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Are You Lost in a Sea of Self-Storage Data?

We have access to so much information these days that it’s difficult to know which is reliable. Think about the ways you use data in your self-storage business. Do you know what info is accurate and the best ways analyze and apply it? The Opening Session for this year’s ISS Expo should help you answer that question.

Teri Lanza

February 11, 2016

3 Min Read
Are You Lost in a Sea of Self-Storage Data?

We have access to so much information these days that it’s difficult to know which is reliable. We can grab our mobile devices and pull data out of the sky on a whim, but we’re often in the dark as to the reliability of the source. Even when a resource is trustworthy, there can be unanswered questions about the methodology behind the numbers. We’re so hungry for statistics that we tend to accept them at face value, which can be dangerous.

Here’s an interesting tidbit for you: About a year ago, Google published a research paper by a group of its computer scientists proposing a technology to test the factual accuracy of Web pages. According to the paper, it’s not impossible for a computer to evaluate the veracity of a stated fact, so long as it has a dependable reference against which to compare it, for example, the CIA World Factbook or Wikipedia. Whether Google will ever actually unleash this technology is anyone’s guess, but it would certainly affect the way we consume data online.

Now think about the ways you use data in your self-storage business. It has a whole host of applications, from allowing you to analyze the feasibility of a development location to helping you make decisions about how to operate your facilities. Demographics assist in understanding your market and customer base, which in turn allows you to craft marketing and lead-generation programs that cater to specific target audiences. Data about your facility sales—who rents, for how long, for how much, at what time of year, etc.—make it possible to see patterns in rental activity and rate progression.

But data only helps you make sound decisions 1) if it’s accurate and 2) you can understand it. You need to know where to find the information you need, extract it, sort it and analyze it. Finally, how do you apply it in such a way to reap tangible benefits?

I’ll say it again: We have access to so much information these days that it’s difficult to know which is reliable. You can pull data from the Internet or your own facility-management software. The trick is knowing how to use it. Do you know? Are you maximizing the information available to you?

We’ve just announced the Opening Session for this year’s Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas, April 25-29. At 8 a.m. on April 26, John H. Johnson, CEO of Edgeworth Economics, will present a session titled, “Self-Storage and ‘Everydata’: Recognizing the Misinformation Hidden in the ‘Little Data’ You Use Every Day.” John’s intent is to help you recognize the half-truths buried inside the information we consume all day long. He’s going to provide an overview of basic statistical-analysis techniques to help you make decisions around your self-storage business, providing examples that are specifically relevant to facility ownership and management.

If this topic intimidates you, don’t let it. John’s approach to the subject is fresh and approachable, designed to help the average person be smarter and more confident in his approach to data. We hope you’ll join us for this live presentation and give us your impressions of “Everydata,” which also happens to be the title of John’s new book, scheduled for release in April.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in ways you can and should be using data in the daily management of your self-storage operation, check out the article “6 Management-Software Reports Every Self-Storage Operator Should Understand and Use,” written by industry expert Bob Copper, and the video “12 Key Management Reports for Self-Storage and Their Secrets Revealed,” presented by Anne Ballard, aka “The Hat Lady.” Both will help you break down the reports you can extract from your facility software and make them easier to understand and apply on a regular basis.

How are you using data to manage and improve your self-storage business? Have you discovered news ways to make it more palatable and accessible? Please share your tips in the comments section below. We’d love to hear your insights.

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