Effective Networking Practices Part 1

The problem is no one besides that 3% of people who actually succeed in their own business really knows what it means and how to do it effectively.

Quite simply the main thing you are looking for in your networking is to find someone who can help you make money!  Now I just skipped about 10 crucial steps that will help you do so, but always keep your eye on the prize.  You are looking for business, clients, and leads to help your business grow.

Whether that person is on an airplane, at a local networking event, 2012 World Series Champion Cubs game, or just a good friend you have not spoken with; you are trying to see if you can make money from that person plain and simple.

You may think I am using them but through the extensive training programs I have taken, I was taught how to build a mutually beneficial relationship.  Tens of thousands of dollars in sales coaching later, I quickly realized that I have left millions on the table in my career!

What you will always strive for is a winning relationship for both parties.  Each and every time I have ever made money from anyone it has been a win-win relationship.  That person received something of value in return.  Whether it was a product, service, a business lead, or a good feeling that they left that encounter better off.

In Part 1 of this Blog I wanted to cover the introduction or elevator pitch that you can use to gather attention.  In Part 2 and Part 3 I will cover two very critical aspects of networking.

Your Elevator Pitch

I’m not sure if you are like me, but you may have been given the chance to do an elevator pitch in a situation with 5, 10, or maybe more people in the room, that all get a few seconds to talk about their business.  If it hasn’t happened yet get ready and you better be prepared when it does.  Most importantly you better knock it out of the park (Stalin Castro Style). You can probably tell I am a die hard Cubs fan by now.

So here is what is in a good introduction….

Part 1 “Who I Am”- Be sure to stand up and address the crowd if possible, speak loudly, and announce who you are with a nice fancy title like President or CEO, or whatever title you have. Just make sure it’s something that can grab people’s attention.

Part 2 “What I Do- Talk in affect to your actual job title and what you do” Make this kind of short as the next part is the most important!

Part 3 “What I DO for People” You must hit a home run with your audience on this one.  You really have to tell people the pain that you take away.  If there was no pain in someone’s life then why on earth would they be at a networking event?  They would be at home with their families watching that favorite TV show or outdoors.  Every business person has a pain and if you can show how your product or service would drastically reduce that pain or headache you would be well on your way to making a great impression in your introduction.  Focus on what you do that sets you apart from those other people at that same event pitching what you pitch.  What makes you so much better than the next guy and how are you going to specifically help with my problem?

Now I am going to give you two different introductions to choose from and you can be the judge on which one has a bigger impact.

Introduction 1 “My name is Casey Cavell and I am a real estate investor.  I focus on investing in self-storage facilities and currently own investment properties in three different states.  I have my real estate license, own a few other businesses, and starting a new company as well.  I have partnered with a few people that are looking to partner with a few more people that are interested in making some money.”

Introduction 2 “My Name is Casey Cavell and I am the President of Always Open Storage. In the past four years I have built a significant real estate portfolio during these terrible economic conditions.  I have helped numerous people generate an outstanding return on their investment dollars in this risky climate by giving people an investment vehicle that was proven and ran by someone who was an expert in the business.

I am now turning my focusing on helping others who are looking to become financially free through either passive investments or partners looking to help me launch a brand new company which is poised to become a multi million dollar business within a very short amount of time.  I greatly appreciate this opportunity and looking forward to developing some great relationships.

Ok so which one had you wanting more???  I am sure number two!

In the second introduction I gave myself a title and then I showed people that I was able to do something that not many have done in a very bleak time in our economy.  I also positioned myself as an expert and showed people that even though things are scary I am a person that can help you manage these risky times.  I then positioned myself as someone looking for partners on a new company that I am launching and I gave value on that new company stating that it would be a tremendous opportunity.  That introduction hits the most points and really opens myself up to others who are curious about what I am doing so they can seek me out.

The main advice that I can give you is to be sure to take batting practice before you enter the game.  When you are heading to a networking event be sure to practice before you arrive and know exactly what you are going to say and how you are going to say it in order to get the very best possible outcome.  Feel free to shoot me over what you are thinking and I will give you my expert opinion!

You will do great.

