Whether you are running a brick-and-mortar business or an online eCommerce store, having physical space for your business is important. You need room for production, operations, storage, employee facilities, and many other processes in your business.
As real estate in city centers and business hubs continues to get more expensive, businesses of all sizes are looking for more economical ways to get more space. This can be challenging to do, but there is always a solution to the problem. Here are a few things you can do to make more space for your business.
If you need more office space where staff can do their work, here are a few options to explore.
Renting Open Offices
Rather than renting offices that have rooms, you can rent an office space that has an open layout. These office spaces are simply big, open halls that you can customize to your liking. That way, you don’t have to stay limited to a certain number of rooms on the property and you are free to customize each area to your liking. In some cases, you might even be able to change an existing premade office into an open office space. Make sure you talk to your landlord to find out if they are open to making this kind of change to the property.
Using Co-working Offices
Another very convenient option is to shift to a co-working space rather than using a dedicated office. This not only gives you access to more space but it also saves you the trouble of having to buy furniture and fittings for the office. If you get a pre-made office area, you don’t have to worry about setting it up, hiring people for maintenance, or spending money on management for the office space. It gives you all the resources you need and the freedom to focus purely on your work.
If you want the most affordable option and the ability to hire as many people as you need, then a remote business model is the right choice. This way, you can hire people from any part of the world, you can have as many employees as you like, and you can operate without any physical premises. You just need to make sure that employees have access to the internet and they have decent computers to use, and people can work from the comfort of their own homes. If you want to have physical interactions the team can still have a physical meeting in business meeting rooms or have company get-togethers every few months.
Another physical limitation that companies often face is storage space. Storing products and assets can be difficult to do when you have limited space. These are some options to consider.
Buying More Space
Commercial property is expensive and if you are looking for space in a busy part of the city, it can be both expensive and difficult to find. A smarter solution is to buy dedicated storage space in the form of a warehouse or any other property that is available for commercial use and can be used to store things.
This will be worth investing in because you need it long-term, and since these properties are cheaper than regular business locations, it will be more affordable. Renting the property is also an option, but that only increases your recurring expenses. It would be more cost-effective to bite the bullet and purchase the property and enjoy the benefits for many years to come. If you do need to sell it later on, you will most likely get a better price as the asset appreciates.
If you want to stick to a rental space, then rather than renting an entire property, consider renting storage units. Storage units come in a lot of different sizes and you can store just about anything in it. Many storage unit companies also provide pick-up and delivery of goods. This way you can be in one city of England and have a storage unit in a different city and still have easy access to your goods. Getting a Peterborough storage facility would be cheaper than getting one in London. When you need goods, you can simply have them shipped to your city of residence or you can even have them shipped directly to customers. If you need to store high-value items, large items, or even perishable items, you can get specialized storage to meet your needs.
Restructuring Existing Space
If you are confident that the best solution in your case will be to have onsite storage, then consider improving your existing space so you can store more there. If your existing business premises can be restructured and you are allowed to build a storage facility there, this can be a very convenient option.
This could mean your business has to face some downtime as the changes are made, but in the long run, it will save you both time and money. Since you are already using the space for your operations and you either already own it or are paying rent for it, it will give you more value for money to be able to use it for storage as well. In most cases, the property can be restructured to store all kinds of belongings, so this would be a good investment in the long run.
Improving Supply Chain Management
Another good option is to bypass the need to store things entirely and work on improving your supply chain so that you always have access to whatever you need without having to keep inventory. This is commonly referred to as Just In Time (JIT) Supply Chain Management. As the name suggests, in this kind of supply chain management you have all the things you need just when you need them. This might mean making changes to your vendors, your transportation providers, and even your internal operations, but it will also mean that you can make your business a lot leaner.
One of the key features of a JIT supply chain is that it has more components to reduce risk as compared to a simple supply chain. Having more people in the supply chain will mean that if one stakeholder can’t provide what you need you always have a backup. To get the most from this kind of supply chain you should discuss your business with a consultant who can help you create the most optimal system for your business.
