Utilizing Self-Storage for Your Small Business’ Inventory
Operating your own small business is a stressful, near-endless process that takes a lot of time and energy to create. There’s a lot going on that you’re responsible for, and an important part of many businesses is their ability to track and control their inventory.
Whether you’re keeping a stock of office supplies and materials or a stock of retail products – or both! – managing the flow of these items is paramount to your business’ success. You need to have the supplies and materials you need when you need them. You need to have products to sell when customers are wanting to make purchases, as well. But you cannot have an overabundance of either of these, such that your cashflow is compromised.
It’s a fine balance, but tracking your inventory is significant for success.
When you first start out, tracking these can be managed on a spreadsheet, and your items can be kept in your office, but once you cross a certain threshold, your business will outgrow your space, making it much harder to track within small confines.
For many small businesses, the most economical solution lies in renting a self-storage unit, and we at Real Storage work with small businesses on a regular basis for this reason. If you’re a small business requiring help with your space and inventory, read these tips for how to streamline your business’ inventory system.
When we say that self-storage provides an economical solution for small business’ inventory growth, we do not of course mean that everything from your business needs to go into storage – that simply won’t work. You need many of your supplies on a regular basis, and you need immediate access to some of your products on a regular basis.
Indeed, the 80/20 rule applies to most businesses: 20 percent of the products your business sells are likely accounting for 80 percent of your overall sales. Those items that fall into the 20 percent will need to be readily available.
The first step then is to determine what these products are, and then to organize them so that you can always have a stock immediately accessible. Organize a space to house these in your current workspace, along with the supplies you require regularly.
The rest needs to get out of your way
Our biggest task here is to declutter and organize your space, now that your business is beginning to outgrow it. What we want to do then is only keep the most significant, most used items in your workspace, while freeing up the rest of your space so you can work comfortably and more efficiently.
Now that we’ve determined the items that need to remain, the rest can be shuffled off to a self-storage unit. Depending on the items you need to store, you may be in a need of a climate-controlled unit (read our article here to learn about the types of available storage units and what will work best for your business), but removing the items from your workspace will provide more breathing room for you, and, as a result, more productive workdays.
As your business continues to grow, access to the self-storage unit can be granted to other employees, making it that much more convenient for your operations.
Organize your locker
Before moving into your storage unit, arrive with a plan that will allow you to arrange the locker so that access to your items is easy. If you will be accessing items regularly, then we strongly suggest renting a larger unit so that you can create aisles and shelving for your items, making them easier to find and track.
With additional space, you can afford to bring shelving units to create aisles in the locker. Organize your inventory by type of item, keeping those of the same type together. Label boxes, and even the shelves themselves, or take pictures of the contents, taping those to the outside of boxes, making items easy to find. (Read this article for more tips on self-storage organization.)
Utilize an inventory management app
An easy and economical way to manage your inventory is to use an app on your phone or tablet. There are plenty of options available, some free, some upwards of $100/month, but utilizing one of these is an excellent way to track your inventory easily without having to shell out thousands on a proper desktop inventory management system.
Here’s a short list of some of the best apps available today:
Grow your space; grow your business
In order for your small business to reach its potential, you need to be able to expand your operations in tandem with its demand. Moving your office space can be a major transition, and an expensive one at that. Self-storage offers an excellent solution to minimize your costs, while expanding your space to meet your business’ needs.
As your business grows, as will the space it requires. Adding a small 5x10 locker now will likely relieve you of a lot of clutter in your workspace – the more organized at work you are, the more productive you can be. And, again, your business will hopefully grow – into a 10x20 storage unit.
Organization and the ability to manage your inventory well is an integral ingredient to your business’ success, and as you move from small business to medium-sized, self-storage can be a dramatic aid to such development.
Speak with your Real Storage agent today about utilizing self-storage to help manage your business’ growing inventory.