Casey Cavell

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Networking Part II- How to Conduct a Networking Meeting

The next step in the networking process would be to generate a sit down or one on one meeting.  This could be done after meeting someone at a general networking event where you hit it off.  You both could work with people who would potentially use each other’s services and quite simply if you had a good vibe with that person and there is a potential you could help one another out.

You would call that person up that very next day and see if they would be open to a quick cup of coffee, no more than 45 minutes, to expand on your conversation to see if there is a way to help each other’s businesses grow.

The Meeting

There are two main things you are looking to accomplish from that meeting…

1. See if that person is a potential client

A. Could what you have save that person, time, energy, and money?

2. If they are not a client, can that person become a strategic partner?

A. Do you each know of others who could buy that person’s product or service and would you be willing to refer them back and forth?

So obviously it would be great if that person is a buyer for your service but if they are not, you will want to see if they may do business with others that could potentially be.

Now that we laid out our goals let’s talk about how we accomplish them.

You must have a set plan when you have a networking appointment so you don’t go off track, waste time, and you accomplish everything that you need to in the shortest amount of time possible.

It is important to know that people will do business with you because they know, like, and trust you. That is your main goal.  You must build some rapport with that individual and I do that early on.  With all the Facebooks, Twitters, LinkedIn’s, and so on you can get a ton of information on that person you are meeting with before the meeting.  I take a few minutes and dig up some important facts about that person’s business to bring up in that first conversation.

Someone used this tactic on me just the other day said “Casey, I was on your website yesterday and saw at the age of 22 you bought your first investment property, that is really impressive to do at such a young age, tell me more about how you did it?”

What that person did is stroke my ego and then got me to do all the talking. Whenever you are in any sort of meeting it is best to get that other person to do the majority of the talking.  That way you can learn more about how you could develop a mutually beneficial relationship with that person.

Now after stroking their ego and building some rapport I always like to set an agenda.  I may say something like this.

“Now Bob, we have about 30 minutes left here and in order to make the best use of our time would it be alright if you spoke for 10 minutes or so on your business and what you specifically do, and then I can share as well?  Then that should give us a good idea by the end of the meeting if there is some synergy here and if any light bulbs go off.  We can then figure out the best way to move forward at the end of the meeting, does that sound like a good plan?”

So you continue and let them share all about their business and then you can frame your discussion around what you learned in that initial ten minutes!  Remember to let them do the talking and let them talk first!

End of the conversation

Your goal is to see if that person could be a potential client and since they did all the talking you would have a pretty good idea.  When they were speaking you were looking for pains that your product or service could help them with.  If they are someone who could be a potential client you will not want to mention that directly at that meeting because this is a networking not a sales meeting.  You may want to schedule that later on.  There are some unique tricks on how to make that work so shoot me an email or give me a call and I can show you how I do it.

At the end of the conversation you are really looking for some light bulbs to go off guiding you down the path to doing business with one another.

It is your goal to see if you can become strategic partners where you can refer business back and forth to one another at that time.  You may need to help them out a bit and that is what I call “coaching them to a lead”

I would say something like, “Bob, I am looking for some really sharp entrepreneurs. People that are really aggressive, motivated, and have had some success in business.  Do you know anyone that is really sharp that you think could mesh well with me?”

“Do you know of anyone that is looking to start their own business?  How about anyone that currently owns their own business and could be struggling?”

In one of my businesses I am looking for health contacts so I may say “Bob do you have anyone in your network that is a health nut, a personal trainer, or a fitness guru? Anyone like that”

You see those are leading questions and if they cannot think of someone right off the bat you must give them direction to get some leads over to you.

Let’s hope by now you have either realized that this person is a great client and better off that they already know that your service could help them.  That does not happen often but if it does it would be great to go ahead and set up another appointment which is what I call a ‘sales meeting’.  During that meeting you will discuss the product or service that you are offering.  Contact me directly and I can give you some free coaching on how to conduct a sales meeting.

If they are not a potential client you should hopefully leave that meeting with a list of people and that person can make introductions on your behalf.  You would then have a set way that person would make the introduction and now its your responsibly to do the same process over.

