When starting a business or trying to expand, location and space are major considerations. Whilst for some businesses location is of paramount importance, for many others a prestigious location - which comes with a hefty rental price - is an unnecessary factor. What is important though is affordability and flexibility. Starting or expanding a business always involves risks, so any opportunity to minimise the risk is always a welcome prospect.

Risk factor
For most new or expanding businesses, regardless of location, one risk factor is the prospect of being tied down to a medium or long-term lease, which can hinder growth and restrict flexibility.

All kinds of businesses can benefit from using self storage, from sole traders and those who are outgrowing working from home to multi-location stock based businesses

A solution which is helping many of today‘s SMEs is self storage. All kinds of businesses can benefit from using self storage, from sole traders and those who are outgrowing working from home to multi-location stock based businesses.

For stock based businesses the flexibility of self storage is of particular appeal, with many storage companies only requiring 7 days notice to up or down size a unit there is no longer the worry of paying for space which is not needed. Larger or extra units can be rented for busy periods like Christmas or to cope with other increased seasonal demands, and then once stock has been dispatched a business can resume the lower rental rates of smaller units.

Tomas Dalek imports Polish beer in to the UK and uses Access Self Storage in Boston Manor as his base: “My stock levels fluctuate on a weekly basis so the flexibility Access offers me means I am only paying for the space I need. I also have the luxury of increasing or decreasing space as and when I need it, and don‘t have to commit to a long-term lease, which is something I wouldn‘t be able to do with conventional warehouse space”.

For bulk storage, drive-up units and undercover loading bays are available, as well as forklift facilities to ensure delivery and dispatch of large orders are managed with ease. In addition to storage space some companies also have offices, meeting rooms and secure car parking facilities, allowing all the benefits of being fully functional from one site but without the costs and commitment usually associated with such a set-up.

Making the most of office space
Self storage is not only of benefit to businesses which are stock based: with office space in any location costing a premium and the additional worry of volatile overheads, it is imperative to ensure that costly space is being used to gain maximum benefit. Offices which are cluttered with rarely referenced paperwork, archive files, excess equipment or unused furniture could free up expensive space for additional members of staff by using self storage for the lesser used items. An Ernst and Young survey revealed that it costs the average company £1,200 per year to maintain the space occupied by a four-drawer filing cabinet. With self storage costing a fraction of that price and most businesses having more than one filing cabinet, smart businesses are recognising the advantages of storing paperwork offsite.

Easy expansion
An additional benefit of using self storage is the opportunity for expansion without relocation. Using freed up space for additional staff removes the need of expensive and disruptive relocation, meaning a business can remain where customers and suppliers know where to find them, and where current staff are happy to commute.

For companies who use sales representatives to cover different territories, storing samples, stock or materials in local self storage facilities is a great way of reducing travel time, therefore allowing the sales force to get on with the job they are tasked to do; selling. Certain self storage companies offer a receipt and despatch facility which can be a huge added bonus for all types of storage users.

Having business assets in storage does not mean they are out of reach, as well as offering 24 hour access, self storage facilities are located in prime spots in terms of transport links and proximity to businesses. So, a self storage unit can be almost as convenient as a company‘s on-site stock room or archive storage area, just without the associated costs.

Many companies are recognising the advantages of cost-efficient and flexible space when it comes to business. With the self storage industry providing a hassle-free alternative to conventional trading, it allows many SMEs to better equip themselves to move their businesses forward in a low-risk, cost efficient manner.

For more detailed advice on how self storage can benefit your business please contact 0800 731 4870 or visit www.accessstorage.com