Not only are there numerous ways to get into business today, there is also lots of practical help to get you started with bookkeeping, marketing, promoting and efficiently managing your time.
What you don’t get so much help with is how to locate and organise storage. Not just for stock, but for office supplies, business records, and the technology to keep things running smoothly.
1/ Starting From Home
A popular option for many, running a business from home sounds logical since it’s a way to keep overheads down, work around the family, and save time and money in travel expenses.
If you’re considering this startup option, remember to factor in these things:
Space – you’ll need somewhere to work, and somewhere to store stock. Working space is relatively simple as anywhere quiet and reasonably private could serve, but storing stock needs more thought.
Delivery access – will stock arrive in lorries? If so, is there good access in your street, without risk to neighbours’ parked cars or children playing?
Storage access and safety – steps, slopes, narrow doorways, cramped hallways and steep stairs can all create health and safety hazards. It also means deliveries can become a chore instead of the pleasure that continued business growth and expanding turnover should be.
Overrun living areas – you don’t want to live in a warehouse. If boxes, crates or associated business equipment start overspilling their original designated area, home lifestyle can become severely cramped and uncomfortable.
As the business grows and stock and equipment becomes more valuable, the issue of security becomes more pressing. Thinking about the risks of fire, flood, theft, or accidental damage when the business is new can help you reach informed decisions regarding storage.
Security includes the room you use at home, if you’re operating from domestic premises. Children, for instance, can cause accidental damage if they’re allowed to play in your workspace or access the computer needed for accounts and communications. Alternatively, if you’re storing stock in the garage or other outbuilding, consider installing additional locks, alarms, or CCTV so you can monitor sensitive areas. Some business insurances will make adequate precautions a prerequisite.
3/ The Home Office
Ideally, a room you can close the door on is the best solution when running a business from home, but it’s not always possible. Wherever you sit down to work, organise storage of office supplies so they’re nearby. If, for instance, you normally undertake admin tasks from the kitchen table, designate a cabinet or drawer for stationary supplies like pens, paperclips, notebooks, or accounting ledgers if you like keeping a physical record of cashflow.
Small changes, like moving your paper supply so it’s next to the printer or putting up a shelf by your desk to house reference materials, saves time and makes mundane tasks easier.
4/ Controlled Expansion
Expansion is normally accompanied by equal measures of pain and pleasure. The business is growing, profits are multiplying, but so is the workload and the need for efficiency.
How and where you store stock can ease expansion headaches if you take the increasingly popular option of business self storage. With short term contracts, it’s a simple matter to expand or contract storage areas without having to budget for months of expense. Seasonal fluctuations, for instance, can mean you suddenly need added space in the short term, and self storage makes it easy to add a room for a month or so just for the seasonal stock.
If expansion goes in fits and starts, flexible storage lets you stay on top of expenses and gives the confidence needed to take on bigger orders.
5/ Making Space Work
Efficiency depends on time management, so cutting down handling or travel time can pay dividends. Here, too, self storage makes it possible. By renting a room that’s a little bigger than that needed strictly for storage, then installing a desk or table, you can create a built in pack and dispatch area and take care of preparing orders for sale all from one location.
6/ Minimising Paperwork
Locating paper records or documents, and safely storing them is very much easier with synced cloud storage. There are free options with generous allowances to get you started, but choose carefully as it can be time consuming or expensive if you need more space in the future. Business accounts from providers such as Dropbox, for instance, let you choose which documents to share with colleagues or clients while keeping everything in one place. Having the ability to access vital records from multiple locations and devices means you have your virtual office wherever you are.
Storage should make life and business easier, not be another headache to resolve. Give it plenty of thought in the startup phase and it will serve you well for years to come.