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What’s Your Plan? Finding Self-Storage Success in 2019

As 2018 winds down, it’s time to jump into planning mode for the new year. Here are some aspects you should consider.

Around this time every year, I begin to think about my plans for holiday baking. You see, my extended family is rather large, so a few years ago I began gifting containers of cookies on Christmas day rather than purchasing individual presents. My parents, aunts and cousins are pleased with my love for baking and relish the sweet treats. My mom once jokingly handed back the container a couple of weeks after Christmas and said, “Refill, please.”

I’ll confess, though, that first year was seriously chaotic. I underestimated the number of cookies I’d need to fill 12-plus tins and had to run out twice for supplies. I also spent several days in the kitchen, leaving my feet and back in agony. I can still recall trying to find places to store my vast number of cookies before assembling them into their containers. My daughter, who was 11 at the time, loved making sure each package held the proper assortment.

Stumbling through that marathon baking session I learned there’s no nothing wrong with being overly prepared. And while I thought I had it all under control that first year, I really didn’t. I’m happy to say through trial and error, I’m smarter now about the process and have perfected my holiday-baking plan.

Whether you’re making sweets, arranging a vacation, looking for a new job or even running a self-storage business, you need a plan. Sometimes this means more than just writing down a few goals and actions steps. It could also mean changing your mindset, which is not always easy to do.

Here’s a great example many operators will likely find familiar. After years of being the lone storage facility within a three-mile radius, a new property is under development nearby. What’s your plan? Are you waiting it out to see how your existing customers react and hope they don’t move down the street? Are you planning to drop your rental rates when the new site opens to ensure your tenants stick around? Or are you actively looking for ways to improve your facility, marketing, sales and customer service? If it’s the latter, you’re on the right track. Simply waiting to see how the new site shakes up your market isn’t the way to go. Rather, be proactive so the new guy in town must keep up with you, not the other way around.

With the new year just a few weeks away, now’s a great time to get into “planning mode” for all aspects of your business. Have you considered your staffing needs for next year? Will you add new technology to your business? Is a renovation on the horizon? Does your lease need an overhaul? What about your operating budget? Is it ready to roll out? Think big picture, then divvy your plan into smaller actions.

If you need guidance on setting your plans in motion, we’ve got you covered. You’ll find a wealth of information on the ISS website, including articles and blogs. Be sure to check out the new Self-Storage Mastery DVD Sets in the ISS Store. The four packages cover diverse topics such as career development, revenue management, sales and service, and staffing. You can also reach out to your peers on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s biggest online community. Finally, complete details about the ISS World Expo is just weeks away. Early next month, you’ll be able to peruse the education, exhibitors, networking opportunities and more of the industry’s biggest and best conference, April 1-4, at our new venue, the Mirage Hotel & Casino. Stay tuned to the ISS and ISS World Expo websites to learn about registration, hotel and early-bird discounts and more.

Operating a successful business in any industry is complex. But in one that’s rapidly evolving, as self-storage is, it’s even more complicated. You can’t just wing it and expect to achieve positive results. Your customers demand more from your business, technology is changing just about every aspect of storage, and you’re likely facing more competition these days. So, what’s your plan?

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