If you’re running a home business and make serious sales, one of the best investments you can make is to rent a self storage unit for your inventory. You’ll free up room at home, the unit will cost you less per square foot than residential space, and you can (and should) get a unit with climate control to keep all your sales items in good shape.
It’s important to keep track of your inventory, including how many of each item have sold and what you have on hand. It’s also important to know where every item is. When you’re at your storage space fulfilling orders, you’ll want to be able to get everything quickly.
Here are our top tips for organizing sales inventory in your storage unit.
Our first piece of advice is also the most important. Keep an inventory of all your products, from the very start if possible.
If you’ve been making sales for a while and haven’t kept an inventory, now’s the time to rectify that. This will take some work, but in the end it will be worth it. Get a pen and pad of paper, and go through all your items. Write down how many you have of each.
Once that’s done, we recommend using an inventory app to keep track of your inventory from now on. You’ll need to track how many sales you’ve done, how much each item cost you and what it sold for, and so on. You’ll also include new inventory as it comes in. Good inventory apps include Tracker, Sortly, and On Shelf. You can also save money and input all your information manually into an Excel or Google Sheets document.
Once you have an inventory of all your sales items, organize them in your storage unit. The best way to do this is by type. Let’s say you sell tee shirts. Have a section for men’s shirts, one for women’s, and one for children’s. Within those sections, sort further, such as by design. This same principal can work with anything you sell, from hand-made dolls to electronics.
Got all that done? Great! You’re well on your way to having a well-organized inventory. Next, map your unit. One way to do this is by drawing an overhead map of the room, including each stack. Number them on the map. Then, under the map itself, write a legend that says what’s in each stack.
Let’s say you’re a small press publisher. Yours legend may look something like this:
Science Fiction Novels. Authors: Joe Smith, Jane Doe, John Hancock.
Mystery Novels. Authors: Dane Payne, Matt Pratt.
Your actual inventory list will tell how many of each item you have in stock, while the map will help you locate what you need quickly.
We mentioned this above, but it’s important to reiterate it. Whenever you make a sale, update your inventory. You’ll want to record the sale and have the inventory list reflect the new amount of items. Every time you add items, update the inventory as well.
Also, send out older items before newer ones. If you just ordered ten more copies of a particular book but have two already in stock, sell the ones that were already in stock first.
This goes beyond simply keeping your inventory current. You should also keep track of what sells well and what doesn’t. When you start your business, you’ll experiment with selling a variety of items. Over time, you’ll notice that some things well, and some not much at all.
Use this to adjust your strategy. Let items that don’t sell well simply sell out and try other items, perhaps some that are similar to your better sellers, perhaps something totally different. See how they do. This will help you adjust what you have in stock and help grow your business.
WIth your sales inventory in storage well-organized, you’ll find your sales business much more pleasant to run. Plus, you’ll have better records for your taxes, more satisfied customers, and will be able to make more money. Best of luck in all your business endeavors.