a difference between selling your product at market value vs. gouging your customers because you can. I’m sure you can think of a few examples of companies that are using the current economic environment to pad their pockets with money because we’re all willing to pay more.
Inflation has also caused more people to fall financially behind, which could mean a spike in delinquent accounts. Not only will you miss out on the money owed to you, but that space is no longer producing income. Stay on top of your collection efforts and don’t be slow when it comes to exercising your lien-sales rights. Just do it by the book!
New competition. Development is in full force, with new sites popping up everywhere. A facility opened just six months ago near my house, and yet another is nearly completed across the street. Both are multi-story and colossal. More than likely, there’s a new facility already up and running or soon will be in your market. How will you compete? Hint: Discounts aren’t the answer.
Rather, you become the market leader by providing the best customer experience. The one that’ll have your existing customers singing your praises and newcomers so impressed that they can’t wait to do business with you. Of course, I’m talking about offering superior customer service, but it goes beyond that. Your site should be clean, inviting, safe and secure. Your team should be knowledgeable, friendly and skilled at closing sales. Your website should be easily to navigate and provide visitors the ability to peruse unit sizes and then rent one at their convenience. You’re not just providing a large box to hold their stuff. Like any retail business, you’re offering customers an experience from the moment they learn about your facility to the day they move out.
Technology. If you’re not willing to add technology to your storage business, you’re going to be left behind. It’s as simple as that. Today’s consumer is accustomed to online shopping and often prefers it. We order food via an app and communicate with just about everyone through our smartphones.
There are immense benefits to storage operators who use technology to manage and secure their sites. Tech can also help you spot customer trends, manage your marketing and social media campaigns, and automate so many routine tasks. While there’s a cost to adding technology to your business, it’s so worth it. If you’re not sure where to start—or ready to add more—check out our dedicated Technology Topics page. You’ll find tons of great insight that’ll guide you.
As we dive into 2023, take a moment to consider the path for your business this year. Even if you experienced a stellar 2022, there’s always room for improvement. You just need to decide where and then make it happen. Here’s to your continued success!