IPitch Articles Archive
By Guest Author on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
This IPitch guest article was kindly supplied by Paul Towers. Paul is a 3x Entrepreneur and Founder of Task Pigeon, a web app that makes it simple to create, assign and manage the tasks you and your team work on each day. Paul also founded Startup Soda to help source and promote interesting and insightful content from the startup community.
Over the past five years, there has been an increase in the number of startups looking to share their story.
No, not the story prepared by their PR agency. Or the one written after the fact. But the story of the company, its founders and the success (or failure) they faced along the way.
This concept has taken hold because these founders realise that “people buy from people”.
In today’s age, where there is increasing competition and new startups launching daily it is not enough to merely say you have a great product. Or a great marketing campaign for that matter.
To create lasting value and relationships with your customers they have to feel like they are part of the journey. That is to say, they have to feel like they are “invested” in the brand.
As one would expect its innovative companies and startups like Buffer, Groove HQ and Baremetrics that have led this charge towards transparency.
And while some will admit to doing it as part of their content marketing strategy, you cannot argue that their blog posts and insights have provided immense value to the community (and in turn their customers).
As the Founder of Task Pigeon, a task management solution that makes it easy to create, assign and manage the tasks you and your team work on each day, I knew I had to do something different to stand out and looked to the above mentioned companies as examples of success.
What I saw was that if I could build a community around me and get people to engage with my brand for more than just the product, then I had a chance and creating lasting value with my customers.
Over the past six months I put this concept into practice. I have shared everything from what scares me as a founder, to how I failed in my attempt to pre-sell some licences for our SaaS solution.
This experiment showed me once and for all that there is real value in this approach. If you share your story and provide valuable lessons along the way, people do care. In fact, I have lost count of the number of people who have written in to thank me for my honesty or provided their feedback on what we are doing because they know I will value their input.
Over time I believe this will lead to a level of defensibility around the business. While this should never be the “be all and end all” of your product market strategy the past six months of my life has shown me that every startup should look to the concept of transparency as a key way of building value and relationships with their customers.
By Guest Author on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
This IPitch guest article was kindly supplied by Cathy Habas.
Insurance: everyone needs it, but not everyone understands it! Insurance can seem like a complicated mass of paperwork that merely results in yet another monthly payment to add to your roster, but it doesn’t need to be such a headache.
In fact, the whole point of insurance is to protect you from future headaches. When something goes wrong and you lose part of your investment, insurance ensures that the loss doesn’t hurt you so much. It’s like a parachute or a safety net.
What kind of insurance do you need? As you’ll see below, if you operate a business in Australia you definitely need two types of business insurance right off the bat. Then there are a handful of common liability insurances that are useful regardless of your industry. Finally, there are some specialty insurance plans meant to manage the risks associated with certain business sectors, such as those dealing with perishable goods.
The information below should serve as a good primer for the types of business insurance available, but once you have a better understanding of what you might need and why you might need it, consult with a few different insurance agents to find a great deal. Note that consulting an insurance agent is free; they only get paid if you sign a contract! So take the time to develop an insurance plan that you are comfortable with.
Two types of compulsory business insurance
In Australia, there are two types of business insurance that are mandatory for the majority of businesses: Worker’s Compensation and Compulsory Third Party insurance.
· Worker’s compensation protects employees in the event of an on-the-job injury or accident. It covers lost wages and medical expenses and releases the worker of any right to sue the employer over the incident.
· Compulsory third party insurance is a type of motor insurance that protects the driver of the vehicle for any incident he or she causes. Each Australian state has slightly different rules and regulations regarding Compulsory Third Party Insurance, so it’s best to consult your local branch of NRMA Business Insurance.
Common business insurance choices
An insurance agent can give you the full run-down of insurance options that make sense for your profession, but some common types of business insurance include:
· Business interruption: If a natural disaster, flood, fire or other specified event means that your business has to shut down temporarily, this type of insurance covers losses.
· Product liability: If the product you sell (or service you offer) causes damage or harm, this insurance protects you from being held responsible.
