Construction Planning Includes Security

By Steve Cooper

So, you have identified a piece of property and have determined that its highest and best use likely points to the development of a self-storage store. Feasibility studies show positive trends in the neighborhood and your bankers like the prospects. Even before the planning commission and zoning board have stamped their approval on your plan, you have the itch to start scratching the dirt.

Stop. Think. Plan. A successful self-storage venture must strike a balance between maximizing the use of the square footage available and providing easy, convenient usage for the eventual tenants. Design now for prospect interest and customer service. Plan ahead for the infrastructure that will result in your ability to show off a Class A property, know that your customers will find your property easy to use, and that you will have proper and adequate property protection. Make sure you have a security page in your design plan.

You probably know the acronym AHJ. If not, you will before you finish your construction project. The Authority Having Jurisdiction may have much to say about features and aspects of the details. A planner may specify requirements based on a building code. The fire marshal may demand a gate opening of a particular length or type. The time to discover the requirements and make provisions for the systems you plan to install is while your plan is still on paper. There may be changes made as your construction progresses, but unplanned additions can be quite expensive.

The key word is now. Plan now for the electrical supply wiring for all your low voltage security systems, conduit and raceways for camera and alarm connections, concrete standards and pylons for gates and gate operators, and equipment closets and cabinets to house the electronics that drive your security package.

Your security vendor will supply the specifications. In your planning conversations, be ready to pass along any requirements that you have become aware of, as well as your ideas on how you want each tenant to use your property. How they access different parts of your property can and should be planned. Those ideas translate directly to your construction and security plan.

It may help you visualize the construction requirements for your entire security and on-site communications system by breaking it into separate subsystems. Each will need consideration for power, data flow, and physical installation.

Access Control

An owner in Georgia, trying to help a friend who has just started construction on a 500-unit drive-up facility says, I told him where to put the gate, but he had his own idea. Hes not going to get eighteen-wheelers in and out of there without knocking the gate down once or twice a year. Access control will play a large part in your day-to-day operations. You need to know you have control over the access to your property and easy traffic flow that protects your improvements. Properly planned, you will have plenty of room for access at a gate area, ample turn areas, and driveways made to accommodate easy entry and exit.

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Some pieces of property lend themselves to easy access with a single gate and a straight shot in and out, so that no turning radius needs to be considered. Some sites must be configured for one-way traffic and multiple gates, like one store in Texas where the planning department requires entry from one street and exit to a back street. Wherever they need to be placed, each gate operator will need power and it will require a wire for data to vend the gate signal. Each keypad or other entry device will need conduit to the gate operator location or the main office. Each of the devices will need its own concrete pad as a foundation.

Climate controlled buildings present their own challenges. Your AHJ may tell you how many and what type elevators you must have in you r multi-story buildings, even if it is just two stories. You may want to control access to the elevator itself, or determine by valid code numbers the various floors designated for each tenant. If the controlling keypad is in the cab, plan ahead. The interconnection requires coordination between your security and elevator vendors.

Rollup doors at loading dock areas or for drive-through facilities will greatly enhance your appeal for some prospects, especially commercial customers. How the doors are controlled by code or card entry systems, how long they remain open, and whether or not they have alarm notification should be part of the construction plan.

Alarm Systems

Speaking of alarms, they may very well be the feature that helps your property stand above your local competition. Individual unit door alarms may be hard-wired or wireless. Either way, youll be looking at similar requirements. Youll need power and data connections, as well as a convenient place to locate the components of the alarm control and communication system.

You may choose to use your unit alarm components to double as lighting controls for each unit. Manufacturers of the contact switches now provide the capability, but that choice must be planned so that the security vendor and electrician can coordinate the wiring and dedicated circuits for the lighting contactors.

Your AHJ may require termination of your alarm notifications at a monitoring facility or the local police station. They may not allow an external siren because of community or neighborhood considerations. Each of those determinations will have an effect on your security plan, which in turn will translate to your construction plan.