If you really have no synergy at all it may be best to call it off and keep networking.  Not everyone could be a great addition to your network and there are tons of people that are begging for your product and service; it’s your job to keep networking until you find them.  I was always told that “The best way to make a million dollars is to make a million friends”, so even adding just another friend to your network could be crucial.

I wish you all the best of luck in your networking ventures and I truly hope this information has been a help to you.

Casey Cavell

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David Manka Testimonial

Casey’s accomplishments are extraordinary.  Don’t let his youth fool you.  He has already learned how to succeed in business, and he has led others, including me, down the path of success.  It’s not about making a quick buck or taking advantage of people.  It’s about building relationships.  Casey gets that, and has made it the foundation of his success.

And I should know.  I was on the buying end of Casey’s biggest deal to date, and I happily funded his handsome paycheck at the closing table.  Why?  Because he created a great deal for both of us, and everyone at closing profited.  This is what good business is all about, and Casey is a master.

Casey is gifted at finding opportunities and adding value quickly.  He does so with an enthusiasm and charisma that is contagious.  His success comes from much more than a positive attitude.  Casey is a highly accomplished and experienced entrepreneur and leader, pursuing the American dream.  He can lead you, too.

David Manka


Steady Storage

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Justin Bieber the Business Side

Justin Bieber the Business Side

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Applying Negotiating to Real-Life Purchases

Applying Negotiating to Real-Life Purchases

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Kiosk Success Story

Kiosk Success Story Video Press Release

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Finding a job in todays market

Dear Casey,

                A friend introduced me to your website and I have been following your blog for a while.  You provide a lot of great information for people and I was hoping to get your thoughts on my situation.

Like a lot of people in today’s economy, I am having a difficult time finding a great job that pays well.  After spending 4 years in college and accruing a large amount of debt from student loans, I find it hard to find a professional job in my field of study.  Despite spending countless hours filling out applications online, writing cover letters, making call-backs to human resource offices, and even applying for lower paying service industry jobs; I still am having a difficult time even obtaining an interview.  It seems like the only places hiring are the ones that have high turnover rates because nobody wants to keep that job. 

                Could you please give me some advice on how to position myself for an interview?  Also, if you could provide tips on what employers are looking for and how to conduct myself after an interview it would be appreciated. 

Thanks for all your help,

Tom Barley – Lafayette, IN

Dear Tom Barley,

                Thanks for the kind words about my blog.  I feel an obligation to make the world around me a better place so that’s why I write so many articles about my business to show people that success can be achieved if you’re willing to put in the work for it. 

                I’m sorry to hear about your struggles finding what you termed as a ‘professional’ job.  Today’s current economy has made virtually every job competitive now.  Just the other day I read a story about a hot dog stand in New York City placing an ad for an operator in the paper.  The next day 350 were waiting in line to interview for this position!  So put that into perspective the next time you’re applying for a job.  With so many people applying for a scarce number of jobs, you really need to find something that makes you stand out to the employer. 

                In my own business, I recently needed to hire a new manager for one of my facilities.  I interviewed 7 people on the first day.  At the end of the day I had trouble remembering who was who.  However, the next morning one of the applicants came to my office with a marketing plan and looked me in the eye and told me “I am going to help you grow your business”.  I didn’t ask him to do this.  I didn’t ask any of my applicants to do anything for me.  By taking the extra time to come up with this marketing plan for me, this applicant showed me that he was willing to put in the extra work to help my business and he definitely set himself apart from everyone else.  So it was an obvious choice for me to hire this person. 

                While writing this, I’m replaying events from the movie “The Pursuit of Happiness” with Will Smith.  In that movie his character makes many sacrifices to try to further his career.  He doesn’t drink water during the day because that means he would go to the water cooler and talk to the other workers about sports, or movies, or other things; and this was time that he could be spending working.  He also doesn’t drink water so that he won’t need to go to the bathroom because that would take away from his time to work.  This was his way to make himself standout.  If he maximized his time to work, he could produce more than others. 

                The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.  My advice to you Tom is to try a different approach to your process.  Analyze your whole process and come up with ways to make yourself stand out at each part of the process.  If this means sending edible arrangements to human resource offices, sending thank you cards, whipping out a laptop during an interview to show a power point presentation; then so be it.  With so many people applying for jobs, you have to make the employer remember you. 

