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Executive Summary

Your executive summary is the first part of your self-storage business plan, but you usually write it last because it is a summary of the most important parts of your plan.

The point of your Executive Summary is to get the reader’s attention quickly. Tell them what kind of self-storage business you run and what its status is. For example, are you a new business, do you have a self-storage business that you want to grow, or do you run a chain of self-storage facilities?

Next, give an overview of each part of your plan that follows. For example, you could give a short summary of the self-storage industry. Talk about the kind of self-storage business you run. Detail your direct competitors. Describe the people you want to reach. Give a brief overview of your marketing plan. Find the important people on your team. And explain what your financial plan is.

Company Analysis

In your business analysis, you will explain what kind of storage business you run.

For instance, you could run one of the following storage businesses:

  1. Portable container: This type of storage business lets customers easily move their own storage units.
  1. Climate-controlled storage is a type of business that keeps things safe from damage caused by high temperatures and humidity.
  1. Vehicle storage: This kind of storage business lets people store different kinds of vehicles in a safe way.

In the Company Analysis section of your self storage business plan, you need to explain what kind of storage business you will run and give background information about the business.

Answers should be given to questions like:

  • When did you start your business, and why?
  • What important steps have you taken so far? Milestones could be the number of rented self-storage units, the number of contracts that are renewed, the number of referrals, and so on.
  • Your legal structure. Are you set up as an S-Corporation? An LLC? A single-person business? Tell us about your legal structure.

In your business analysis, you will explain what kind of storage business you run.

For instance, you could run one of the following storage businesses:

  1. Portable container: This type of storage business lets customers easily move their own storage units.
  1. Climate-controlled storage is a type of business that keeps things safe from damage caused by high temperatures and humidity.
  1. Vehicle storage: This kind of storage business lets people store different kinds of vehicles in a safe way.

In the Company Analysis section of your self storage business plan, you need to explain what kind of storage business you will run and give background information about the business.

Answers should be given to questions like:

  • When did you start your business, and why?
  • What important steps have you taken so far? Milestones could be the number of rented self-storage units, the number of contracts that are renewed, the number of referrals, and so on.
  • Your legal structure. Are you set up as an S-Corporation? An LLC? A single-person business? Tell us about your legal structure.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to talk about the self-storage facility as a whole.

Even though this may seem pointless, it has more than one use.

First, learning about the self-storage industry gives you knowledge. It gives you a better idea of the market you are in.

Second, market research can help you make your strategy better, especially if it shows you market trends.

The third reason to do market research is to show your readers that you know a lot about your field. You do just that by doing the research and putting it in your plan.

In the industry analysis section of your storage business plan, you should answer the following questions:

  • How much money does the storage industry make?
  • Is the market going down or up?
  • Who are your main rivals in the market?
  • Who are the main market suppliers?
  • What changes are happening in the field?
  • How fast is the industry expected to grow in the next 5–10 years?
  • How big is the market that matters? That is, how big could your self-storage facility’s market be? You can figure out such a number by figuring out how big the market is in the whole country and then applying that number to the population in your area.

Customer Analysis

In the section of your business plan called “Customer Analysis,” you must describe the customers you serve or expect to serve.

Students, business owners, families, and people who are moving are all examples of customer segments.

As you might guess, the type of self-storage business you run will depend a lot on the customer segment(s) you choose. Students would want different service options and respond to different marketing campaigns than, say, families who are moving.

Try to figure out who your target market is by looking at their demographics and how they think and feel. In terms of demographics, you should talk about the ages, genders, locations, and levels of income of the customers you want to serve. Because most self-storage facilities serve people who live in the same city or town, it’s easy to find this kind of demographic information on government websites.

Psychographic profiles explain what your target customers want and need. The better you can understand and define these needs, the easier it will be to get customers and keep them coming back.

Competitive Analysis

In your competitive analysis, you should list your business’s direct and indirect competitors and then focus on the direct ones.

Self-storage facilities compete directly with each other.

Indirect competitors are other places where customers can buy things that aren’t direct competitors. This includes businesses that have their own storage space and people who keep extra things in their attics or basements. You should talk about this competition to show that you know that not everyone who needs storage will use a self-storage company.

In terms of direct competition, you should list the other self-storage facilities that you compete with. Self-storage facilities that are very close to you will probably be your main competitors.

