When your home business is outgrowing your home, it can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Exciting because business is going well and growing but worrying because you’re running out of space and face some tough decisions about expansion.
At some point, all successful businesses face this dilemma, and knowing how and when to expand can be a challenge. Do you stay as you are and slowly stagnate, or do you take a leap of faith and upgrade either your premises or your storage capability?
What Are the Options?
Depending on your business model, consider these:
- Warehouses – offer acres of storage, and maybe if you’re selling large items, or you’re considering it, you might need this much space. But it’s probably unlikely if your current business is run from home. Plus, you’ll face added costs in the shape of utility bills, business rates and VAT on top of your rent.
- Rented Offices – If you meet clients face to face, your home environment might not convey the professional impression you want as the business expands. Dedicated office premises will certainly make your business appear more established and credible, but you might not be ready for that commitment. A newer, cost-effective way of getting professional office space is via flexible office spaces. They offer the same level of business security and prestige as traditional office rentals, but without the high costs or long contracts.
- Standard self-storage rooms – great if you’re looking for convenient and secure stock storage. For a simple space upgrade, these offer short terms, choice of space sizes, and convenient locations. Other advantages include long opening hours and staff on hand to accept deliveries when you’re not there.
Upgrading Your Home Space
If you’re not quite ready to explore space or premises outside your home, rethinking your home space might be enough to accommodate gentle business growth.
It depends what kind of expansion you need:
- Somewhere to meet clients – could you use a more convenient room? If your current office is a spare bedroom, maybe you could commandeer the dining room instead, so you don’t have to take clients upstairs? You’ll lose your dining room, but the business might flourish if you feel more confident about your office setup.
- More space for stock – if your business is sales based rather than service based, stock storage is really important. Think about:
- More or better shelving. Freestanding units can work as well as fixed wall shelves. Are you using all the vertical space available?
- Hidden spaces – nooks and crannies like under the stairs or under the kitchen cabinets often offer space you might not have considered. When space is at a premium, it all counts.
When you’re searching for storage spaces at home, discount anywhere that might be damp (such as the garage or shed), hard to get to (such as the loft) or inaccessible, such as asking friends or family for help with storage space.
Combining Office and Storage
As mentioned earlier, self storage units can really help many types of business when it comes to getting more space for not very much cost, and with flexible terms that won’t lock you into a big expense you might find hard to sustain at first.
Working from a self storage unit won’t suit every business owner but for retailers or resellers who hold stock and sell mostly online, it’s ideally suited.
Many storage facilities welcome business users these days. With a decent sized storage room, kitted out with shelves or cabinets for stock, you have just about everything needed for successful packing and dispatching all from the same location.
You also get a great deal of flexibility regarding your room size. You can upgrade easily to take advantage of seasonal fluctuations, and you can reclaim a decent work/life balance by moving your business out of your home environment. It’s something to think about, especially if it’s your first step towards dedicated business premises.
Upgrading a home-based business can be a challenge. You might feel you need to go slowly, just dip a toe in without signing up to anything too long-term while you find your new, bigger, feet. Happily, there are ways to do it if you’re prepared to be a bit creative.