· Professional indemnity/liability: If your business involves giving people professional advice or providing services, this insurance protects you in the event of damages or loss incurred as a result of your service or advice.
· Property: If a natural disaster, accident or other specified event causes damage to your building, stock or other property, this insurance covers said losses.
· Public liability: If members of the public visit your premises or property, this insurance covers you for any losses sustained by anyone as a result of your negligence.
Specialty business insurance choices
Other types of business insurance may be essential for some professions and a wasted investment for others. Here are just a few specialty business insurance choices that you should review with your insurance agent:
· Computer and electronic equipment: If the computers or electronic equipment you rely on to carry out your business are damaged, this insurance covers the cost of that loss.
· Deterioration of stock: If you sell perishable stock, this insurance covers the loss of said stock in the event that a refrigerator or freezer fails.
· Glass: This insurance covers the cost of replacing any glass, including glass products, that may be damaged.
· Goods/property in transit: Whether being transported by plane, train, cargo ship or truck, goods that are damaged during transit are covered by this insurance. Geographic restrictions may apply, however.
· Machinery/equipment breakdown: If your business revolves around the use of machinery, you’ll certainly want to be covered for losses or damages that result from a failure, breakdown or malfunction.
· Money: If there’s a good chance that your business, vehicles or even private residence may be robbed, money insurance is a wise choice.
There are even more types of specialty insurance options that apply to unique niches and industry sectors. For example, the insurance requirements for the hospitality industry are more complex, as are those for 24-hour convenience stores and even nightclubs.
To prepare for your meeting with the insurance agent, make a list of all of your business assets and any possible scenarios where things might go wrong and you could be sued. This will help you to ask all of your burning questions and cover all of your bases. Good luck!
By Guest Author on Monday, March 13th, 2017
This IPitch guest article was kindly supplied by Rachel Jackson. Rachel is a mother of two beautiful boys. She loves to hike and write about travelling, education and business. She is a professional writer and editor.
When running a start-up, several things are key. Getting enough capital is one, and staying productive and organised is another. Efficiency is the name of the game, no matter what area of the business you are talking about. These 7 tools will ensure that you get it all done.
This app and website are set up to help team communication, which is essential for running a business smoothly. It’s a great way to keep new employees up to speed – something which will be needed often in the early days of expansion. You can set different boards within your channel in order to separate departments, and you can share files as well as even calling one another in-app.
How do you keep all of your messages, files, and contacts in one place? By buying the most advanced smartphone on the market. There are so many useful apps for start-up owners available on the iTunes store that you won’t know where to start. If a new handset seems pricey, buy second-hand and unlock the iCloud account afterwards.
If you want to get everything set up online as quickly as possible, GSuite is the one. You can buy a domain, set up emails, watch your analytics, manage ad campaigns, and generally keep on top of everything from within their tools. Using the Google platform also helps search ratings, and it means you know everything is taken care of completely.
4. Kindle Fire
Want a device that you can take with you everywhere and do everything you need to? The Kindle Fire could be it. It’s smaller and lighter than a laptop or laptop tablet, and while there is less functionality, it could be enough for your needs. You can manage, edit, and send documents through the apps, as well as keeping on top of emails. For those long commutes or travel to meetings where you just need to switch off, it’s also full of games, books, and TV shows for your entertainment.
In the early days, you will probably find it more beneficial to hire freelancers than to bring in new employees. Some businesses find that this is a model which suits them well even as they grow. If you need someone to complete a task, you can usually find them on UpWork. This includes content writers, web developers, graphic designers, social media managers, and so on and so forth. Hiring is quick and payment is easy.
Got a question about running your business? Someone has probably already answered it on Quora. All users here have to have a verified background so that they know what they are talking about. If you can’t find the answer, you can always ask it and find an expert ready to help you out. It’s like having mentors all around the world, but for free.
7. Phone management system
There are plenty of these in the marketplace, so we won’t pick out just one. Having a virtual answering machine is a great way to make your business look bigger and more impressive than it is at low cost. If you are unable to answer the phone, this “receptionist” will take a message and have it ready for you whether you are near your mobile, your emails, or the office phone. It’s an efficient way of keeping on top of communication.
