[This is a sponsored post by Big Yellow with some fab tips for those of you storing products for your biz]
Working around children is easy - said no one ever! Two of the biggest barriers to setting up your own business are finding time when little ones demand all your attention, and figuring out how to store business materials. Stock and supplies can soon overrun your home, and become an extension of the toy box if they’re not tucked safely away.
Being a home-based mumpreneur is one of the most exciting (and potentially profitable) things you can do, when you know a few storage tricks:
Paper, Paper Everywhere
Organising cloud storage should be a priority to help you stay on top of admin and the paper trail. Whatever kind of business you’re running, there’s going to be paper — even for online service providers.
Free cloud storage choices include basic accounts with Google, Apple or Dropbox, and there are many more. When you need more space you can upgrade and pay a subscription for more storage.
Cloud storage is also an efficient way to stay on top of accounting tasks. Web based accounting packages make it easy to send out invoices and monitor bank transactions without having to handle mountains of paper. Many will also link directly with HMRC and compile reports and figures that make filing your tax return much easier.
Keeping your own external hard drive backup is great for peace of mind, as long as you can remember to keep it up to date. Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions come with OneDrive storage, which is probably one of the most secure cloud locations in existence given the number of large businesses that rely on it.
Build in Storage Scalability
If you can’t scale up, you’ll find it hard to grow, and growth is something all entrepreneurs should aim for.
Stock storage is an issue for many home-based retailers, simply because home storage soon becomes unwieldy and the life/work balance goes out the window when you feel like you’re living in a warehouse.
A solution many online retailers are jumping on is using self storage for business. Once the domain purely for personal storage, facilities are now open and friendly towards having their rooms used for stock storage. There is a wide range of room sizes, and if you just want a secure place for document storage, there are also lockers.
Other advantages include:
- Space for packing, admin and dispatch - just rent a room slightly larger than you need for stock and install a desk to store packaging materials and provide a surface to work on.
- Long opening hours - you can fit visits around family, and if you’re expecting a delivery but can’t be there, the staff will take receipt on your behalf.
- Easy Access — for parking and for getting to storage rooms. Lifts, pallet trucks and trolleys all make physically handling stock a lot easier and quicker.
- Short rental terms — you can upgrade room sizes, downsize when necessary, or temporarily add space to take account of seasonal fluctuations or overstock bargains. Terms run from just a week in many cases.
- No business rates or VAT — a big cost advantage over renting traditional office or warehouse space.
- Having stock stored away from home frees up family space but you can still take care of all the admin side from the kitchen table or the couch.
Home Storage Organised
If you’re determined to keep everything under your own roof, here’s how to do it:
- Create Zones — If you can earmark an entire spare room, brilliant, but not all families have that luxury. However, the kitchen table is a viable zone too. If this is where you work, consider taking over a kitchen cabinet or drawer for office supplies, and organise the furniture so you’re close to a power outlet and can avoid trailing cables.
- Utilise Shelving — Vertical space is often ignored but up high are acres of empty walls that can be used for storage. From box files to text books, stock or the materials used to create items, having them up high on shelves keeps them out of reach of little fingers. And, when organised logically, means you can find what you need, when you need it, without hunting.
- Storage furniture — coffee tables, end tables, ottoman beds, vintage chests or actual desks instead of a table, all help reduce business clutter. Working in clutter is a drain on emotional stamina. Keep things organised and thinking is clearer.
Figuring out storage is one of those logistical things it’s easy to hope just falls into place. But sorting out locations and systems early on frees up time and well as space, both of which are important especially when working around family commitments and time is scarce.
We hope you've found these tips useful.