Last Updated on October 7, 2022 by Melissa S.
Organisation and time management are just two of the skills business owners need. There are loads more skills needed, of course, but without these two you’ll waste time and money repeating tasks, doing things the hard way, or searching for items that should be to hand.
Sorting out storage helps you run a more streamlined, time efficient business, which in turn helps boost your profits.
All kinds of things in business need storage, not just your items for sale. You also need somewhere to store office/work supplies, and machines or equipment which may form your capital assets.
Keep Stock Organised
Disorganised stock storage can be a real time sink. As well as being able to find what you need, you also need to keep tabs on how much you have in stock. Get these two things right and you’ll know exactly where you stand all the time. You’ll know when to reorder, be able to fulfil customer orders efficiently, and know which are your best sellers and profit makers.
Online retail is a popular self-employed business type, maybe because it’s relatively easy to set up, even from home, and there are plenty of places online to advertise and sell even if you don’t want to run your own web site.
Keeping stock organized, especially at home, is paramount with any online retail business. While you might start out using your Ikea sideboard to hold stock, it’s probably not ideal, particularly if you are storing any form of hazardous goods. Getting a professional solution, such as coshh storage cabinets if dealing with chemicals, for example, will ensure your products stay secure and easily accessible.
But what starts out small can quickly grow if your product is popular. And while the spare room served you well in the early days, you’ll quickly outgrow it.
It can be a problem because expansion might feel risky. An excellent solution is self storage for business. You can choose the space size that’s exactly right and scale up or down as the need arises.
With a self storage unit secured, you can fit it out to suit your stock providing you don’t drill into the walls. Freestanding shelves, cabinets or hanging rails are fine, allowing plenty of scope for logical organisation and efficient picking and packing.
You can pack up parcels from your storage room too, saving the time you’d otherwise spend in handling and travelling. You just need a get a slightly bigger space so you can install a table or desk to work on.
Storage Room Logistics
How you layout your storage room is important. You need to find things quickly rather than have a vague idea that ‘it’s in here somewhere’.
- Place popular items closest to the door, at eye level, so you can quickly reach them.
- Label boxes or tubs clearly with their contents.
- Label the shelves too, so each item has a designated place. It makes unpacking deliveries much quicker.
- Avoid stacking boxes in the areas you want to walk in. Having clear walkways between sections reduces accidents and makes your job easier.
- Stack boxes carefully. Put heavy items lower down so you don’t risk back injuries.
Do a regular stock take. Not only does it help keep tabs on numbers, it can also help identify which items are not selling. These items cost you money instead of making a profit. You could hold a flash sale to get rid of them, then use the space for more profitable lines.
Don’t Overspend on Premises
Whether you’re just starting out or expanding an existing business, having the right kind of office or premises can improve your community standing and help get your brand known, as well as giving your confidence a boost.
There are a few different options:
- Working from home: This is far more accepted now as a serious work option than it used to be. When you’re starting out as a sole trader, your home may be your best bet to keep expenses down and help with juggling family commitments. Try and create a dedicated working area even if it’s just a corner in the living room. Having a working area helps you keep a good work/life balance, so you feel you’re working where you live, not living where you work.
- A traditional office: May be a perfect solution if you’re ready for it and well established. The downside is that it can be expensive and a long-term commitment.
- A Flexi-office: A newer alternative, offering a fresh approach to business owners. Like the traditional office as far as services and amenities go, a flexible office contract runs monthly and there are no hidden extras like business rates or VAT.
Choosing the right kind of premises for your business can be challenging as you need to weigh your needs against your preferences and your bank balance. Investigate all the options thoroughly before taking the plunge to help reduce any risk. A second plus for a flexi office is the nearby self storage if you need a bit of additional space outside your main office.
Whether you’re trying to create a more efficient office space, or you need to expand and organise your stock, good storage can help your workflow and so boost your profits. It’s definitely worth spending some time challenging the way you do things currently to see if there’s a better, more streamlined way.