A small business owner practically needs an extra closet for all the hats he or she has to wear. Between promoting the business, managing inventory, and ensuring that all business assets are secure, small business owners have their hands full.
For many home-based businesses, there would be no business without inventory—whether it be the products you sell or the documents you need to keep the company running. The ability to find and access products when you need them, and to know that they’re safe at all times, can give much-needed peace of mind for the owner of a growing business. Here’s how you can properly store and secure your small business inventory.
The size of your home-based business determines the amount of storage you’ll need. Don’t forget that your inventory can also include the paperwork and files you need to run your business. This can mean anything from ledgers to property deeds. While you should always have digital backups of these files, you should also keep the physical copies in a safe place—a safety deposit box or a safe.
To manage and have easy access to the physical products in your inventory, follow a few guidelines:
- Apply FIFO principles. The first products you create or purchase should be the first ones you sell—otherwise known as “first in, first out.” When products begin to pile up in limited storage space, it can be difficult to access items in the back, so organize your space so that oldest products are easiest to access.
- Keep an eye on stock with low turnover. If you have a surplus of items that are slow to sell, consider holding a sale to clear them out of your inventory.
- Develop a tracking system. You should be able to refer to a database to see exactly how many items you have in stock at any given time. Having this information on-hand means you can properly plan sales, events, and promotions to clear out low turnover stock.
A home-based small business has two primary areas that need to be secured: the office where the business is run and the area the inventory is kept. Both can be secured using a standard home security system with additional equipment. Here are the main elements you need to keep your home business secure.
- Security cameras. Install motion-sensing security cameras around your garage or storage shed where you keep your business inventory. If your home office has a separate outdoor entrance, you may also want to install a camera there. These cameras will alert you when any activity is detected and act as a deterrent to any potential thieves. You can also view a real-time livestream of your business when you’re away through your home’s Wi-Fi connection for added peace of mind.
- Door and window sensors. If your garage or storage shed has windows, install sensors on them to ensure no one can gain entry undetected. The same applies to the doors, especially if they’re out of sight from your neighbors.
- Smart door locks. A smart door lock can be used for more than just residential security. These locks connect to your Wi-Fi system and can be locked and unlocked remotely. If you have employees, you can grant access to your inventory storage area even when you are away from home. These locks also keep a log of when the door is opened and closed, so you will always know if someone has been around your business inventory.
Home business security doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it’s easier than other business security, because it functions as an extension of your existing home security system. Just consider adding in a few more security cameras, door and window sensors, and a smart door lock or two to help protect the most valuable assets of your business. Take the proactive approach and use a strong home security and home automation system, which may be offered by your local internet service provider, so you can focus on growing your bottom line.
Article by Patrick Hearn.
Patrick Hearn is an Atlanta-based tech writer for Xfinity Home who also runs his own small business from his home. When not researching the latest gadget or home security solution, he can be found at the latest coffee shop trying the newest pour-over.