Video Surveillance

Closed Circuit Television, CCTV, has proved it self in acting as a deterrent to crime and vandalism in virtually all locations. Especially with the sophistication, reliability, and functionality of the current generation of digital video recorders, video surveillance becomes a powerful weapon in your battle to protect your property and provide outstanding customer service. Each camera must be powered from a plug-in power supply within a few yards of the location or from a central power supply in the equipment room. For long distance runs over about 800 feet, a larger coaxial cable may be required, chewing up more conduit space. For even longer runs, some owners are opting for other technologies like twisted pair wiring or more expensive fiber optic backbones through the property. Inside structures, your requirement may call for plenum-rated wire.

Camera locations should be selected carefully to help provide evidence that will limit owners liability as much as possible. As the owner, you want to know you have protection for your investment. Watching traffic areas where vehicles will be entering, turning, and parking should be included. Having an electronic eye on building entrances, elevator lobbies, and loading areas will help you manage your property and provide excellent customer service.

If you make a refuse container available to your tenants or the public, you probably want to have an evidentiary record of what goes in it. With disposal restrictions that now exist in most jurisdictions, you may need to prove the reason you are sending a surcharge bill to a customer that left you with unwanted items.

Perimeter areas can be the most difficult to cover with adequate camera coverage because of the distances of the various views and the conduit distance from the front office. However, if you have a particularly vulnerable area, you will want to have the coverage. The requirements for conduit and power will be considerations in your overall planning.

Sound Systems and Intercoms

An enclosed maze of metal walls, the environment in many modern self-storage facilities intimidates some customers. Music soothes the nerves and softens the atmosphere with a bit of ambience. Each speaker in the system wires in a daisy chain for each floor or zone back to a centrally located amplifier. Generally speaking, that is a free run without conduit, but may require pre-planned transit locations through firewalls. The value of being able to provide the music background and proprietary promotional announcements over your PA system makes the effort and planning worthwhile. Your customers will appreciate it.

Your busy management staff needs all the assistance possible. A comprehensive plan for two-way communications helps. From a keypad or card reader location, from each elevator lobby, and from well-located call stations throughout your property, customers like to know they can press an intercom call button and speak to someone. Systems even exist that integrate the two-way calls to your office telephone for handling there or for forwarding to another location or call center. Wire connections make the communication possible. The wiring needs to show on your construction prints along with all your other planned amenities.


Your project plan has specifications. You have completed the estimates. You have assigned the task. Now comes the fun part that construction project managers enjoy the mostscheduling. If you have been fortunate enough to surround yourself with competent, quality vendors, and you have a comprehensive set of plans that shows where everything should go, how each conduit line should be finished off to accept equipment, and have all the possibilities labeled well, you have a shot at a smooth installation sequence.

Coordination and communication make things go smoothly. Otherwise, you may be like a friend who says, I planned for more conduit than anyone would ever need from building to building. It must have been too much, or we didnt get it labeled well. The electrician put high power into the low power conduits. The security guy used three different pipes instead of running all the camera coax in one, the way he was supposed to. Now, weve got no room to pull more wire and we still have three buildings to add on.

Fortunately, there are wireless devices available that will help to overcome most of those problems. Unfortunately, because of having to make the changes necessary, the project expense is climbing.

Stop. Think. Plan. Theres no reason you cant have a top-notch storage location that meets your prospective tenants expectations. You have the obligation to protect your property for their use and your peace of mind. Add the comprehensive scope of security tools to your overall construction plan at the outset. A page for security deserves its place in your set of site prints.

About the Author: Steve Cooper is part of the marketing team at Digitech International Inc., which produces comprehensive security solutions for various applications. Cooper can be reached at 800.523.9504 or visit Digitech at


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E Marketing Strategy: 7 Dimensions To Consider (The E Marketing Mix)

By Otilia Otlacan

What is e-Marketing?

e-Marketing is still quite a controversial subject to talk about, since no one succeeded to unify the various theories around it; however there is one thing upon which there is no doubt – that e-Marketing first appeared under the form of various techniques deployed by pioneer companies selling their products via the internet in the early 90’s.

The frenzy around these new marketing techniques created by e-tailers and supported by the internet rapidly gave birth to a new dimension of what we knew as Marketing: the e-Marketing (electronic Marketing).