It’s essential that you have the right tools to help you through these early stages. Don’t miss out on growth potential because you don’t have the right organisational solutions at your fingertips!
By Guest Author on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017
This IPitch guest article was kindly supplied by Alyssa Magarey. Alyssa is a great tech enthusiast working at Web24, which offers secure and reliable web hosting. She likes to be on top of the latest technology trends and test new gadgets.
Virtual Private Servers, or VPS, are a great solution for hosting web content. They aren’t always considered by businesses because they are not too well known, but they are certainly a viable option in most cases. It might just be something that could hugely benefit your business. Here’s everything you need to know about what VPS can do for you.
1. Performance similar to dedicated servers
Dedicated servers can often be too pricey for small businesses and start-ups, but there’s a solution to that. A VPS costs so much less, but offers the same kind of performance, which makes it a fantastic bargain. It has additional security features above shared hosting, keeps your content isolated, and offers more flexibility. That definitely makes shared hosting look like the inferior choice.
2. Costs are cheaper
As we mentioned in the last point, VPS servers cost a lot less than dedicated servers. The infrastructure costs less and it is a lot easier to scale your hosting up, which means you get a much better deal overall. Having physical servers is a waste of money when you have this option available – and what business couldn’t do to save money?
3. Performance is faster than shared hosting
With shared hosting, you may have the cheapest option. But what you certainly don’t have is the best performance. VPS hosting can give your website a faster load time, which means a better experience for your customers. This can even help with your search ranking: Google likes to boost pages which load quickly, so you could find your website shooting to the top of the results.
4. Customer support is available
If you aren’t so good at dealing with tech issues, then you probably won’t know what to do if things go wrong. The great news about VPS servers is that your hosting company will provide you with a technical manager or support helpline which you can turn to if you are out of your depth. They will be able to help you understand what is going on and sort everything out.
5. Security is better
Hacking is a big issue for business websites, as are other malicious attacks like denial of service. To ensure that your data and your site are as safe as possible, it’s important to invest in security. The good news is that VPS servers tend to be more secure because they are on the virtual equivalent of a dedicated server. This means that the security configurations are tailored to your needs, rather than set up to a default as with shared hosting.
6. There are more options and better flexibility
If you want to add in a new operating system, or install third party software, then it’s possible on a VPS hosting plan. You don’t need to stick to one set-up like you would with shared hosting. You have direct access to the web based control panel which changes the way that the site is set up. You can change as much as you want, when you want – and make back-ups easily before doing this as well.
It seems that VPS hosting is a better option in all ways. The only thing that you need to be aware of is checking the compatibility of your software for use on a virtual platform, but since you can use any software you want out of all the compatible options, you can easily make it work. It’s a great step up from shared hosting without the expenses of going for a dedicated server in your own right.
By Guest Author on Sunday, March 5th, 2017
This IPitch guest article was kindly supplied by Lucy Adams. Lucy is a blogger and essay writer from BuzzEssay, a platform which provides custom essay service and high-quality writing assistance. Lucy is a lady-generalist always open to intriguing ideas. Share your best suggestions and get a high-quality paper in the shortest time, at no cost!
From time to time any company needs to figure out its position on the market. What are the advantages and disadvantages of your business team? Whether the employees’ skills sufficient to achieve the goals?
There are many factors that determine the position of a particular business on the market. Every company has certain human, financial and technological resources, and the defining factor is how much effective it manages these resources.
If you’re dreaming of building an effective business team, this article is just for you! Below we’ll describe VRIO model, a useful set of questions to analyse resources and apply them correctly.
Let’s start with what VRIO is:
· V – Value;
· R – Rarity;
· I – Imitability (uniqueness);
· O – Organisation.
If the resources meet all these requirements, they’re used effectively and can make an invaluable contribution to achieving the company’s mission.
First of all, you should make sure that no elements ignored.
Valuable resources help your company generate profit by reducing costs and increasing revenues. Value can be measured in several ways.
