Running a business from home sounds great on paper. No nine to five or morning commute, no traffic, no water cooler gossip or nagging bosses. What could be better? Organising things for efficiency often isn’t quite as rosy. These tips might help:
Ditch the Paper
Online accounting doesn’t relieve you of the need to keep accurate books, but it does make certain tasks easier and faster thanks to synchronisation. Automatic bank feed, for instance, log every transaction in your bank account without you doing anything once it’s set up. Then all you need to do is log in and tell the system which category the transaction falls into.
Much of the work is also taken care of when it comes to tax returns, thanks to automatically generated reports. Another advantage is that you no longer need to keep paper records for many types of transactions. Scanned or photographed receipts take the place of their paper counterparts, which you can safely ditch. Give careful thought to how you’ll name files and keep them organised, and you no longer need physical files – or the cabinets to keep them in.
Get Smart with Stock Storage
Many small business owners build their businesses on the ecommerce model. It’s accessible to just about anyone, whether you run your own sales portal or join an online selling community.
One problem some run into is how and where to keep stock. Unless you’re selling digital products the items on sale take up space.
A growing solution is business self storage units. Convenient, safe and secure, they offer enough variety in size to fit all needs, and the short contract terms make upscaling or downsizing possible. Responding quickly to bargain bulk offers or seasonal stock needs can mean the difference between growing and stagnating. Self storage companies are friendly to business owners, with some even being willing to receive deliveries if you can’t be there in person.
Organise Your Stock Room
Having a stock room is the first step to boosting business success, but if it’s in disarray and you can’t find anything it can be a liability. Keep track of items held, and you’ll know when to reorder and avoid the embarrassment of accidentally selling something you don’t have.
- Label the shelves themselves with what goes where, so you know automatically where to place items as they arrive and can retrieve them with equal speed.
- Group items by colour, size, manufacturer or type, whichever is most logical.
- Choose transparent storage tubs so you can see what’s inside without lifting the lid.
- Keep a running tally on the outside of boxes. It makes stocktaking much easier, and prevents best sellers going out of stock and causing lost sales.
- Have more space than you need, so you can organise stock with a walkway down the middle.
- Place the fastest sellers closest to the door.
- Stack boxes with safety in mind — heaviest or biggest at the bottom, and avoid over packing.
Create Your Home Office
Having a dedicated space where you’ll process orders and take care of other admin tasks not only helps keep your working life organised, it creates a more professional mental attitude.
If you can’t commandeer an entire room, create an office corner in your chosen area. Install a small workstation if there isn’t room for a desk, and cordon it off from the rest of the room with a bookcase turned out from the wall. Use the shelves for stationery supplies as well as reference books or other professional publications.
Fit shelves above the workstation to help you keep track of the small office tools that are easily lost, such as pens, notebooks and staplers and staples.
Storage should work invisibly, underpinning business operations and making for smoother workflows. Figure out where you could make improvements by noticing where, why and how your current system frustrates you or holds you up.