Recently, while exhibiting at an Annual State Association Conference, I had the good fortune of meeting a gentleman who told me he was “low tech” in regards to his self storage operation. He admitted he knew he needed to upgrade, but just had not. Of course, that begged the question, "why?" I found the unwillingness or hesitation on his part perplexing. What was holding him back? More importantly, what might the catalyst be to potentially make him upgrade? To confound the situation, he was candid and self-aware and demonstrated no sense of urgency to amend his “low tech” status.
To a degree, I can excuse an individual for not knowing. We are forever learning and unaware of so much as our industry rapidly evolves. Yet, once someone becomes aware of their deficiencies, I struggle to understand, justify or make allowances for any individual who chooses not to correct those inadequacies.
Could this approach to technology derive from our industry being predominately single-store owners? Or might it be because we are a fractured industry? Is it a generational preference, as in more baby boomer owners than Gen X? Is it geographical: urban versus suburban versus rural? Or is it simply an archaic mindset mandating that self storage facilities have an individual present to provide customer service, generate and capture traffic and ultimately aide in creating profitability?
There is a misguided belief that technology has to replace or will replace your established way of doing things. Conversely, I see technology, in all forms, affording more options and creating efficiencies that would otherwise not be present in our established patterns of conducting business.
There was a line from a movie I never forgot that said “adapt or die.” While extreme in this context, I would revise slightly and suggest “adapt or get left behind” is more applicable and also very accurate. Those of you reluctant to change, disinclined to evolve or immovable towards technological innovations, will not only regret it, but will become obsolete and get left behind.