High value provides a lot of advantages, including
· High price for the products.
· An efficient production process that will improve the quality of products.
· Productive use of labor resources.
· Creating of innovative products.
· Promotion of your brand.
Resources are valuable only if nobody (or only “the chosen”) has access to them. It may be
· A genius who works for you.
· An excellent provider with whom you have entered into an agreement on exclusive supply.
· A product or brand that your customers trust.
· The outlets in strategic locations.
Uniqueness means that your products and services are hard to tamper: there are only a few companies that do similar things.
Uniqueness is a very challenging task because once you launch something new, numerous competitors will try to copy it. Someone just takes your idea and develops it in such a way as to create a cheaper counterpart that will cost less. You can’t remain unique for long, so constantly think about how you can improve your product or service along with protecting your current product from unlicensed copying.
This element determines the degree of effectiveness of your company in using specific resources that are valuable, rare and inimitable.
Your internal management, understanding of business processes, as well as your staff should focus on getting the resources at a minimum cost to achieve high quality and efficiency. Properly organised business processes push the company forward while the most brilliant but poorly-organised ideas almost never generate revenue.
How to Apply VRIO to Practice
First of all, identify resources that are valuable, rare and inimitable, and then think about how to use them correctly.
Use the following checklists:
Brainstorm and determine resources that are the most profitable now or will bring the greatest returns in future. Answer the following questions:
· Do you have any resources that improve the efficiency of business processes?
· Do you have any resources that help create new products and meet customers’ needs?
· Do you have access to valuable materials?
· Have you invested in projects or information technologies that may significantly help you in future?
· Do your customers have the opportunity to use your products and services at any time? Does your company provide them with a shipping and after-sale service?
· How long does your product or service retain its value?
Note that the tastes and demands of customers change over time. If your business is new, you must first think about profits. However, if you are in the market for several years, profit should not be the priority. In this case, bet on building a good reputation for staying afloat.
· How long will your resources stay rare or unique?
· Are your resources available exclusively to you? Do the competitors have access to them?
· Will your competitors have these resources in the future?
· How difficult is it to counterfeit or imitate your product or service?
· Are there counterparts on the market? If they are, do they meet customers’ needs to the same extent that your product or service?
· How long will it take for a new competitor to appear on the market?
· Whether your workforce organised efficiently or not?
· How much attractive are the conditions for workers?
· How much effective is the management?
· Is your business able to innovate?
· How quickly does your company respond to changing circumstances?
Once you answer these four question sets in details and fairly, you’ll be able to see whether you’re using your resources effectively to determine your position on the market.
Balance and manage, and soon you’ll stand out from the competition and succeed in business.
By Guest Author on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
This IPitch guest article was kindly supplied by Marcus Turner Jones.
Business conditions in Australia are riding high at the moment. President Trump’s inauguration has boosted the global economy, which has been a shot in the arm for business confidence in Australia. The National Bank of Australia business conditions index reached a nine-year high in January, hitting +16.2 points. Business confidence hit a corresponding high of +9.8 points, which is in sharp contrast to the previous three years.
1. Australian economy growing
The global political situation is a strong influence on Australia’s economy, so it’s no surprise that President Trump’s promises to implement new tax plans to kick-start the US economy have had a positive effect on home markets. Despite some concern that Australia was heading into a recession, the Reserve Bank of Australia has rescinded its dire predictions of an economic downturn and issued a statement to say it believes the economy will grow at a rate of 3% during 2017.
It’s been a turbulent time for the Australian economy over the last few years. The country has a lot of natural resources, but with demand for raw materials from China falling, several large mines have closed and investment in the mining sector has dropped. The construction industry has also suffered in recent years, with growth tailing off sharply, particularly in the city apartment sector.
2. Employment figures rising
In response to economic growth, employment figures are on the rise. This positive news has boosted the value of the Australian dollar traded against other currencies. Analysts predict further rate rises could be on the cards if the business sector continues to remain buoyant moving forward into 2017. Unfortunately, although the Reserve Bank of Australia’s cash rate remains at 1.5%, recent currency hikes suggest that businesses and consumers may have to deal with a period of higher inflation over the next couple of years.
