Don’t you miss your stationery cupboard?

“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

Beyaz Defter

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

Drone stationery 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!

Please click on the blog post title to comment.


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.

2 thoughts on “Don’t you miss your stationery cupboard?

  1. I do miss the stationery cupboard! Ashamed to say I did used to help myself liberally to what was in it… Can’t do that if you’re running your own business so what would you suggest?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anthony, thanks for your comment. A stationery cupboard is indeed very convenient and we all feel that liberty. It gets fulfilled magically and its cost is only a tiny percentage compared to what it is for one’s own small business. Creating a similar space if you don’t already have one would be my first suggestion. You can see our top tips in our earlier post “How much to spend on stationery as a small business?”. You can access some level of convenience with online stores offering next day delivery for over an order amount if you have space and willing to pay in advance for the products you’ll use at some point in the future. You may also consider sharing your purchase or your cupboard with your neighbour business or other venture owner.


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