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When you first start your own small business, home is the ideal place to base your operations. It costs nothing and offers a convenient, risk-free place to test the waters and get a fledgeling business off the ground.
As soon as you get some momentum going though, and experience ongoing success, you may realise the business is starting to take over your living space. You’re not operating a business from home, you’re living in your business premises! It’s not ideal.
You have two broad options: use space at home better, or look at places outside the home to run the business from.
Space Outside the Home
Maybe you think the only type of space outside the home is a rented office or a corner of a warehouse, but there’s another solution that’s much more suited to small businesses.
Self storage is a growing trend in the business world, with many facilities welcoming people who want to use the storage rooms for business purposes. There is lots of self storage in Luton, where we live, and throughout the country, so it’s worth exploring your local town.
Self storage offers huge advantages to businesses, both financial and practical:
- No hidden costs such as business rates or VAT. You know exactly what your costs are from month to month.
- No long contracts to tie you down. If you need to move out, you can. If you need a space of different size, you can change at relatively short notice. You can even add on space in the short term to accommodate seasonal fluctuations.
- Convenient locations for easy town or city access.
- Permission to install freestanding shelves or hanging rails.
- Plenty of parking.
- Industry-level security.
- Helpful staff who will take deliveries for you if you can’t be there in person to receive them.
- In addition, if your business involves selling items you can set up a dispatch area within your self storage unit so you can do all the necessary packing from your stock room. It saves hours of handling and commuting time, making your working process more efficient.
Using Space at Home
If you really don’t want to explore outside options, you have to organise things at home better. Here are some ideas:
- Creating a dedicated business room – this could be a spare room or loft, or a garage or other outbuilding you could convert, insulate and secure.
- Finding a larger spare room is easier said than done if you live in a standard house. Maybe a couple of kids could start sharing a bedroom, or you could forgo having a dining room. Both may be doable depending on your circumstances.
- If it’s impossible to give a room over to business use, reassess how you’re using what space is available.
- Maybe you could clear out some cupboards for stock storage, or cordon off just a section of a room to become the office. If you’re storing household or domestic items at home that you rarely or never use, consider using self storage for these so you have more space for your home business.
As a home business grows and becomes more active, the way you work within it also has to change or you could end up being a victim of your own success. Organisation is key, and while no single solution will suit every business it’s good to know there are alternatives out there. Devising new working and storage methods is the way forward, and the good news these days is that it doesn’t have to be a major expense or involve lots of long-term financial risk.
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