There's a common misconception that self-storage is solely used by personal and residential storers. At Blue Bear Self Storage we know that's not the case. While we are always happy to help our domestic clients find affordable storage when they need it most. We're also proud to support many clients as they grow their business. So, in this week's article, we thought we'd expand on that support by bringing you some advice from two third-party experts who also foster their client's success and facilitate business development.
First up, we spoke to Myf Plunkett the Centre Manager at BASE Bordon Innovation Centre. A co-working space that's just twenty minutes away from our Petersfield self-storage site. Self-storage facilities and co-working spaces are a match made in heaven for a startup business. Both can help to keep your costs and overheads down. We know that space is a valuable commodity when it comes to your business. Leases can be restricting and cumbersome, which is why we are proud to provide you with a range of different solutions at an unbeatable value. Combine this financial freedom from leases with a flexible co-working space, and it's a #winwin situation! Myf explained the benefits of co-working in more detail for us.
Q: Why is a co-working space a perfect solution for a start-up in terms of keeping costs in check?
A: Co-working space is an excellent option for a start-up or freelance based business as the commitment in terms of cost and notice period are much lower than other flexible work options available.
Q: How can co-working spaces help to increase a business’ productivity?
A: Co-working can increase a business’ productivity as there is usually a buzz in a co-working environment. You feed off the energy from co-workers. Co-workers can provide advice and ideas. Many co-workers are at similar stages of business growth and can share experiences. Having a sounding board can be invaluable.
Q: What extra benefits can start-up businesses and entrepreneurs take advantage of as a member at a co-working space?
A: A sense of community. Many co-workers or entrepreneurs are sole traders so potentially work autonomously. Many co-working spaces provide free workshops and networking events giving you an opportunity to network with local business owners and promote your business or possibly collaborate with other businesses.
Q: How do co-working spaces facilitate a business’ growth?
A: Different co-working spaces differ in the delivery of facilitating business growth. At BASE with have a business support ecosystem led by our onsite Innovation Director. They can provide mentorship and advice to assist the growth of your business. We also hold many workshops and masterclasses of topics particularly relevant to start-ups and SME’s.
Q: What questions should people ask the service provider when they’re selecting a co-working space?
- Access (24/7, business hours).
- Inclusions (amenities, internet, dedicated desk).
- What services are available?
- Notice period.
Next, we spoke to Charles Sampson. Charles is an industry leading business adviser who has worked with many successful startups. He holds an ACA accounting certification, which is only held by 144,000 people worldwide. He is known for his work with a large number of small businesses and start ups, even helping Blue Bear through our development phase. We asked Charles to share some tips and advice that help you grow your business!
Q: What’s your #1 piece of advice for launching a start-up?
A: Keep costs down! In the early stages of any business, it is imperative that you try and avoid large and costly professional fees in setting up the company. High level fixed costs can have a huge impact on the company’s profitability. It is amazing how much you can get done yourself before having to enlist the services of a professional.
Q: How can businesses and entrepreneurs keep control of costs in their start-up phase?
A: Beg, borrow or steal (not quite!). Everyone has a friend who would be willing to help another out. In my experience friends will happily offer to do help out on the basis the favour might be returned in the future. The more conventional tools are budgeting, which may appear overkill in the beginning but it is a very useful tool to track all the business costs.
Q: Where can start-up businesses go for help and advice?
A: On the accounting side there are lots of useful blogs that will help small business owners understand the regulation and legal requirements they must operate under. Likewise, the government has a lot of good articles that can help people starting out. Some business owners enlist the services of a mentor in return for a small portion of equity.
Q: Who should small business owners and entrepreneurs have as part of their ‘team’?
A: As I mentioned having a mentor on board puts you in good stead. You want to have someone who has had success and has experience to guide you to the initial stages. A mentor might act a bit like ‘Non-Exec’ and be at the end of the phone to bounce ideas off as well as challenge your thought processes. You also want a good accountant!
Q: What’s the most common mistake you see start-up businesses make? And how can it be avoided?
A: Burning cash! Cash is king in business, and I have seen some businesses run out or fall short of their working capital requirements because of unnecessarily high costs and poor treasury management. The way around this is to forecast, even you go for a list, as at least this will give you an idea of what parameters you can operate in or a number you need to approach investors with.
To find out how we can help your business continue to grow with self-storage, contact us.