If there’s one thing you can never have too much of, it’s stock storage space, especially when you’re running a small operation from home or you’re trying to figure out how to expand without breaking the bank.
Divide and Conquer
A home run business needs a dedicated space for admin tasks and stock storage. An entire room is best as you can shut the door at the end of the day and retain a healthy work/life balance. If you don’t have a spare room to commandeer, here are some alternative ideas:
Room Dividers in Living Rooms, Bedrooms or Kitchens — Use bookcases or even sofas turned perpendicular to the wall to cordon off a desk area. Above the desk, fit open shelves to store business essentials or small stock items. Having high shelves keeps them out of reach of children and creates a psychological barrier that deters casual use by other household members. In kitchens, empty a cabinet to use for business equipment, and all around the house make use of furniture that doubles as storage, such as ottoman beds, chests or coffee tables with drawers.
Garages and Lofts — In garages, make sure they’re damp free and secure. Fit sturdy shelves you can attach to the wall so they don’t topple. In lofts, invest in floorboards and good lighting as well as a purpose made loft ladder to make access easy and safe.
Health and Safety
It’s not just for corporate workplaces. An injury at home is just as debilitating as one in a traditional job. Things to consider include:
Delivery Safety — Delivery vehicles need to access your premises but are often not ideal with domestic challenges such as curbs, slopes, steps and narrow entries. Consider how you’ll take delivery of stock, especially if you’re selling large or fragile items.
Storing Safely — Regardless of where you store stock, learn the right way to stack and pack boxes. Reduce topple hazards by putting larger boxes at the bottom when you’re stacking, and don’t fill them too full. More small boxes are preferable to a few larger ones as they’re generally lighter and easier to handle.
Combined Storage and Office Space
As the business grows, you’ll probably need to investigate alternative storage solutions. Maybe you no longer have space for all the items you need to hold, or maybe you simply need to streamline your business processes.
Don’t shy away from remote storage as there are cheap, flexible options that don’t cost a fortune. Self storage offers one such possibility, with a huge range of storage sizes and short term contracts from just a week.
Retailers, especially online businesses that don’t need a shop front, have discovered the versatility and power offered by storage companies. You can add to existing storage areas at will, allowing the freedom to take advantage of seasonal fluctuations or one-off bargains. You simply open another room when you need it then close it when the stock sells or reduces to a level that will fit into your main storage room. Also, by renting a slightly larger space than you need for storage, you can reserve an area for packing and dispatching, doing away with the need to transport stock elsewhere for packing.
Whether you store at home or at a storage facility, organisation is the key to success. You need easy access for delivery and handling, safe stacking so you (or family members) don’t trip over boxes or topple them, clear labelling so you can find what you need, and overspill areas so you can immediately jump on bargains when they pop up.
Get those four things right and you’re on the road to success.