                I hope these suggestions help you get started on your quest for a better job.  Keep in mind that one setback doesn’t define you as a person. 

Good luck,

Casey S. Cavell

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Setting Goals and Achieving Them

The first rule in setting and achieving your goals is to be flexible on how you achieve them.  For example, when I was getting started in real estate investing I set the following goals that I wrote on April 1st 2008.  They were pretty vague as I was just getting started but I wanted to share anyway.  At this time please note it was my goal to invest in multifamily apartment buildings.  This was before I found the wonderful world of self storage.

  • 1st year goals: have over 50 rental units, and $3000 a month positive cash flow
  • 3rd year goals, have over 250 rental units and $6000 a month positive cash flow
  • 5th year goals, have over 1000 rental units and $10000 a month positive cash flow

April 1, 2014 have over $150,000 a year positive cash flow, with refinancing and trading properties, I should be able to have a company in place and have minimal work to do, and then retire.

Little did I know the journey I would go on in the next few years.

Part of my goal was to have ownership of something.  I could only dream of what it would be like to own 250 apartment units.  Wow when I own 250 apartment units I am going be so cool I said to myself.  However, when it comes down to it, it’s all about the money and passive income that let’s you live your life the way you want.  “Let your money work for you not you work for your money”, my Dad instilled in me as a kid.

I am now into the second year of the plan and I do not own the 250 apartment units.  However I do own nearly a thousand storage units and another couple commercial properties that have helped me exceed my goal of $6,000 a year in positive income.  My recent acquisition of Always Open Storage in Covington, Georgia helped me far exceed my goals.  So the point here is to be flexible but keep your eye on your goals and what is most important to you.  In my eyes that is health, family, friends, and so on.

I am writing this article on a nice spring Saturday when several of my friends are attending the Cubs game.  I feel a bit bad for missing out on the action today but I realize that this summer I will be able to do more fun things because of my ability to give up a few things now so I can have a healthier and happier future.  “Live your life like no one today so you can live like no one tomorrow” Dave Ramsey stated.

At times you will need to refine your goals but you always have that end goal of happiness there motivating you on.  Each day I always ask myself, did I do all I could today to get closer to my goals?

The next key factor is that you have to be clear of exactly what you want to achieve.  You can see by my goals above that I was not all that clear and really had no idea what I wanted to achieve.  Those were because I was at the time a novice and had no real training on goal setting.  I read in the book titled “Getting Organized in the Google Era” which I recommend to “Know exactly where you’re going-and how you’ll get there-before you start the engine.”  A clearly defined goal (and action plan to achieve it) gives context and purpose to everything you do.  These are great words to live by in life and goal setting.

When you do not have a clear understanding of your goals it is very hard to tell what is important in life.  I suggest writing it down as clearly as possible and putting together a plan of action to get the job done.  Try to do your best to make positive steps each day in the right direction and you will be achieving your goals before you know it.

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Three Feet from Gold-Association

As promised another one of the five points to a successful life from “Three Feet from Gold” This topic is going to be on association. Some people believe that being in the right place at the right time is the way to success. In a way that is true, some people have had that happen to them, but if they would not been associating with the right person, success may not have came their way. So, it is really not being in the right place at the right time, it is who you are associating with that can have the biggest impact on your life.

Associating yourself with successful individuals and others that are smarter than you is how I have become a successful business man.  When I was just getting started out of college I did not know a thing about commercial real estate or self storage, so what did I do?  I went on ebay and bought a big lot of commercial real estate investing books and was instantly given 15 mentors.  That was how I started associating myself with successful people, I do realize that not everyone who writes a book should be your direct mentor, but it was a start.  Of those fifteen books I read I then went out and contacted a few of those authors directly.  Jim Randle the author of “Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur” was one of those that I sought out.  I always judged myself as an entrepreneur and wanted to be involved with real estate so why not contact him, he was exactly what I wanted to be.  I went out and found his personal website, his personal email address, his phone number, and so on.  I am aggressive by nature and when I see something I want or someone that I want to be like I do my best and take all the possible routes to get there.  One of those best routes that I have found through experience is associating yourself with like minded individuals, who have been there and done that, and can hold your hand on the way.

Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. Eventually you will find the right ones with your same goals. You may be the one someday that everyone looks to for advice and hope for their future!

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Three Feet From Gold-Action

The most important principal is of the book “Three Feet from Gold” is action. This is one thing that the majority of us will never use in our lifetime. Every day we are all blessed with many different things and given different opportunities.  However, we never take action or do anything good with the opportunities presented to us.  Here is a good quote to live by “It is not what you are given in life, it’s what you do with it”. I have been given a lot in my life and have been surrounded and blessed by many people. I have taken those things that I was given and done something good with them and this expanded all the things in my life.

I have traveled, coached, and spoke on the real estate seminar circuit a lot in the past. My experience has been; you have a room of 500 people and I go up there and motivate them, speaking about my success. When I am done everyone stands up and is ready to go do it, then you check in later and no action was taken.  This is one thing that really bothers me, when people have been given the tools and the blueprint for success but do not take action.  Business is not easy, trust me, and this may be why people choose not to take action or when they do take action it is just too much for them and they give up.  It has been said that 90% of startups fail in the first year and there is a reason for that, it’s called “Business is not easy.” However, if you really look at those businesses that fail they were never really given a chance to succeed.  They did not have the education, resources, and the blueprint that many people have been given like myself.  I would suggest that each of you that are ready to take action go out and find a mentor, someone who has taken action in their lives and trail in their footsteps.  They are there so when you are knocked down on the mat, which you will be in business, you will know how to get right back up and keep fighting.

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Three Feet From Gold-Talent

As promised in my last blog post, I’m going to give you the second point in the book titled “Three Feet from Gold”. The second principle that he mentions is talent. Everyone has it in one form or another and it’s up to you to find yours and to make the best of it. My three talents are dealing with people, negotiating, and systems. I am able to deal with people of all kinds of backgrounds and to put systems in place for them or as a partnership to make them successful. Negotiating is one of my strengths as well. I will say however, your talents are developed at different times and not always just given to you. I guarantee you that I was not a great negotiator at first; it took learning skills, and trial and error. I went out and learned from the best, thanks Dad, and read up on the subject. Even though some are more gifted on certain levels than you, there are ways to bridge the gap. It is called hard work. Again, everyone has talents you just have to find out what yours are and develop them even further. Then if you are able to find a way to use your talents whatever they may be, incorporate them with a passion that you have. You will then be able to enjoy your life to the fullest. So, go out and find your talent, develop it even further, and incorporate it with your passion.

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Three Feet from Gold-Passion

On my many ventures in my business career, I can give some credit for my success to a book entitled, 3 Feet from Gold by Napoleon Hill. There are 5 principles that the author wrote about and I will talk about them in later blogs, but the one that made the most impression on me was passion. 

 Passion is one of the things that I have personally never lacked in my life.  Everyone has it, but at times it’s hard to find.  You just have to find out what your passion is and if there is a way to make money from it, that makes it all the better.

 Growing up as a kid my passion was baseball.  It was what I enjoyed doing and I really got a thrill every time I played the game.  I still have that passion for it today as I still play and study the game regularly.  My next passion in college was Texas Hold’em, a simple two card poker game that grew tremendously from 2003-2006.  During those years poker was my passion.  I enjoyed playing, studying, and networking with other successful pros in the game. 

Early on in life my passion was baseball, several years ago it was poker, and now its commercial real estate.  Since I became a full time real estate investor my passion has really grew for this business.  I have a passion for my employees, customers, and others that I work with on a regular basis.

Every day when I wake up I look forward to working and learning something new each day.  I have no doubts that is has helped me become successful.   I am sure one day my passion may change like it has in the past.  However, I do know that whatever passion I may have at that point in my life I will give it 100% and I will have a great desire to turn that passion into a successful business venture.  That is the mindset of a passion filled entrepreneur.   I have a good feeling my passion in a few years will resort back to baseball as it is my goal to purchase a minor league baseball team. 

So, what is your passion? What is the first thing that you do when you wake up in the morning or look forward to doing?  My advice to you is to run with it and make it your own.