3. A boost in business lending
The current climate of positivity has led to a modest increase in business lending. Between December 2015 and August 2015, business lending was in negative territory, largely as a result of an ailing Australian economy. This pattern changed in September 2016, when loan commitments began to rise.
Figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate the value of revolving credit commitments, which is short-term borrowing to cover working capital expenditure, rose by 1.6% in December 2016. Fixed lending rose by 2.4% in December 2016. These figures are higher than homeowner and personal finance lending, suggesting Australian consumers have less confidence in economic recovery than Australian businesses.
4. P2P lending boom
Lending options for businesses have increased in recent years. The P2P lending sector has been an interesting development, with some analysts saying P2P lending has reinvented the lending marketplace. It’s an evolving business sector, with new P2P platforms growing at a phenomenal rate, and not just in Australia. In the US, P2P lending has doubled every year since 2010, and a similar trend is unfolding in China and the UK.
In part, P2P lending has developed in response to the global economic recession. P2P lenders have much lower overheads, yet offer greater yields to investors. As risk-averse lenders cut back on small business lending, P2P lending has grown to fill the void. It’s now easier for a business to secure a loan via an online P2P lender than it is from a bank. P2P lenders are able to leverage recent fintech developments to offer instant lending decisions and quick cash.
5. Can businesses afford to borrow?
Concerns over whether businesses can afford to increase their lending commitments are, however, justified, given the uncertainties facing the global economy right now. President Trump may have great plans for implementing innovative tax measures and ‘Making America Great Again’, but we have yet to see whether his plans to boost the US economy will bear fruit. And like many other developed nations, Australia’s economy is aligned with the global economy, so ripples elsewhere have unwanted repercussions at home.
Australia’s small businesses have faced many challenges in recent years, not least stagnant economic growth and wide scale mines closers, but one issue that has been highlighted by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise is the problem of late payments. With business lending on the rise, it’s not an issue we can afford to ignore.
6. Late payment culture
The late payment culture is a problem affecting millions of small and medium-sized businesses in Australia. Research conducted by the Payment Times and Practices Inquiry discovered that 50% of small businesses say half of their invoices are paid late, with 70% of them experiencing cash flow problems as a result of late payment. This problem is compounded by an ingrained culture of asking for extended periods of credit, which can also negatively affect cash flow within small businesses.
With a period of rising inflation ahead almost certain, it would be wise for Australian businesses to be cautious with their borrowing commitments. Although recent figures suggest that Australia has dodged the recession bullet for now, we are not out of the woods just yet.
By Guest Author on Monday, February 27th, 2017
This IPitch guest article was kindly provided by Lucy Adams. Lucy is an outsourcer from https://bestessay4u.co.uk/. She’s a generalist who never refuses writing on fresh and interesting topics. Feel free to share your ideas with the diligent blogger. Blog posts are free, so don’t miss a brilliant chance to add something valuable to your website at no cost.
We live in a constantly evolving environment. Although changes are natural, their speed is now too fast. The decade of the XVIII century and decade of the XXI are completely different in terms of technology development and adaptation to these innovations. Finally, only by constantly improving your technologies, approaches, and marketing strategies you can survive in the harsh business world.
Many businessmen instinctively feel their companies need changes, but they don’t know from where to start. And how to understand that the team successfully adopted the change? How can you be sure that the innovation that seemed to be a win-win won’t ruin your business right away?
John Kotter, a Professor of Leadership, has developed an 8-step change model. According to Kotter, it will allow every business owner find the right approach to the team and make the changes permanent.
1. Create an urgent need
No change will take place until you realize that you need it. The awareness of the urgent need will greatly increase motivation and inspiration of people involved in the process.
First of all, create a list of the necessary changes, and implement them one by one. Carry out the following work:
· Identify potential threats and develop all possible scenarios. Even a simple change can lead to unexpected results.
· Explore all the possibilities and resources that can help you in achieving the goal.
