Expanding a business is an exciting time, but also one that’s fraught with worry. You can’t totally predict the future no matter how carefully you crunch the numbers and build your forecasts. An increase in business may mean more profit, but it can also mean a whole lot more work if you don’t plan for efficiency.
Weigh Up Your Storage Options
When you need more business storage space, you have three basic options:
- Rent Warehouse Space. It’s expensive and you’d probably be obliged to take on more space than you actually need. You must also factor in costs for VAT, business rates and utilities. It may be possible to partner with another business owner to share space, but make sure the divided responsibilities or liabilities in case anything goes wrong are clear and in writing.
- Self Storage Units. This is a growing sector for business storage, with many expanding companies finding it an ideal solution when compared to more office space or giant warehouses. Whether you run the admin side of the business from home or rent offices in town, there’s bound to be a self storage facility close by, with flexible terms and long opening hours.
- Home Storage. While it may sound convenient to store business stock or equipment in the loft, garage or with friends, look at it from all sides before going for this option. How will it impact your family life, is there convenient access for delivery vehicles, might stacked boxes become a hazard for younger family members?
Organise Your Space Efficiently
How you use space is as important as where it is and how big:
- Have plenty of shelving. Label each space on the shelf with the name of the item that will go there. Put the slowest selling items either on the top or bottom shelves, with those you access most at eye level.
- Have the fastest (or most often used) items closest to the door.
- Avoid obstacle courses by creating a walkway through the middle.
- Stocktake regularly to stay on top of numbers. If items are hanging around longer than they should, hold a sale, a giveaway, or competition to help move them.
Combine Tasks Where Possible
Killing two birds with one stone gets the job done faster. If you run a mail order business, do your packaging right where you access the stock. All it takes is a desk or table and somewhere to keep materials. Arriving at the stock room with a list of orders, and having everything you need to hand for packing saves time running back and forth between business locations.
Any business demands plenty of creative energy, and a growing, successful business is one of the most hungry. As you outgrow one storage option and look for ways to supplement your space, search out the ones that are good in the long term, but that offer the flexibility you need for potential short term changes. Once you nail your storage space and system it will run like clockwork, giving you the mental freedom to carry on growing.