Business storage should operate seamlessly in the background. It should be convenient, cost-effective, and organised.
For many businesses, these are challenges that lead to wasted time and a drain on financial resources. Here are the three top storage mistakes businesses commonly make:
Failing to Streamline The Paper Trail
These days we are all familiar with cloud storage for both personal and business usage, but getting it right demands a certain amount of technical knowledge and for business, automation.
Automation is important so that customer records, stock levels, and financial transactions are kept up-to-date in real-time without the need for manual syncing. Depending on manual syncing opens the door to human error and forgetfulness. It can lead to tasks being either repeated or overlooked, both of which can spell havoc for tax reporting or stock replenishment.
Choice of cloud platform is equally important. Small, sole trader businesses may get away with free offerings from the likes of Google or Dropbox, but larger or more complicated businesses would probably benefit from a more professional platform such as that offered by Microsoft Office 365.
Investigating both cloud storage routes will enable comparisons for cost estimates (some are subscription based with monthly charges) and data allowances. Also when considering cloud storage needs, it is important to have one eye on future to ensure your chosen platform can grow as the business grows.
One of the benefits of cloud storage is the relatively new ability to take bookkeeping and accounting online, making the submission of end of year tax details much easier. HMRC will now also accept many digital records in place of physical ones, such as receipts.
Complicating Physical Storage
Where and how to store stock can be an ongoing headache for many retailers. Small online retailers face particular challenges:
- Too small a budget for warehousing
- No real need for office space
- The temptation to store stock at home, upsetting life/work balance
- Access and security worries
- Hygiene or environmental issues
The solution to all these potentially business limiting challenges can seem elusive, but a growing army of small business owners have found ways to harness the power of self storage. Offering both flexibility and security, all types of mail order or online retail businesses have found the answer to many of their storage problems within self storage facilities.
Short-term contracts also allow retailers to respond nimbly to seasonal fluctuations, adding or removing storage areas as demand dictates. This ability to respond to sudden increases in demand minimises financial risk because there is no long-term commitment. You can take on extra space for just a week at a time, and give it up equally as quickly when stock levels diminish.
Wasting Office Space
If you have already jumped into renting bespoke office space, there are still ways to use that space more effectively providing your contract allows for it.
Co-working or hot desking is a movement gaining in popularity, due in large part to the growing number of freelance workers who need a professional working environment without being tied down to a formal contract.
If you take full advantage of the possibilities to cut down on paper storage by moving some records into the cloud, you can probably reduce the space taken up by filing cabinets, installing a desk instead. The extra desk can then be rented out to a freelance worker on an informal basis, which many businesses find has more than one benefit:
- Fresh faces in the office stimulate the atmosphere and lift morale.
- The additional rental income goes towards the office overhead.
With businesses feeling more financial squeeze every year, new and innovative ways to rise to the challenges involved in running a successful business are always emerging. If you’re not keeping up with the latest ways of doing things, you could be making some expensive business mistakes.