Self storage and the small business owner
When our homes are overrun by clutter and excess, we conquer the chaos. We sort through our belongings, part with some, and haul others to self storage.
When we own our own businesses, however, there never seems to be enough time in the day.
Whether we are full-time, round-the-clock, hands-on owners with brick-and-mortar facilities or freelancers whose kitchen table serves as the home office, we convince ourselves that the time we could spend taming our workplace clutter issues is better used on stocking, staffing, client work, or deadlines.
Consider this: a 2012 study by staffing firm Adecco found that 57 percent of Americans judge their co-workers based on how clean or messy they keep their work space.
If your co-workers and employees are scrutinizing you, you’d better believe that your clients are, too.
“That’s probably true,” entrepreneurs and small business owners may be thinking, “but we’re not Wal-Mart. There’s no warehouse out back. And my files, products, and important papers need to go somewhere — and maybe it builds up because I’m too busy making a living. What do you want me to do?”
You can probably guess what we think is the ideal solution to space and clutter issues…
In all seriousness, renting a self storage unit is a great way to get the clutter our of your office.
For starters, a self storage unit is typically much cheaper than renting additional retail or office space (a quick note — Life Storage can actually rent you retail and office space, too).
Plus, if your business has multiple offices, sales outlets, or staffers that work from home, an off-site storage facility may actually be more centrally located and convenient for everyone in your operation.
So now you’re on the hunt for the perfect self storage unit (or units) — but what size do you need? Let’s be methodical.
Create a spreadsheet of everything you’d like to store, including excess inventory, furniture, office supplies, and so on. This is a great way to audit what’s floating around your facility, by the way.
Second, explore the different sizes of self storage available. You’re going to want a storage space large enough to suit your business’s needs, but not so big that you’re wasting money. This online space estimator can help you visualize the space you’ll need.
Once your current storage needs are determined, it’s time to make a plan for the future. How will you update your storage inventory?
A current list will make finding your stored items much easier, alert you when something is running low, or show when additional space is needed in your self storage unit. Make sure any employees who go to retrieve or drop off items update the inventory, as well.
You should consider whether your business’s self storage unit should be climate controlled. A consistent temperature ensures that items like computer hardware, furniture, books, files, and important papers are maintained in a safe environment.
Yes, climate controlled self storage costs a little more. In fairness, replacing damaged merchandise or losing valuable records due to the whims of the weather can be significantly more costly.
Once you’ve selected a self storage unit, pack it wisely. Consider where you put high-value items. (Could they possibly be damaged if something nearby is knocked over and falls?) Put frequently used items toward the front of the storage facility to make them easier to find.
Make sure everything is well-labeled. Boxes should be boldly marked on all sides in case the get turned around over the course of time.
Even consider creating a map (especially for larger units) and taping it up inside the storage facility so that anyone charged with finding an item can locate it easily.
Organizing and moving the clutter out of your business might take some time. In the long run, though, life will be easier when you have a clean office and a reliable storage plan.
With all of the other complications involved in small business management, you’ll be glad to have this important area firmly under control.
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