In the UK there are around 3 million businesses that are sole proprietorships, and London alone has over 800,000 private sector small businesses (SMEs), not surprisingly more than any other region in the UK. And more and more people are now running their own small businesses from home. But there is always the issue of storage problems as these business attempt to grow.
Living The Dream
The internet revolution has clearly been instrumental in enabling so many people to start living the dream of working for themselves. No longer is it necessary to find suitable premises from which to carry on your business – with a smart website and a fast internet connection many small businesses can appear to punch well above their weight and gain a significant customer base in their chosen field.
With the right sort of online presence it’s never been easier to make money at home and a business employing only 2 or 3 people can have the sort of impact on the marketplace that only large companies with bricks-and-mortar- premises could have done in even 10 years ago.
Whether the home office is a corner of the spare bedroom, the kitchen table or a fully kitted out office with desk, chair and storage units, all that many people need to start a small business and run it successfully is a computer. Add to that one or two smart mobile devices such as an iPhone or iPad, combined with the easy availability of free Wi-Fi in the UK and you can run your business from just about anywhere when you are out and about. Storage problems are less easy to solve – or are they?
Working from home offers freedom to work whenever you want to – this may be to fit your work around family commitments. And, indeed, mothers of young children are a significant force on the home business world. But it is not just the demands of family that encourage people to start out on their own; redundancies (and often the associated windfall pay-off) give many people the impetus, and the capital, to try something new, especially when redundancies occur in parts of the country with few alternative employed options. It can also be an appealing prospect for those who have spent many years climbing the greasy pole only to start questioning whether they actually enjoy the work they do.
Those involved in businesses where there is a culture of office politics may become weary of the constant pressure and back-biting and simply want to be their own boss. This is not any easy option – the self-employed tend to work much longer hours, particularly in the early years of establishing a business – but it does offer freedom and autonomy.
The Issue of Space
But what if your business needs space that is simply not available in your home? If the business is any type of online retail business then storage space is a must and you’ll pretty soon run into storage problems if it’s not sorted. In the early days of a business there may be limited stock held and this can be squeezed into spare garage or attic space but if the business grows significantly this is never a good long term solution.
Depending on the business there are fast “on-demand” services available, such as printing services, so you might only have to hold minimal stock. But for other items there are huge cost savings on both the items themselves and delivery costs if you buy from wholesalers in bulk.
So what is the answer to a small businesses storage needs if you do not want to invest in renting expensive warehousing or other premises? One of the big growth industries in the UK is the self-storage industry and whilst many might view the use of self-storage as only for those moving house, down-sizing or re-locating abroad, these facilities are perfect for the storage of small business stock. They have good security, easy access and are relatively inexpensive. Cheap business storage units are available in most large towns and cities; and is hugely more cost-effective than renting even the cheapest, least accessible warehouse space.