Setting up and running a business from home is the easiest way for budding entrepreneurs to get into business. But going into it without thinking carefully about every aspect of storage can create problems down the line.
Firstly, no entrepreneur sets up a business in the hope that it will fail, yet stock and storage logistics can quickly become complicated without organisation and a systematic process.
Secondly, whilst the business is fun to run the very beginning and you don’t mind living with it 24 hours a day, the novelty soon wears off and it becomes important to make a distinction between working time and leisure time.
Home entrepreneurs who choose to store stock at home can soon run into these and other problems, which at first may seem insurmountable when budgets are stretched and options seem low.
Optimising Home Storage
If home storage really is the only option at the beginning, here are the main obstacles to consider:
- Does your residential street lend itself to commercial vehicle access? Neighbours parked cars, narrow gateways and entrances, drives and steps can all create delivery hazards and make life difficult. In its infancy, the business may hold minimum amounts of stock that are easily transported and handled, but volumes will grow as the business matures.
- Security, and the risk of theft or burglary is ever present when stock is stored at home. You will need to beef up your home security possibly by installing extra locks or security lights, or even CCTV.
- Finding space in the home is the next difficult aspect. It becomes slightly easier if you have a spare room you can dedicate to stock storage, but if you are relying on slotting stock storage into rooms already used for other purposes, the business can quickly overwhelm your living space.
- Keeping stock secure from children can also prove challenging depending on the product. Natural curiosity to explore can lead children to open boxes and “borrow” items.
These potential hazards are solvable, but they need thinking about, planning and arranging things accordingly.
Alternatives to Home Storage
Home entrepreneurs often think the only alternative to home storage is to venture into the world of expensive warehousing, and are quickly scared off by the cost plus the addition of utility bills, VAT and business rates. There is, however, another solution that is burning brightly through the home business community, and that solution lies in the realm of self storage.
Using self storage facilities for business purposes is probably the best kept open secret. When compared to the alternative of home storage the benefits quickly become apparent:
- Easy delivery access for large vehicles.
- Trolleys or pallet trucks to assist with moving heavy and bulky items.
- Long opening hours, which suit part-time home entrepreneurs still working a day job.
- Friendly staff will take delivery when you can’t be there.
- Short-term contracts making storage a risk-free investment. Terms run weekly.
- Convenient town locations.
- Vast choice of storage room sizes from lockers to warehouses and everything in between.
- Professional grade security and perimeter fencing.
Getting the Best of Both Worlds
Opting for the convenience of self storage facilities gives entrepreneurs the very best of both worlds: admin and office based jobs can be completed at home, and leisure hours are not burdened with constant work reminders in the form of boxes of stock.
Similarly, the vital task of packing and dispatching can be completed directly from the storage area. All it takes is the addition of a small table or desk in a storage room that is slightly larger than that needed strictly for stock storage. Some storage facilities even have a supply of packaging materials available to buy if you run short at inconvenient times.
The storage conundrum for home entrepreneurs is easily solved when you know all the options and how to take advantage of them. Even if you’re unsure about taking on self storage from the outset, and choose instead to start small from home, it is worthwhile being aware that the option exists. Storage is often available immediately, meaning you can upgrade at any time in the future even if it is just to take advantage of short-term seasonal fluctuations.