“Two things I miss the most from my corporate job, IT department and stationery cupboard” said Alison Jones, publishing guru and business coach, in her speech at ‘Turn Your Passion into Pounds’ panel discussion organised by Business & IP Centre in London.
Why do people miss the most IT department and the stationery cupboard when they leave the corporate world and strike out on their own? Lots of reasons, but mainly because the supply of both is free and limitless!
So what does an entrepreneur do? For technical support, they turn to friends, relatives, even neighbours, and if they must, the equipment manufacturer’s helpdesk. But for stationery, they can’t rely on charity. Where does a start-up business find high-quality, inspirational and stationery on-demand?
We know that office supplies including stationery is only of the top three expense items for small businesses who don’t have the scale of larger organisations. And small businesses cannot usually afford to lock up thousands in working capital to have their own stationery cupboard.
You have in theory three options to reduce the burden on cash:
1) Reduce the quality
This will give you slim pads and notebooks made of thin paper with fragile binding and limited print options, low-cost disposable ballpoint pens with very limited shelf life, and staples that cannot be used for more than a few sheets of paper.
2) Just-in-time delivery
Is the time when drones deliver stationery to your door that far? You would avoid the working capital drain with just-in time delivery and only buy stationery when you need it. You may pay more for each item, but the leakage of cash and cupboard content will be lower and the quality could be improved. The number of small businesses in Britain is 5.4 million, over 99% of all businesses, which is an all-time high; will Uber or Amazon start delivering stationery on demand to fill the void?
3) Scaled buying
Buying from an intermediary with bulk discounts and a micro-delivery service could give you the best of both worlds – no working capital lock-up, and inspiring, high-quality stationery that reflect your business’ commitment to quality, supplied as soon as you need it. Would this get you the stationery you’d love and be proud to use in your home office and have the power to purchase that “cool” range?
We’ll look at this and your stationery cupboard in more detail in coming posts. But in the meantime, as a small-business owner, tell us what would work for you!
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Our latest finding: Wooden Desktop Organiser for a simple and affordable option to store your most used stationery. Click image below to check out the price.