Seeking the right storage solution for your small business+

Whether you are a new business or an expanding one, sooner or later you will require a storage solution. Depending on what sector you’re in and the size of your business, it’s important to look at the right storage for you. 

Choosing the right storage solutions for your business can be a little overwhelming. Whilst you might not have huge storage needs in the early stages, with so many options on the market it can be difficult to know how to narrow down the best one for you in both the short and long term. 

When you’re a small business, you need to consider many factors. Cost can be a key player as to what you choose. The cost of logistics, storage and moving products from A to B can significantly affect an SME’s bottom line. Given the size and location of emerging businesses, warehousing options can be a little sparse. Here’s how to narrow down those storage options, so that you opt for the best fit for your needs.  

Physical storage

Your warehouse and delivery needs

If you’re in the line of business that requires a good storage through to delivery network then it may be useful to consider a direct feed and cut out the middle man. Selecting fixed warehouse storage can amount to a large investment and commitment. Flexible storage providers that respond to your adapting requirements are more suited to SME’s. 

Be efficient: Think about your entire supply chain and distribution line. Are you able to make this more efficient? Look into whether it is possible to hire one provider to cover all aspects: pick-up, storage, quality checking, delivery and storage. Worrying about multiple third parties involved in the delivery process can lead to potential hold ups. 

Location: Consider a logistics provider with a location that feeds directly into your distribution network. Its location will make all the difference to your transport costs and lead times to customers. 

Self-storage for your business 

Many businesses might not have considered self-storage as a solution for their business needs. However, with a range of services for any sized business, it can be a cost-effective option. It’s proven to be a successful logistics solution for many businesses who are looking for storage facilities. Whilst there are general uses for these types of facilities, there are often certain limitations which are advisable to check. Most commonly, they are used for: 

+ Archiving paperwork and files

+ Storing office equipment and furniture that aren’t currently needed

+ Storing office supplies

+ Small-scale distribution centre 

+ A store for excess stock, exhibition equipment and other larger business items 

+ A space for small businesses to run their businesses

Speaking to the BBC, Rennie Schafer, chief executive of Self Storage Association UK, says: "For businesses it's a flexible way they can store their goods and their materials. And they only pay for the storage they need rather than a warehouse which could be half full one day and overflowing the next.” 

Digital storage 

It’s not just the tangible elements that need taking care of, sooner or later you’ll need to consider where you’ll store your data. It’s essential that you back up important information and files in the form of emails, presentations, spreadsheets, graphics, etc. Most of these are the lifeblood of any business and, after time, they take up a lot of hard drive space. 

When determining the storage needs for your business, one key factor is sourcing reliable data hardware. Data is a precious thing, so it’s essential you have a sound storage strategy. Whilst there are many storage options available to small business, they aren’t all necessarily appropriate or cost-effective. Opt for a solution that suits you for now and is easy to manage, but can easily be expanded on. 

Hard to pick your hardware?

External hard drives are a relatively inexpensive way to add more storage to your individual computers. This is a simple solution for emerging SME’s, but once the business grows you’ll need to consider a way to make this scalable. 

Every cloud has a silver lining…

A few years ago cloud storage was a mystery to many, now it’s an integral part of our modern lives. If you’re a business that needs a service to hold all of your data, then cloud storage may be your answer. The idea that your files are restricted to the constraints of your desktop PC can be frustrating. Living in a mobile world, we’re in need of files that are available where and when we want them. With the limitations of email servers and file size restrictions on sharing, cloud storage eliminates any problems with instant access. Depending on how much space you need and the lever of security you need, there are a number of cloud storage services available on the market. Be sure to do your research. 

Network-attached storage

When you’re talking big data, then network assisted storage may be more what you’re looking for. This file-level data storage is connected to a computer network that enables a group of people to access the same system. An NAS provides reliable access through an IP networking system, which should be implemented and maintained by a business’s IT department. Given the size and maintenance requirements, this is not something that many small and medium sized businesses will consider immediately. However, if you are projecting rapid growth or are considering options for the future then this is something to keep in mind.