· Start a discussion with the team and encourage them to ask questions and express opinions.
· Ask your loyal customers to support you by providing feedback.
Kotter claims that the first step brings about 75% of success.
2. Create a coalition
You have to convince as many people as possible that the changes are necessary, as well as that these changes will bring some benefit to each member of your team.
People tend to resist changes, but if you point out to exceptional prospects and real benefits, most likely, you’ll be able to dispel all the hesitations and fears.
Note that you should lead the team, not just give orders – that’s how you can achieve the best results!
· Identify those who are also leaders and can help you.
· Identify all interested in changes. Ask these people for emotional help.
· Identify those who are resistant to changes and determine why they are unhappy.
Your main task is to unobtrusively convince your staff that they do need these changes.
3. Visualise changes
Not all people can boast of creative thinking, so you gave to demonstrate them the image of the future that awaits them. When people understand what you want to achieve, they show much better performance.
· Define the value of change and make sure each of your employees appreciates it.
· Come up with a short, one or two sentences in length message that conveys the main principle of your innovative idea. During the changes implementation, you’ll need to speak a lot, but make sure this core message is in the people’s hearts.
· Develop a strategy to achieve your goal.
· Ensure that each member of your team can describe “the desired future” in one minute.
· Build your speech not only on logics but also emotions.
4. Speak and think about what you want to achieve
After clearly presented the future of the company, start thinking about it, and hold discussions with your subordinates. Be flexible because someone can offer you a more efficient way to achieve the goal. If the whole team tries to give you advice, everything goes smoothly!
One big change involves several smaller ones. Discuss every step, even the most insignificant, with your team.
· Talk about the company’s future and the changes you want to achieve as much as possible.
· Pay attention to all the concerns of your subordinates and dispel their fears.
· Bring your ideas to life by all means. Almost any action has to be subordinated to your dream.
5. Remove obstacles
What if some people are resistant to changes? What if you haven’t got the expected results?
Well, the only way out is to find out obstacles and remove them. When people see how well you cope with the problems, they will begin to trust you and follow you.
· Hire people who know how to convince and enthuse.
· Encourage and reward people for success. However, don’t limit yourself with only financial rewards.
· Make sure that the descriptions of vacancies fit the future job.
· Identify people who prevent change and talk to them. Don’t fire them at once – if you can convince them, they will become the most loyal employees.
· Once the obstacle appears, immediately remove it.
6. Achieve short-term wins
Nothing motivates better than success. Let your team feel the smell of victory! A global change may take several months or even years, so you should celebrate smaller ones to avoid negative thoughts and mental fatigue.
· Cope up with a few unmistakable projects that you can easily implement.
· Do not spend a lot of money at an early stage. First, make sure that you have a coherent team.
· Thank and reward the workers who help in achieving short-term wins.
7. Develop the change
Unlike short-term wins, big lasting change requires a lot of work. Running a single product is good, but the launch of ten products is even better!
Remember the most important rule: you either evolve or degrade.
· Analyze what you did/do right and wrong.
· Think about what you need to improve.
· Think of new, fresh ideas.
8. Turn the change into a rule
Make every effort to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of the work of your company. Changes need to be tangible rather than exist only in the minds of your people.
Take your time! A set of changes will become your new corporate culture, and people will take it much easier.
· Talk about the progress with your staff, accounting the people’s interests.
· When recruiting staff, inform future candidates about these requirements and observe the reaction.
· Go to the end and don’t give up. You’ll need more discipline and willpower than physical efforts.
It is difficult to change yourself, but when it comes to the whole company, things get much more complicated. Be ready to work a lot, but don’t rush to implement changes before your team is mentally prepared. Good luck is your business endeavors!
By Guest Author on Sunday, February 26th, 2017
This IPitch guest article was kindly supplied by Tane Clark of Half Price.
Ideas are born out of necessity, but when Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen came up with the idea for Houzz, they could have never predicted that the platform would now be home to 40 million users.
The husband and wife team created the idea for Houzz when they were struggling to gain inspiration when redesigning their home. In February 2009, Houzz was launched, and its growth since then has been staggering.