There are many definitions to what e-Marketing is, the simplest and shortest one being formulated by Mark Sceats: e-Marketing is Marketing that uses the internet as manifestation media. A working definition is that coming from a group of CISCO specialists: e-Marketing is the sum of all activities a business conducts through the internet with the purpose of finding, attracting, winning and retaining customers.

e-Marketing Strategy

The e-Marketing Strategy is normally based and built upon the principles that govern the traditional, offline Marketing – the well-known 4 P’s (Product – Price – Promotion – Positioning) that form the classic Marketing mix. Add the extra 3 P’s (People – Processes – Proof) and you got the whole extended Marketing mix.

Until here, there are no much aspects to differentiate e-Marketing from the traditional Marketing performed offline: the extended Marketing mix (4 + 3 P’s) is built around the concept of “transactional” and its elements perform transactional functions defined by the exchange paradigm. What gives e-Marketing its uniqueness is a series of specific functions, relational functions, that can be synthesized in the 2P + 2C+ 3S formula: Personalization, Privacy, Customer Service, Community, Site, Security, Sales Promotion.

These 7 functions of the e-Marketing stay at the base of any e-Marketing strategy and they have a moderating character, unlike the classic Marketing mix that comprises situational functions only. Moderating functions of e-Marketing have the quality of moderate, operate upon all situational functions of the mix (the classic 4 P’s) and upon each other.

1. Personalization

The fundamental concept of personalization as a part of the e-Marketing mix lies in the need of recognizing, identifying a certain customer in order to establish relations (establishing relations is a fundamental objective of Marketing). It is crucial to be able to identify our customers on individual level and gather all possible information about them, with the purpose of knowing our market and be able to develop customized, personalized products and services.

For example, a cookie strategically placed on the website visitor’s computer can let us know vital information concerning the access speed available: in consequence, if we know the visitor is using a slow connection (eg. dial-up) we will offer a low-volume variation of our website, with reduced graphic content and no multimedia or flash applications. This will ease our customer’s experience on our website and he will be prevented from leaving the website on the reason that it takes too long to load its pages.

Personalization can be applied to any component of the Marketing mix; therefore, it is a moderating function.

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2. Privacy

Privacy is an element of the mix very much connected to the previous one – personalization. When we gather and store information about our customers and potential customers (therefore, when we perform the personalization part of the e-Marketing mix) a crucial issue arises: that of the way this information will be used, and by whom. A major task to do when implementing an e-Marketing strategy is that of creating and developing a policy upon access procedures to the collected information.

This is a duty and a must for any conscious marketer to consider all aspects of privacy, as long as data are collected and stored, data about individual persons.

Privacy is even more important when establishing the e-Marketing mix since there are many regulations and legal aspects to be considered regarding collection and usage of such information.

3. Customer Service

Customer service is one of the necessary and required activities among the support functions needed in transactional situations.

We will connect the apparition of the customer service processes to the inclusion of the “time” parameter in transactions. When switching from a situational perspective to a relational one, and e-Marketing is mostly based on a relational perspective, the marketer saw himself somehow forced into considering support and assistance on a non-temporal level, permanently, over time.

For these reasons, we should consider the Customer Service function (in its fullest and largest definition) as an essential one within the e-Marketing mix.

As we can easily figure out, the service (or assistance if you wish) can be performed upon any element from the classic 4 P’s, hence its moderating character.

4. Community

We can all agree that e-Marketing is conditioned by the existence of this impressive network that the internet is. The merely existence of such a network implies that individuals as well as groups will eventually interact. A group of entities that interact for a common purpose is what we call a “community” and we will soon see why it is of absolute importance to participate, to be part of a community.

The Metcalf law (named after Robert Metcalf) states that the value of a network is given by the number of its components, more exactly the value of a network equals the square of the number of components. We can apply this simple law to communities, since they are a network: we will then conclude that the value of a community rises with the number of its members. This is the power of communities; this is why we have to be a part of it.

The customers / clients of a business can be seen as part of a community where they interact (either independent or influenced by the marketer) – therefore developing a community is a task to be performed by any business, even though it is not always seen as essential.

Interactions among members of such a community can address any of the other functions of e-Marketing, so it can be placed next to other moderating functions.

5. Site

We have seen and agreed that e-Marketing interactions take place on a digital media – the internet. But such interactions and relations also need a proper location, to be available at any moment and from any place – a digital location for digital interactions.