I’m looking very forward to telling you about the other principles in upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned!

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Time Management

The world’s most precious resource is not oil, gold, or the almighty dollar; it is time.  Since it is a finite resource and no one knows how much time they are guaranteed, it is important to maximize efficiency in all of your business ventures.

Most people don’t realize how much time they waste throughout the day.  Let’s say that you watch on average 1 hour of television per evening.    Multiply that by 365 and that’s 365 hours worth of watching TV.  If you divide 365 by 24 (number of hours in a day), you arrive at 15.2.  That’s right, by just watching 1 hour of TV per day, a person spends 15.2 days of their year being unproductive.  That’s a long vacation by most standards.  Can you imagine all of the progress you could make towards realizing your financial dreams with 15.2 extra days to work on them?  Now I know that it is important to have a little time to relax so that you don’t become burnt out.  This was just one task though.  Imagine all of the other ways that we waste time throughout our day.  Looking at people’s statuses and pictures on facebook, taking long lunches, zoning out and listening to music; virtually anything that you do that isn’t helping you directly or indirectly achieve your dreams is wasteful. 

I recently challenged myself to work on maximizing my time in order to become a better employer, real estate investor, colleague, and mentor.  I decided I would devote 60% of my work day to work on goals I have set for that month.  30% of my work day would be spent on creating new goals and challenges for me for the next week or month.  10% of my work day would be spent identifying my weaknesses and developing solutions for them.  This 60-30-10 ratio can be applied to any goal you set.  For instance, if you have recently purchased a self storage property and your goal is to increase occupancy from 65% to 80% within one month, you can use the 60-30-10 ratio for your work day.  60% of your work day would be spent on marketing your property, sending referral bonus emails to current customers, and making improvements to your property.  30% of your day would be spent planning future goals such as; how to get from 80% to 85%.  30% of your day would be spent figuring out how to sustain your occupancy rates once you achieve your 80% goal.  Finally, 10% of your day would be spent on introspection and indentifying why you are having problems meeting your 80% occupancy goal.  If you spend 100% of your day working on a goal, setting higher future goals, and identifying any problems you might have in obtaining a goal; you will always be working towards a goal and you will achieve them. 

So to get you started, I challenge you to spend tomorrow working on a single goal.  Identify a goal that you have that can be accomplished in one day.  Spend 60% of your work day on obtaining that goal.  Spend 30% of your day planning future goals.  Finally, spend 10% of your time thinking about what is wrong with your plan and how to fix it.  Of course these duties don’t have to be done in this order.  Develop a plan for your day and budget your time accordingly.  After spending a day doing this, you will find that when you apply it to other tasks too, you are consistently achieving your goals.  Good Luck to you. 

-Casey Cavell

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A Quick Tip to Success Video by Casey Cavell

Knowledge is Not Power

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Setting Goals

The time-tested phrase ‘you have to learn to crawl before you can walk’ is merely a metaphor for setting micro and macro goals for yourself.  If your ultimate goal is to be able to walk, then yes it is important that you should learn to crawl first.  Regardless, when creating goals for yourself, remember to set intermediate ones also, so that you create checkpoints for yourself; this helps you keep on track to achieve your ultimate goals. 

 If your goal is to purchase your first self storage facility this year, you must first identify all of the components of a sale.  Finding a motivated seller with a mismanaged property that still has an upside is the ideal situation.  Believe me, it takes a lot of time and effort to find a person who is willing to sell their property. That’s just the first step!  If buying your first property is your goal, then your first micro-goal should be finding a motivated seller.  Set about a plan for finding a motivated seller.  If it takes cold-calling self storage facilities from a large owner’s database, then set a goal for the number of places you will call in a week, a month, etc.  Within each one accomplished, continue to set others.  This allows you to set them realistically for yourself.  If you just have a goal of buying a property, but you have no structure on how to achieve it, you will almost certainly fail. 

