How Real and Virtual Storage can Help Online Sellers – A Guest Post from Drew Davies
Selling online puts retailing goods within reach of practically all would-be business owners. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Get yourself some in-demand stock, pick your online retail platform, then sit back and watch the profits roll in.
Except in the real world of commerce, it’s never quite that simple.
Buying and selling are the fun parts of business ownership, with the not-so-fun aspects revolving around record keeping and stock storage. Getting effective and efficient systems in place to manage these two vital aspects are crucial to success.
Beginners often choose to store stock at home, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Small quantities of items slot comfortably into the spare bedroom, the loft or the garage without causing too much disruption.
For entrepreneurs who plan to expand and chase down greater profits, however, home storage solutions don’t jibe with expanding stock levels. With home access for larger delivery vehicles often restricted, receiving goods on pallets may be out of the question. Parked cars, steps, stairs and possibly damp or insecure conditions can further restrict business growth.
An economical and viable alternative is off-site self storage, which offers controlled growth opportunities to online sellers at all stages of business expansion. To begin, take on a small unit that’s just a little larger than your home setup. With flexible terms, it’s easy to expand and increase your storage space.
In addition, plenty of space and good vehicular access means it’s no longer an issue if your supplier sends your goods on an articulated lorry. Increasing stock levels means increased investment, leading naturally to a need for enhanced security. Self storage facilities offer professional level security such as perimeter fencing and 24/7 alarms to safeguard your stock.
Paper Record Storage
The second bugbear as the business grows is what to do with the mountains of paperwork. Despite all the buzz about the paperless office it hasn’t quite happened yet, although cloud storage has gone a long way towards its realisation. Options such as Dropbox, Microsoft, Google Drive and iCloud mean you can do away with the need for large filing cabinets.
Receipts, invoice copies, stock lists and important emails can all be stored safely in electronic format. Paper forms can be scanned and uploaded for easy retrieval when they’re needed. Name your scanned files logically and descriptively and you have a searchable record system that’s securely and remotely protected. Since the best advice is to store important business records offsite (and there’s a legal requirement to keep accounts for seven years), cloud storage is the answer to many paper trail problems.
For accounting, look into online solutions that allow you to enter daily transactions. Many of these charge a monthly subscription, but the time savings they afford make it well worth it. Some offer automatic bank feeds, so payments direct to your bank are entered into your accounting records automatically, keeping everything up to date with very little effort on your part.
By utilising modern self storage options for physical stock and virtual storage for documentation, systems for day-to-day running of the business become simpler and much more secure.
Drew writes for Big Yellow Self Storage.