The team has made excellent use of the funding they received and it makes a good lesson for anyone with a start-up business. When Houzz received a $2 million investment in November 2010 it was vital that they made careful use of the money. If they’d had no concrete plan in place, as to how they were going to use that money to grow the business, they may not have received the additional funding soon after. A year later, they received an additional $11.6 million in financing, and in January 2013 a further $35 million.
While of course most start-ups will never be dealing with such large amounts, it’s still a good lesson in how efficient use of funds is vital. It’s important that every penny you spend is used as efficiently as possible, as too much waste may well result in a business failing.
Stories like Houzz should make you excited about start-ups and will hopefully make you believe that anything is possible. In truth, Houzz isn’t anything revolutionary, but more so a simple idea, executed with devastating effect. Start-ups don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, but rather focus on areas within the wheel, yet to be exploited. Adi & Alon now have a combined net worth of $500 million. It really is the stuff dreams are made of and Houzz’s growth shows no signs of slowing down. With new markets in the UK, Australia, Germany, France, amongst others – the sky really is the limit for Houzz.
Check out the above infographic from Half Price for more information on how a simple start-up business that started at a kitchen table became one of the most popular websites in the world.
By Guest Author on Monday, February 20th, 2017
This IPitch guest article was kindly supplied by Emma Lewis. Emma is a blogger supporting Spacer – an Australian startup which helps individuals and businesses find affordable space to rent. Whenever not working, Emma is usually found spending time with her family or reading entrepreneurship and business articles and blogs.
For a small business, renting an office space seems like a daunting idea. It’s a lot of overheads for only a small boost in productivity and possibilities. But renting a storage unit or container could be something that really makes a difference, for a much smaller fee. Here are 5 ways that taking up your own storage space could hugely benefit your business.
1. An easy headquarters
You can rent all kinds of space for your business – a storage unit, a container, or even space in a garage. But this space becomes what you make of it. Plenty of businesses have started in this kind of space and gone on to be hugely successful. For example, you could create a pop-up shop, an e-commerce business, a factory, or even a bar within a storage unit. Don’t be afraid to expand the possibilities of your business using storage. If you currently have a spare room in your home full of your stock to sell online, imagine how much more you could sell with a storage unit.
2. Store important items
Of course, the number one benefit of a storage unit is being able to store things there. There are plenty of things that businesses require or generate but which are not used on a daily basis. For example, your documents such as invoices, receipts, and client details are probably only needed around the tax return time once the transaction has been completed. You can store your paper copies away here. You can also keep early prototypes or product samples here if you are not going to be selling them.
3. Working office
If your business does not currently have an office address, you probably need to get one. A lot of start-ups begin in bedrooms and lounges, but to bring that start-up to success, you need to take it seriously. A storage unit can provide you with a physical office that you can use as your business address. You can also get a lot of work done there without any distractions so long as you kit it out with your business essentials. You can even meet clients here, or hold business conferences over Skype. The good news is that all they will see over the internet is you sitting at a desk – they won’t even be able to tell that you are inside your storage space. It gives you a more professional look and will set you up for greater things later on.
4. Temporary storage
A storage unit does not have to be used long-term for it to be valuable to your business. You can also use it for temporary storage. This is useful when you are moving offices, or when you have a bit of extra stock for the moment, for example when preparing for Christmas sales. It can be a place to put unwanted things until they are needed again, such as seasonal decorations for your shop or office. Generally speaking, you can put anything that you don’t have room for at the moment in there, especially if you know that you will need it again soon. This is cheaper than selling it and then buying it again later.
5. Keep everything safe
Finally, a storage unit is also great for storing everything safely. If your business premises are ever broken into, you will still have your unit full of everything else that has not been touched. There are a number of factors to look for when choosing a unit to make the most of this. These include security cameras, extra locks, being part of a storage compound, and being patrolled by security guards.
It definitely seems like a storage unit is useful for a business to have. Considering the cost of a unit compared to renting a new office space, it also makes the most sense to choose this option!