I believe in setting high standards and goals.  If you don’t achieve your ultimate goal, you will most likely achieve the secondary and improve yourself or your situation.  So in closing, remember to aim high with your ultimate goals, yet set your intermediate goals realistically because they are the ones that you will be chasing in the immediate future.  I challenge you to set one for yourself tomorrow.  After you completed this goal, set intermediate goals that will help you achieve along the way.  After you complete your tasks,  reflect on your experience and see if you feel that setting the small goals to achieve the big one can help you or not.  I’m confident it will.  Thanks for stopping by www.caseycavell.com and good luck to you in all your endeavors. 

-Casey Cavell

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Maintaining Employee Performance

 Nobody wants to work for a boss that only makes demands and rewards the employees with nothing more than a paycheck.  On the other hand, if a boss is too lax with the employees and is seen as more of a friend than a superior; then there is a good chance the employees will take advantage of this.  I feel there is a common ground that can be utilized to ensure that your employees continuously perform well and hopefully enjoy working for you. 

I’ve found that using 3 R’s when dealing with employees has given me a great balance between performance and employee morale.  The R’s I am talking about are Reinforcement, Recognition, and Reward. 

Reinforcement has two parts to it in my opinion.  I feel that continuously setting ambitious goals and making it aware to your employees that you expect them to achieve these goals is crucial.  This is what psychologists refer to as the self-fulfilling prophecy.  In essence, people will perform how you expect them to.  If you go into a situation and have a preconceived notion that someone will fail, there is a high probability that they will.  This could be due to you not giving that person everything they need to be successful and in a way you almost sabotage them from the beginning because you expect them to fail.  To avoid this, always have faith in your employees because you trusted your judgment when hiring them.  The second part of reinforcement almost coincides with my next R; Recognition.  I feel that constantly giving positive reinforcement around the workplace helps employees perform well.  It could be as simple as agreeing that you like a marketing idea an employee presents you or as basic as saying “keep up the good work”. 

Recognition is also very important to employees.  Nobody wants to feel like they are being taken for granted or unappreciated.  Many times when I have written articles I have mentioned my employees by name and thanked them for all the work they have done.  For everyone else out there, ways you could recognize your employees could be as simple as telling them thank you every time you see them.  If your employees are amazing and you want to show your gratitude you could take an ad out in a newspaper, post a status on facebook or twitter, or put up a gigantic poster in your workplace that describes how much your employees mean to you.  I also feel that if an employee is doing a stellar job it is important to recognize this in front of every other employee as a motivation tool.  If everyone can see how employees who do excellent work are treated, then they are more likely to strive to be an excellent employee as well. 

The last of my 3 R’s is Reward.  When employees are going above and beyond to make your life better, it is important to show your gratitude and appreciation by rewarding them.  Recently one of my employees told me she was taking her boyfriend out to a restaurant for his birthday.  I called up the restaurant and picked up their tab of $134.  On occasion when I visit my properties I have been known to give my managers a 2 hour break and $40 which they have to spend.  During the holidays I give my employees gift cards to restaurants.  There are many ways you can reward exceptional employees.  My employees have made my life better than I ever imagined so I truly feel a reward in giving back to them. 

These are just a few ideas that can help you maintain positive cycle of performance and reward.  We need our employees to make money and our employees need us to make money.  However, by always having a positive energy in the workplace, I feel that optimal performance will be achieved.  So after reading this I hope you take time to evaluate how you treat your employees and hopefully you can find the perfect balance between performance and reward.  Thanks for taking time out of your day to read my thoughts.  Good luck to you in all your endeavors. 

 Casey Cavell

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Being Friendly

Owning properties in 3 different states requires me to travel a great deal.  On a recent trip to Atlanta my mind began to wander while I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight.  I was watching how everyone around me was just kind of minding their own business, listening to their I-pod, watching TV or reading the newspaper.  As I boarded my flight, I again took note of how little people were interacting with each other.  It seemed the only friendly and outgoing people I encountered on my trip were those that were working.  It then occurred to me, are people only friendly when they are required to be? 

After boarding the plane and being sandwiched in between two people, I decided to continue my social experiment.  I waited half an hour to see if either person on my left or right would introduce themselves to me or say anything at all.  Sure enough, the guy on my right fell asleep almost immediately and the gentleman to my left put on his headphones and began watching a movie on his laptop.  I was wide awake so I caught up on some blog writing myself. 

