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Managing for Dollars: Getting Some Storage Muscle

January 17, 2008

3 Min Read
Managing for Dollars: Getting Some Storage Muscle

Self-storage can be a lonely business. The industry is comprised of many owners and operators who have a single location or handful of stores. Frequently, the site manager works by himself or with a very small team, and he may only see the owner or supervisor a few times a month, if that. And as people with an entrepreneurial spirit, facility managers are more of an I can figure it out myself personality type than one who asks for help.

So what happens when a situation arises and we really do need help? Where do we turn?

Take One for the Team

While storage is not a team sport, it certainly helps to take the team approach. Developing a network of contacts for various items that are common elements in the industry is really a must to running a successful business and staying on top of trends in the industry.

Your state association is a great place to begin developing those contacts. As a director for the Florida Self Storage Association, I often speak with owners, operators or managers who are struggling with a question or issue. We dont always have the answers, but sometimes having a sounding board can help a caller achieve clarity. Other times, we can offer an idea or put the caller in touch with another member who can help him.

When people ask about the benefits of being part of the association, the first we point out is members ability to reach the right people at the right time for their immediate issues. The association is a conduit for those contacts.

Association membership is much like your gym membership: It works best when you use the resources and participate. You dont get muscles by thinking about them. If you pay your gym dues but never lift a weight, youre wasting your money. Likewise, if you participate in your state associationattend events, use the resources, stay informed)youll get a greater benefit from your membership. Think of it as self-storage muscle. With a little training, youll be working at peak performance.

Muscle Up

Most state associations are small, grassroots organizations. It takes commitment and effort from dedicated volunteers to start and sustain a group of this type. An influx of new ideas, energy and enthusiasm is more significant than money. Sending the membership check each year is easy, but think of the famous adage: Just as important as what can the association do for you is what you can do for your association.

Participating in the organizations board of directors, committees, events and education sessions is a great way to strengthen your knowledge, contacts and position in the industry. Put a little muscle into your efforts, and youll be bulking up profits in no time.

Your state association is your industry support system. The backbone of that support is the members. Join today and make a commitment to participate by offering your help in whatever area you excel at. Volunteering even a small portion of your time can make a huge difference to a small and growing association. 

Linnea Appleby is president of PDQ Management Solutions Inc., a Sarasota, Fla.-based company that provides full-service facility management, consulting, startup services, auditing, management training and more. She is also the managing director for the Florida Self Storage Association. For information, call 941.377.3151; visit www.pdqmanagementsolutions.com

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