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Four Surprising Storage Tips for New Businesses

Stock storage is a challenge for many a business, not only those who’re new. Getting it right from the beginning lays a good foundation for future business success.

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#1 — Professional From Day One

Not many years ago, the only option open to small business owners with stock to sell was to hold their stock at home, in the garage, loft, or lodged with accommodating friends. Just lately, a brand-new storage opportunity has become available, one that combines convenience, cost effectiveness, flexibility and versatility with options to both expand and downsize. All this is available to business owners in the familiar form of self storage facilities.

Many self storage facilities welcome business owners looking for safe and secure premises where they can hold items in stock. These facilities offer many advantages, which include:

  • Convenient town locations which are easily accessible.
  • Plenty of parking for all sizes of delivery vehicles.
  • Wide variety of storage room sizes, including large lockers for those with very small storage needs.
  • Help shifting large items in the form of trolleys or pallet trucks, and lifts.
  • Helpful staff will take delivery of stock items and hold them securely until you arrive to take charge.
  • Long opening hours and short-term rentals from just a week, providing the opportunity to rent additional storage space to accommodate overstock or seasonal fluctuations in stock levels, or downsize to a smaller stock area should the need arise.

Organising a suitable storage location should be the priority for any new business owner, since it creates a professional attitude from the start and helps you maintain the life/work balance in the busy early days.

#2 — Organising for Efficiency

Where ever you store stock, organising for efficiency is key to smooth business operations:

  • Use vertical space, with secure, adequate shelving.
  • Reserve shelves between waist and shoulder height for those items that sell fastest.
  • Place items or boxes on shelves in a way that is logical for your own stock type. You could, for instance, organise clothing by size or colour, arrange items alphabetically or by type or category. Whichever method you choose, try to keep it consistent.
  • Use transparent storage tubs wherever possible so everything inside is clearly visible.
  • Label everything clearly. Sticky labels and a black marker pen work well, or you could choose labelling software and print your own labels. Again, choose a method and be consistent.

#3 — Cloud Storage and Mobile Communications

Storage extends beyond physical items, so don’t forget to pay attention to the way you store business data and documents.

Cloud storage is commonly accepted and freely available, but unless it is set up correctly it can actually add steps to the workflow rather than making things quicker and easier.

Whether you choose free consumer options from providers such as Dropbox or Google Drive, or opt for a more professional solution such as that offered by Office 365, spend some time setting things up so synchronisation happens automatically in the background. Once this is set up, documents will automatically save, making the latest version available across all your devices.

Don’t forget you can also do accounting online which keeps all your financial details and banking transactions safely stored and accessible. HMRC will now accept digital proof of some transactions, such as receipts, so you can bypass the need for so much physical paper storage.

#4 — Making the Most of Space

When you are in the business of buying and selling physical items, you need space to receive stock as well as areas in which to repackage items ready for postage or courier collection. Save time and money, and cut down on travelling and handling by combining storage location with space to receive and unpack new stock, and space to pack for dispatch.

With self storage this is easy. You simply rent a slightly larger room than that needed purely for stock storage, then install a small desk or table in one corner. Choose a desk with drawers or install a small cabinet where you can keep packaging and labelling supplies. In this way, all the physical aspects of doing business can be efficiently taken care of in one location.

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