Tips for Storing Inventory as Your Small Business Grows

As you grow your business, it’s likely that you’ll need to increase the amount of inventory you keep on hand to meet customer demand.
a room with clothes on the wall

As you grow your business, it’s likely that you’ll need to increase the amount of inventory you keep on hand to meet customer demand. This is especially true if you run an e-commerce store or operate some other kind of retail establishment where you sell physical products. When your inventory grows, so do your concerns about how to safely store this merchandise and what mistakes to avoid when managing it all in an effective manner. These five tips for storing inventory as your business grows can help you make the best use of your space and stay organized all at once.

Create extra space from the start.

If you’re scaling up your business and you haven’t bought a larger space yet, it’s time to start looking at storage solutions. One is self-storage units. Many entrepreneurs see them as a backup plan or fail-safe option, but what if they were part of your business plan from day one? In fact, why not work on finding a space that allows you to grow into a large storage unit right now? That way, when you hit a growth spurt in six months or two years, you won’t have to scramble to find more space, as it will already be available and waiting for you. Large storage units can allow you to access needed inventory immediately instead of requiring extra shipping costs, which can quickly eat away any profits.

Consider your packaging.

Make sure that your containers are made from recyclable material that will last longer and won’t become crushed or rusty when stored with other items. Packaging should be secure enough to keep items intact until they are purchased. If you have loose, bagged products in storage, consider adding shrink-wrap or packing them into cartons to protect them during transit. Whether you package your product yourself or work with a third party, it’s important to ensure that your product stays undamaged while in storage. This is particularly true if you store things like cosmetics, which can be delicate and easily damaged. Luckily, professional eco friendly cosmetic packaging options exist. These will not only please your customers but will keep your inventory safe.

Create a simple inventory system.

The more complicated you make your inventory system, at least initially, the harder it will be to track your items. It’s not worth adding extra stress when you are trying to get your business off of the ground. Rather, try building a simple spreadsheet that keeps track of items by category or store. As things grow and change in your business, you can consider whether you need to implement more complex software (and if so, how soon).

Be sure to label your products in a way that’s easy to read but not so bold that it detracts from what people are paying for—the product itself. You can create a logo to put on your labels but think about ways you can mix them up without making things too confusing. For example, if you’re selling multiple varieties of soap or candles with different scents, you can use one label with multiple stickers that each correspond to ascent. This will give you an organized inventory area and attract customers at every stage of growth.

Time yourself.

It might seem obvious, but knowing how long tasks take you is one of your biggest allies in running a small business. When you’re organizing your inventory, time yourself to see how long it takes you to find your products once you receive an order. This is an important part of determining how much you’re making in your business. To make a profit, you’ll need to figure your hourly wages into the price of your product.

Use these tips to improve your business practices!