Such a location is what we call a “site”, which is the most widespread name for it. It is now the time to mention that the “website” is merely a form of a “site” and should not be mistaken or seen as synonyms. The “site” can take other forms too, such as a Palm Pilot or any other handheld device, for example.

This special location, accessible through all sort of digital technologies is moderating all other functions of the e-Marketing – it is then a moderating function.

6. Security

The “security” function emerged as an essential function of e-Marketing once transactions began to be performed through internet channels.

What we need to keep in mind as marketers are the following two issues on security:

– security during transactions performed on our website, where we have to take all possible precautions that third parties will not be able to access any part of a developing transaction;

– security of data collected and stored, about our customers and visitors.

A honest marketer will have to consider these possible causes of further trouble and has to co-operate with the company’s IT department in order to be able to formulate convincing (and true, honest!) messages towards the customers that their personal details are protected from unauthorized eyes.

7. Sales Promotion

At least but not last, we have to consider sales promotions when we build an e-Marketing strategy. Sales promotions are widely used in traditional Marketing as well, we all know this, and it is an excellent efficient strategy to achieve immediate sales goals in terms of volume.

This function counts on the marketer’s ability to think creatively: a lot of work and inspiration is required in order to find new possibilities and new approaches for developing an efficient promotion plan.

On the other hand, the marketer needs to continuously keep up with the latest internet technologies and applications so that he can fully exploit them.

To conclude, we have seen that e-Marketing implies new dimensions to be considered aside of those inherited from the traditional Marketing. These dimensions revolve around the concept of relational functions and they are a must to be included in any e-Marketing strategy in order for it to be efficient and deliver results.

About the Author: Otilia is a certified Marketing consultant with expertise in e-Marketing and e-Business. She developed and teach her own online course in Principles of Marketing (

). You can contact Otilia through her Marketing resources portal at


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How To Keep Your Downline Active

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Submitted by: Carrie Harris

Why is it so difficult to keep an active downline? Anyone who has recruited more than on person into their company has experienced a time when one person is recruited in, while at the same time, two or more are dropping out. So, why are people leaving faster than you can recruit them? It is easy to get caught up in recruiting more people to build our downline, that we neglect the downline that we already have. All of our energy tends to be focused on recruiting, while we should be doing more follow-up customer service.

So, why are people dropping out faster than you can recruit them? Most people drop out because they are ignored or forgotten by their up line. Follow-up customer service may seem difficult to get to sometimes, but if you want future growth and better retention rates, it is an extremely important part of running your business. This needs to be a priority. This will create an instant viral downline for you.

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There are many ways to ensure that you keep your downline active for a long period of time.

You must implement a customer service policy. This is simply providing customer service and follow-up to your entire downline. You really should follow-up with every new downline within one week. This would include calling them to be sure they are happy with the product or service they purchased, or even to make sure they are getting off to a good start in building a business of their own. This shows them that you care about them and value their business. It will then give you the opportunity to get more business and to strengthen the relationship you have with them. By staying in contact wtih your downline, you can stay ahead of your downline’s needs. You should always try to think ahead, so you can anticipate their future needs as well. Your downlnie will be happy and satisfied, and can help you to exceed their expectations.

As your business grows, you must keep records on your downline. It will be impossible to keep all of your downline information and needs in your head. Creating customer files is a good way to keep this all organized. You should include notes of their current and potential needs, as well as notes from conversations you’ve had with them.

Remember to always be supportive and work closely with your downline. You will be amazed at how much more of a success rate you will have with those who you personally sponsor and you support and work closely with. Obviously, there will be those who will never do what they need to do in order to have success, and we can’t do it for them, but when you provide support, it will greatly improve the retention of your downline. Along with working closely with them, you should always show concern for your downline. You want them to see that you are not just in this for their money You have to get your mind set on this thought. If you provide good customer service, value through concern for them, and deliver quality help, your downline will be in it for the long term. You will have an instant viral downline!

Remember to make follow-up and customer service your priority! Your business and wealth depends on it!

About the Author: Carrie Harris is the leader of the fastest growing team of successful home business enterpernuers on the net. Become financially free by visiting


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