After de-boarding my plane and walking through the airport to baggage claim I again noticed how everyone just sort of goes about their lives and seemingly only interact with others when it is necessary.  After leaving the airport I thought about myself and how I interact with other people.  Am I only friendly with other people only when it’s necessary?  As I drove to my girlfriend’s place in Chicago I decided to start a social experiment of my own.  I would conduct a weeklong experiment.  For every person I made eye contact with I would smile and say hello, good morning, good afternoon, etc.  For every person I would spend more than 10 seconds around, I would introduce myself and initiate a conversation. 

It was easy to start my experiment because I spent the next afternoon attending a Chicago Cubs baseball game.  It was surprising to me how many people would not reply to me when I would say ‘hello’ or ‘how you doin’?” as I walked to the ballpark.  Most people would politely return my greeting and then go about their business.  Regardless, I decided to continue my experiment. 

Throughout my time at the ballpark I encountered several people and struck up many conversations.  It was pretty easy to talk to people because I would just mention something that was going on throughout the game.  “Man that Soriano was money well spent, right?”  or “Lou just doesn’t have it anymore, can’t wait for Sandberg to manage this team next year” were great conversation openers.  Most people would continue the dialog with me and after I introduced myself would have a 30 second to 1 minute conversation with me. 

During the 3rd inning while standing in line at a concession stand I started a conversation with a guy and his girlfriend about the Cubs and how awful they are playing this year.  We both shared the same opinions on this season, the Cubs roster, and many other things about the Cubs.  During the conversation the gentleman told me that they had a friend who lived behind Wrigley and had access to the rooftop seats.  He invited my girlfriend and I to watch the following day’s game from the rooftops.  For anyone who has never followed the Cubs, the rooftop seats on Waveland Avenue are essentially the luxury boxes for Wrigley Field.  After exchanging contact info my girlfriend and I, we returned to our seats to watch the Cubs bullpen blow another game. 

While watching the next day’s game on the rooftops I was able to describe myself and my business in further detail to several people and felt like I had a couple possible investors. 

Not everyone I started a conversation with during my weeklong experiment led me to a great experience like the rooftop seats, nor did any of the people I started conversations with lead me to an investor or a motivated property seller.  However, I felt like I was making a step in the right direction by being friendly.  I plan on continuing this approach and not just making it an experiment anymore, but rather to make it a part of my life.  It never hurts to be friendly because you never know who you may run into and how they could change your life for the better. 

Thanks for stopping by caseycavell.com.  Have a great day and good luck to you in all your endeavors. 

-Casey Cavell

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Giving Back

Since I became a self storage owner, I made a commitment to giving back to the communities where my storage facilities are located.  If it wasn’t for the people in those communities using my facility, I would not be able to enjoy the life I lead. 

When I first purchased my property in Danville, Illinois I immediately went to the chamber of commerce and introduced myself.  I went around town and introduced myself to business owners and tried my best to be friendly and converse with anyone I would meet.  I wanted the people of that town to know that I wasn’t just purchasing a property in their town for my own financial gains.  It was important to me to establish myself as a business owner who cares about the community my property belongs to.  It’s possible that this is a reason that my occupancy rates drastically rose shortly after my acquisition.   Regardless, since then I have made a point to be visible at my property several times a year and donate my time and money to good causes within the town when it is feasible.  I offered to help coach kids at a baseball clinic at the local YMCA and I ran in a 5k run during the summer to help raise money for breast cancer.  That was excruciating for me because I am the furthest thing from a distance runner!  Neither of those two actions turned a direct profit for me, but it had the intrinsic benefit of making me feel good knowing that I was giving back to the community that is helping me secure my financial future. 

There are many ways you can give back to the communities in which you own properties or businesses.  If it’s the holidays you can donate clothes or your time to the Salvation Army.  There are so many charitable foundations throughout our great country.  I recommend finding one and spending a little time giving back to the community.  No one wants to live in a place where the business owners just fleece them of their money.  I guarantee you if you expose yourself to the community in a good light through charity, you not only will feel great for doing a great thing, but your profits just might rise as well. 

Take care until next time.

-Casey Cavell.

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