Renting office and storage space are amongst the highest costs of doing business, so finding ways to control and minimise the expense can really help any business to thrive. Here are five ways to consider:
Storage For Temporary Expansion
Despite thorough research and investigation, expansion is one of the most risky exercises as it’s often a leap in the dark informed by historical events.
Christmas is a good example as all retailers stock up on gift items. Expanding storage during this time makes sense, but only if it doesn’t lock you into a long term contract that extends beyond the boom period.
Flexible storage you can add to or subtract from might sound like a pipe dream, but self storage facilities offer exactly that. If you want to increase stock levels over holiday (or other high demand) periods, you can expand your space for exactly the length of time you need. You also have the option to change storage plans at just a week’s notice for rapid response to unexpected stock fluctuations. Only paying for the space you’re using helps you to control financial outgoings.
A thriving business depends on efficiency, so physical storage areas need careful organising if you don’t want to spend hours searching for the item you need. Largely an exercise in logistics, stock, or document records should be arranged so the items most used are readily accessible.
- When stacking boxes, label them clearly and stack carefully, putting the heaviest, biggest ones at the bottom and not stacking so high you need to climb or stretch too far to reach them.
- Transparent storage boxes are ideal for small items held together. You can instantly see what’s in there.
- Keep an inventory, and update whenever stock levels change so you always know what you have.
- Make sure shelving is strong enough for the job so it won’t collapse or topple under the weight.
Paper records stored on site eat into valuable office space through bulky filing cabinets or shelving. While you’ll still need to maintain some paper records, much can be stored digitally. Even the papers you receive from other businesses, such as receipts, don’t necessarily need physical filing. Photographing, scanning, or copying to create digital alternatives is acceptable by HMRC for tax record purposes, meaning you can safely get rid of the paper original.
There are, however, some exceptions, including anything that relates to tax other than VAT, so you should thoroughly research which originals you need to keep, and ask an accountant for advice if you’re still unsure.
You can also save office space by storing previous year’s accounting records off site. Since these are a legal requirement, off site storage is a good idea to safeguard against fire, flood, or other disaster.
Optimise Business Processes
Cloud storage helps with more than simply freeing up physical storage space, although that’s a big boon when weighing up office size and associated costs.
By storing documents and data in the cloud you’re also paving the way for speedier, more efficient business communications as document sharing or access to customer records is available across devices out of the office. Cloud accounting is another boon to help your business thrive, as it’s a much faster way of recording transaction records.
Whether to opt for free cloud storage that comes with email or internet accounts, or pay for subscription services that provide more robust security and support, depends on personal needs.
Office Downsizing or Sharing
Often, you don’t need to rent an office at all. By combining operations into one succinct area, it’s possible to minimise overheads. Many successful mail order companies run from warehouses alone, and on a smaller scale self storage facilities allow sole traders or very small businesses to do the same. Renting a slightly larger room than is needed for storage alone provides space for a desk that doubles as a packing surface.
On the flip side, for those already renting office premises, another solution is to capitalise on space created through reducing the need for filing cabinets by renting out a desk. Hotdesking or coworking is popular with freelance workers who need a professional working environment, and with office owners who have space to spare. You do, of course, need to make sure you wouldn’t be violating sub-letting contractual terms.
Technological developments over recent years have transformed the ways in which businesses operate, and revolutionised how we use space. In a competitive business world, every saving helps sharpen your edge.