A recent report puts Britain at the top of the list when it comes to self-employment. We’re now, apparently, the self-employed capital of Europe. Some 4.5 million of us work for ourselves, making up over 15% of the labour market.
Various reasons are cited, from a weak jobs market to more people wanting to forge their own path towards fulfilling their aspirations. Whatever other motives drive people towards the entrepreneur life, leaps forward in technology along with practical and accessible physical storage options play a part.
Gone are the days when you need a bank loan just to hire enough space to store physical stock. The previous lack of small to mid-sized storage capacity was a stumbling block to any entrepreneur who wanted to enter the retail or mail order market. As the popularity and acceptability of online auction sites grew, (they’re now used by major High Street vendors as well as sole traders), a rising need for secure storage became apparent.
Home storage lacks organization. It smudges the boundaries between a healthy work/life balance out of existence. Warehousing is beyond the means of the smaller trader so a sizeable gap in the marketplace grew.
Enter self storage companies like Big Yellow, who now offer a viable and professional, long-term solution. That’s long-term in a business-life sense, not in a contract sense, because with storage room rentals from just a week, traders are free to respond to changing business needs with very short notice periods. Moving up or down in storage space so as to accommodate seasonal fluctuations is common. The availability of large lockers also puts storage within reach of those with very modest needs who don’t need entire rooms. These allow entrepreneurs to start out on a professional footing from the beginning, with a ready-made plan for growth.
Self storage companies provide secure, easily accessible storage, with plenty of space for delivery vehicles. In addition, helpful staff will sign for deliveries when you’re not there. Add in extended opening hours, and it’s easy to understand why up to half the units in a facility are now taken up by business ventures.
Cloud Computing for Virtual Storage
Cloud computing came of age when devices were taught to talk to each other. Now, an account with any of several cloud storage providers means you can email customers at home then nip out to the self storage unit to pack up orders, without losing track of stock levels. Customers expect a rapid response when they contact you, so keeping up with mobile and cloud advances can give you the edge.
Whichever of the best known providers you choose, makes little difference. Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud all offer some storage capacity for free with the option to upgrade as business storage needs grow. If you’re a Microsoft user and a 365 subscriber, you can now also sign up for unlimited storage with OneDrive which is rolling out over the coming months.
Seamless Storage and Customer Service
Having a disconnect between the point of sale and the stock storage location can cause delays in restocking and mixed up dispatches, which can both add up to unhappy customers and lost sales.
Savvy entrepreneurs who harness the best of both worlds: professional, flexible storage and the power of cloud computing, pull off the seemingly impossible feat of being in two places at once.
They’re in the office taking care of admin and customer support, but also at the depot managing stock and dispatching orders. In a fast paced business environment, it’s hard to think of a more efficient solution.