It may be easier than ever to get into business these days but, with so many small businesses springing up, the competition is fiercer than ever. Every little saving you can make on the overhead increases the chance of success, and sometimes that means taking a sideways approach and being a little unconventional.
Here are couple of ways today’s business owners are taking advantage of modern storage solutions, and keeping more of their hard-earned profits in their own pockets.
The Paperless Office
Gone are the days when a business needs banks of filing cabinets or even a dedicated filing room. We are still some way from being totally paperless, but the day is drawing closer.
Virtual document storage via the cloud is now commonplace and, depending on storage needs, inexpensive. Small businesses or start-ups may even find the free offerings from Google, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive are enough to get going until the business is more established. Established businesses with more extensive virtual storage needs should look into professional or enterprise solutions such as the all-encompassing packages offered by Microsoft 365.
With less physical space needed for document storage, it could be possible to downsize office space and save money on rental costs. If you’re under contract and can’t vacate currently rented premises, there are a couple of possible alternatives:
- Install an extra desk in the space and start a hotdesking scheme.
- Lease the desk on a more permanent basis to a freelancer or fellow business owner.
You’ll need to check your contract, however, to make sure you’re not violating any subletting clauses.
The Office-less Office
With the right kind of storage, and provided your business model is suitable, it might even be possible to avoid renting office space completely. The secret lies in self storage, which many mail-order or e-commerce retail business owners are now putting to savvy use.
The advantages are easy to see. Self storage units offer:
- Short term rentals and a wide range of space choices.
- Professional levels of security to keep stock safe.
- Forklifts or pallet trucks.
- Access for larger delivery vehicles.
- Long opening hours plus receipt of deliveries if you can’t be there.
- Easily accessible.
- Courier services if needed.
Short term rentals are attractive to e-retailers for a couple of important reasons: First, they allow for seasonal fluctuations where there is likely a short term need for additional storage. Having the ability to quickly, temporarily scale up storage is confidence building, empowering business owners to accurately estimate costs and profit margins when weighing up opportunities. Second, if business goes a little slow it’s possible to rapidly downsize the space rented so money is never wasted on unused space.
By renting a room that’s a little larger than that needed for storage, it’s possible to add a desk or table (and maybe a chair). In this way, a complete pack and dispatch station is created so all major business tasks can be carried out from a single location. This immediately cuts down on time and travel costs.
The entrepreneurial spirit is, by definition, creative and inventive. Looking around at what’s already out there, then finding innovative new ways to make them work, gives any business an edge over the competition.