Inside Self-Storage

DEC 2018

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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Teri L. Lanza, Vice President teri.lanza@informa.com It isn't easy being the boss. Sure, it can have its advantages; but at the end of the day, you're the person accountable for the performance of your business, team, organization, brand or whatever it is you oversee, which can mean considerable pressure and, no doubt, the occasional sleepless night. You're also responsible for the professional functioning and well-being of the people who work for you, and that can be intensely challenging, as they're all unique snowflakes with individual needs. The goal is to create fulfilled, healthy, productive employees, but some days this is like trying to catch rainwater in a sieve. Self-storage owners represent operations of all shapes and sizes. You might be an independent, single facility owner who handles all day-to-day site management himself; or you might be a partner in a business that owns hundreds of properties. That's clearly a drastic range, and the folks at these two ends of the spectrum are going to have very different requirements in terms of what they need to know to succeed. However, they've got two key things in common: They're both invested in their asset, and they want it to be as lucrative as possible. In this issue, we've addressed three of the most pressing subjects faced by all facility owners regardless of their company size and composition. These are business budgeting and financial projections, facility auditing and evaluation, and staff management. Even if you use the services of a third-party management company, you're likely involved in these critical functions to some extent, even if it's only setting a process to guide their execution. These topics might also be important to you even if you're not an owner, particularly if you're a regional or divisional manager, or someone involved in decision-making for the direction of the company. First, every business needs a fiscal roadmap to help guide it through the year, and this is the time to create one if you haven't done so already. Your budget should anticipate how much revenue might be generated based on past performance and planned sales and marketing activity, and how much will likely be spent on various categories of expenses. Storage expert Matt Van Horn will walk you through the process and what should be included in your plan on page 14. Another critical aspect of ownership is site auditing, an exercise through which you measure the efficiency and value of your operation and staff. If you aren't regularly testing the strength of your venture, how can you possibly know how to find and fix the leaks in your revenue stream? Whether you conduct these site evaluations yourself or work with a professional to scrutinize the business, it's a practice you can't afford to skip. Of course, it's about a lot more than just policing for employee theft; but there are red flags associated with this risk, which is among the items an audit aims to detect. Industry CPA and auditing authority Magen Smith will share what those are on page 20. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you have to focus on your people. How you source, recruit, hire, train, evaluate and coach your staff will have long-lasting and deep-rooted effects on the performance of your self-storage assets. You must know what you're doing or work with someone who does, or you won't only sacrifice profitability, you'll create additional, unnecessary expense. We walk you through several of these vital tasks starting on page 26, from writing policies and procedures, to finding and vetting job candidates, to deciding compensation, to providing education and a positive work culture. However you choose to handle these ownership essentials, you don't have go it alone—nor should you. I'm not just referring to the availability of consultants and industry experts to help you manage the work and make smart decisions. There are plenty of those, and I certainly urge you to seek any support you may require. But I'm also talking about your team. Lean on them. Include them in your planning and decision-making. Help them understand how the business ticks, how money is earned and lost, and the impact they have, directly and indirectly, on the bottom line. Success doesn't always trickle down from the top; sometimes it rises from the ground up! Your pack needs you, so learn what you must to be a great facility owner and lead them to success. There are times when it makes sense to be a Lone Wolf, but owning a self-storage facility isn't one of them. In the words of "Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin, "When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives." Happy holidays to you and yours. May you be warm and well this winter. All the best, THE INSIDE VIEW Don't Operate Like a Lone Wolf 6 ISS I December 2018 www.insideselfstorage.com

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