Space Hacks for Entrepreneurs and Startups
Going down the traditional road of renting an office for staff, a warehouse for stock, and the associated technology and equipment to make it all work together, can add up to enormous overheads. Owners of small businesses can, however, make big savings by taking advantage of new and emerging storage trends.
Use Virtual Storage to Create Physical Space
When you take into account the necessary equipment, the man-hours and the floor space needed to file, copy and store physical copies of documents, cloud storage suddenly becomes much more attractive.
As well as space-saving benefits, cloud storage brings other advantages:
- Maximum security and backups for sensitive documents.
- Centralised CRM.
- Make company/customer records accessible across multiple devices including mobile.
- Grant or restrict staff permissions for improved security, efficiency, and collaboration.
There are two basic types of cloud storage: paid and free. Depending on the size of your organisation, the required level of security, the range of permissions you need or the complexity of your business, one or the other will suit you best. A micro-business could manage with free accounts from Google or Dropbox, while larger startups could subscribe to Office 365 for Business for the enhanced security and range of software and services included.
Built-in Growth Ability
Experiencing business growth is a mixed blessing. On one hand, there’s the excitement of a growing customer base and increased ROI. On the other hand, greater overheads and cash-flow difficulties keep your feet on the ground. One of the greatest challenges can be in the area of fluctuating stock storage needs for retail or e-commerce businesses.
A relatively new solution lies in self storage units, many of which now offer business customers many advantages:
- Flexible storage spaces with a vast range of space sizes from lockers to warehouses.
- Short term leases (from just a week).
- Easily add on or take away space as needed.
- On site staff who’ll receive deliveries on your behalf.
- Easy access for delivery vehicles.
- Pallet trucks on site to help move heavy loads.
- Perks like courier services or forklifting.
- National accounts if you need storage at more than one location.
Whether you’re expanding or looking for start-up storage, self storage flexibility and convenience takes away the fear of long-term commitment. With controlled growth and reduced risk, you’re in a stronger position to make fast decisions and capitalise on opportunities.
Freedom From the Office Overhead
Office space needn’t be a major expense when you know how to work it in your favour. There are a couple of options:
- If you have more space than you need, get help with the expense by renting out a desk. With growing popularity, there is high demand from freelancers or mobile, small business owners who don’t want to work from home. All you need provide is the desk and an Internet connection, as renters will bring their own equipment to work with.
- Consider whether you really need an office. Many e-commerce businesses don’t, choosing instead to set aside space in a self storage unit for a desk that doubles up as a packing surface.
- If your business often keeps you on the road or in meetings, consider hiring a virtual assistant or signing up for a call answering service rather than renting office space and hiring permanent staff. Research indicates that 70% of callers won’t leave a message if you don’t answer the phone, and most will assume you’re either not interested or have gone out of business. Some call answering services will take orders on your behalf too, process credit card payments, and maintain calendars so they can make appointments on your behalf.
In truth, you don’t need masses of space or a large staff to run a successful business. All you need is organisational skill and a bit of storage savvy.
Drew writes for Big Yellow Self Storage.