Our businesses thrive and grow in part because of what we do, but in larger part because of what others do for us. This is a good time to take a step back and think about those customers, employees, vendors, partners and colleagues deserving of your thanks this holiday season and beyond, and how you want to express your gratitude.
Acknowledging the support of those who make your business what it is should be thoughtful and heartfelt. After all, the self-storage business is more than a collection of rented spaces. Those units represent memories, prized possessions, and sentiments amid run-of-the-mill stuff. So while it may appear somewhat pedestrian to the outside world, it’s anything but to those whose possessions reside inside those units.
1. Host one or more potlucks, parties or celebrations for employees, key customers and others involved in the success of your business. Do something that everybody else isn’t doing. How about a “the world didn’t end after all” party held after the new year, when celebrations have slacked off? Or, since the end of the Mayan calendar is interpreted by some as the beginning of a new world order of collaboration, you could theme the celebration accordingly.
If on-site doesn’t work for some reason, go to a local restaurant and negotiate some type of group deal. In these economically challenging times particularly, many eateries will offer low-cost or even free drinks and appetizers to get group business. After all, some of those people will continue to spend money after the party is over and/or become restaurant customers. A local Denver restaurant, for example, offers free pizza and beer every Friday from 3-5 p.m. and has developed a new paying-customer base because of the promotion.
2. Reward customer and employee loyalty and longevity. Come up with a formula for the value of the reward based on the length of the relationship. These rewards don’t have to be expensive. For example, if your facility is near a shopping center with boutique shops, you can likely negotiate some great deals. These can include discounts for buying in bulk or equal value exchanges for promoting their products and services through your facility.
3. Provide something free that competitors charge for. Do the words, “Bags fly free” ring a bell? Southwest Airlines continues to allow free bags because it provides a tangible benefit vis-a-vis the competition. They also don’t charge a penalty fee for changing a reservation—again in stark contrast to competitors. When it’s time to book a trip, these two benefits often make it easy to choose Southwest.
4. Make tenants members. Give tenants a membership card entitling them to ongoing or periodic discounts on designated products and services. While the barrier to entry at Costco isn’t all that high, the fact that people have a membership card making them part of an organization obviously holds appeal. There are also the periodic coupon discounts offered by Costco and other organizations, which can be conveyed through some combination of texting, email, snail mail and online sites. Costco and other retailers such as Bed, Bath and Beyond do this regularly.
Happy Holidays…and beyond!
Image courtesy of universalstudiosentertainment.com