Businesses are increasingly becoming dependent on digital solutions. The use of IT and computers is becoming more common and necessary in all facets of the business. Moreover, governments and regulatory authorities are also making amendments to regulate how businesses handle digital assets and data. Digital storage is an important component of all digital operations. These are a few ways you can improve and enhance digital storage.
In the past, cloud storage was expensive and it was a security concern for businesses to be storing their valuable data on a remote database. Today, things are drastically different. Cloud storage is much easier to get and in most cases is more affordable than having physical on-site storage.
Moreover, the security is a lot better with many cloud storage services providing high-end encryption services as well. As companies move towards remote work models and even small businesses move towards global teams, cloud storage is a more convenient option for operations. Businesses can store as much or as little data as they like and for a small monthly or annual fee, they don’t have to worry about managing digital storage.
In some cases, it is still important to have on-site storage. Some businesses need the reliability and the speed of having local storage and even though they might have backups on the cloud, the main usable storage has to be kept local. In this case, there are many options including thumb drives, SSD drives, traditional hard disks, and even high-capacity CDs and DVDs.
These on-site solutions are going to be very useful where network access can be limited or where businesses need to be in total control of the data they have. While this can cost quite a bit to set up, it is a one-time investment that will easily serve you for many years to come.
Network Attached Storage
A network-attached storage system is a lot like having a local cloud. It is essentially a server or a hard disk that has access to a network. This could mean that a LAN cable can be plugged directly into the device or it could mean that a server with all the data has access to the internet. Essentially, all the other devices in that business will be able to connect to this main storage and access whatever they need from it.
This can be restricted to a local network or it can be attached to the internet so people from anywhere in the world can access the storage. Again, these are not very cheap to set up but it’s more about the unique functionality that they provide as compared to on-site storage or commercially available cloud storage.
For businesses that produce their own goods, production space is often a challenge. Sometimes they can find a good business property but they can’t get licenses to carry out production there other times they can get the license but the cost of the property makes it unprofitable to operate there. Here are a few ways you can overcome production space limitations and still keep things profitable.
Investing In Capital
One of the best ways to optimize production is to invest in capital assets that will reduce the amount of space you need. Today, you can get premade and custom-made machinery to do things that would otherwise need to be done by hand. A single machine can be enough to replace an entire line of production.
Rather than having several people doing that process, a machine can do it in much less space, with more accuracy, with greater output, and at a lower per-unit cost. The problem is that these machines aren’t cheap. However, if you calculate the ROI you will get from investing in capital assets, it will be far higher than hiring human employees. Moreover, considering how much you will save in terms of the cost of land required, it will be well worth the investment. You can increase your output exponentially while staying in the same physical space that you have.
Another benefit of modern machines in production lines is that they can be stacked one on top of the other. If you currently have a warehouse or a production facility with just 15 or 20 feet of vertical space, you can set up multiple machines, one on top of the other, and get an even higher output per square foot.
Depending on the size of the machines and the specific production process that you have, this may or may not be possible. In some cases, you can have multiple layers of production happening on the same floor. In other cases, you might need to get an additional office or production space. Even in that case, getting another office in the same building or getting more space in the same warehouse will be easier and more efficient than setting up a new production facility in a different part of town.
If you are very limited on space and expanding to a new production facility will cost too much time and money then outsourcing the entire process might be a better idea. In some industries, this might not be possible, for instance, if you make hand-made products and the main selling point is your unique design, but in other cases, it is very easy to do. You can find manufacturers who specialize in producing goods in bulk and selling them to other businesses that brand the product, package it and ship it under their own label.
If you are looking to expand your operations it will help to know where your business is heading in the next five, ten, or even twenty years. Buying a property, investing in capital, or getting new systems costs money and it takes time to set things up and optimize operations. You want to make these decisions knowing that you will be able to get the most from these things in the years to come. If you aren’t certain about the variables involved then talking to a specialist or a consultant will be a good step to take.