Give an overview of each of these competitors’ businesses and list their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you’ve worked at one of your competitors’ companies, you won’t know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key facts about them, such as:

  • What kind of clients do they work with?
  • What kind of services do they offer for storage?
  • How much do they charge (high, low, etc.)?
  • What can they do well?
  • What do they do wrong?

For the last two questions, try to answer them from the customers’ point of view. And don’t be afraid to ask the customers of your competitors what they like and dislike about them.

The last part of the competitive analysis part of your business plan is to write down where you have an advantage over your competitors. As an example:

  • Will you provide superior services?
  • Will you offer things that your competitors don’t?
  • Will you make using your services easier or faster for customers?
  • Will you treat your customers better?
  • Will you price things better?

Think about how you will do better than your competitors and write them down in this part of your business plan.

Marketing Plan

Usually, a marketing plan has four parts: the product, the price, the place, and the promotion. Your marketing plan for a storage business should include the following:

Product: In the product section, you should repeat the type of storage business that you wrote about in your Company Analysis. Then, give specifics about the products you’ll be selling. For example, do you offer services like 24-hour security, electronic gate access, and on-site staff in addition to self-storage?

Price: Write down the prices you’ll be charging and how they compare to those of your competitors. In your marketing plan, the product and price sections are basically where you list the services you offer and how much they cost.

Place: This is where your self-storage business is located. Write down where you are and how that will affect your success. For example, is your self-storage business near a major highway, public transportation, etc.? Talk about how your location could attract a steady flow of customers.

Promotions: The section on promotions is the last part of your self-storage marketing plan. Here, you’ll write down how you’ll get people to your location (s). Here are some ways you could promote your business:

  • Putting ads in newspapers and magazines in your area
  • Contacting local websites
  • Flyers
  • Social media marketing
  • Local radio advertising

Operations Plan

In the first parts of your self-storage business plan, you talked about your goals. In the operations plan, you talk about how you will reach those goals. Your plan for operations should have two separate parts.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks you need to do to run your storage business, such as managing security, keeping the building in good shape, and helping customers.

Long-term goals are the goals you want to reach in the future. These could be the dates when you think you’ll rent out 100 self-storage units or when you hope to make $X. It could also be when you plan to open a new location or grow your business.

Management Team

A strong management team is a must if you want to show that your self-storage business can be successful. Showcase the backgrounds of your key players, focusing on the skills and experiences that prove they can help a company grow.

You and/or your team members should have managed self-storage facilities before. If so, talk about your experience and skills. But also highlight any experience you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is missing something, you might want to put together an advisory board. A two-to-eight-person advisory board would help your business in the same way that a mentor would. They would help answer questions and give advice on how to plan. If you need to, look for advisory board members who have run self-storage companies or small businesses well.

Financial Plan

Your 5-year financial plan should include a monthly or quarterly breakdown for the first year, then an annual breakdown after that. Your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement are all part of your financial statements.

Income Statement

A more common name for an income statement is a Profit and Loss statement, or P&L. It shows your income and then takes away your expenses to show if you made a profit.

You need to make assumptions in order to make your income statement. For instance, will you average 75% or 95% occupancy? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% every year? As you might expect, the financial forecasts for your business will be greatly affected by the assumptions you choose. Do as much research as you can to try to make sure your assumptions are true.

The Balance Sheets

Balance sheets list what you own and what you owe. Balance sheets can have a lot of information, but try to boil them down to the most important parts. For example, if you spend $100,000 to set up your self-storage business, you won’t make money right away. Instead, it is an asset that you can use to make money for years to come. If a bank gives you a $100,000 check, you don’t have to pay it back right away. Instead, you will have to pay that back over time.

Statement of Cash Flow

Your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of cash. Most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t realize that you can make money but still go bankrupt if you run out of money. For example, let’s say a local office building came to you with a $50,000 contract to provide self-storage services for the building’s tenants. Let’s also say that the contract would cost you an extra $50,000 in staffing costs to complete. Well, you would have to pay that $50,000 now for things like employee salaries, utilities, etc. But let’s say that the company took 180 days to pay you. During that time, you might run out of money.

When making your Income Statement and Balance Sheet, make sure to include some of the most important costs of starting and growing a self-storage business.

  • Location build-out, which includes construction, design fees, etc.
  • Cost of things like surveillance systems, dollies, and climate control systems
  • Payroll or wages given to employees Business insurance
  • Taxes and licenses:
  • Legal expenses