Starting and running a business from your bedroom, parents study or garage has never been something to be scorned; a plethora of hugely successful industry giants such as Apple, Harley Davidson and Mattel all began as big dreams in small spaces. Once upon a time, admitting to running your business this way may have potentially had a negative impact on your brand and inhibited the relationship you had with clients, creating unease when they couldn’t visit a physical office. In 2015, the consensus is entirely different and starting and running a thriving business in somewhat humble beginnings is not only accepted – it’s expected.
There are a number of reasons that businesses choose to move their operations to a physical space; business growth may require more staff, moving from online only to Omni channel retail with a physical store may increase sales or some simply decide to compartmentalise to obtain a clearer work/life boundary.
Does the space allow for future growth? Moving office is a costly exercise and failing to consider business growth at least for the term of the proposed lease, if not the next 5 years may leave you incredibly stressed and out of pocket.
Look for spaces that are flexible and efficient. The shape of a room can play a huge part in its longevity, for instance larger square or rectangular spaces are far more accommodating for companies that are looking at fast growth.
It’s also worth investigating whether you can expand into other areas of the building when the space reaches capacity – this is far less disruptive than a complete office move. If there isn’t room for growth readily available then negotiating a shorter lease term or a break clause will offer you more flexibility.
Consider both employees and clients when choosing between locations for new premises; it’s unrealistic not to consider travelling time and distance for your staff and the level of impact it could have on their lives outside work – especially if you have great staff that you are keen to keep on board! Being close to local amenities such as grocery shops, places to eat or gyms always goes down well with staff too.
If you plan to hold clients meetings in the office then consider their travel options and accessibility also. If you wish to make yourself visible to potential clients then positioning yourself in the right area or near to other relevant business could promote growth.
Remove Amenity Headaches
Obviously the cost of renting a new premises is going to be a key influencing factor but there are a number of other costs that you should also take into account. Parking can be a real sticking point for employees and even clients if they are going to visit; does the office space come with allocated parking spaces and does the amount allow for growth? Can you purchase more as your team grows? Don’t settle for vague answers when it comes to parking because if you are left without adequate space it WILL become a headache later on.
If you plan to hold client/staff meetings, does the space have a boardroom and if not, are you able to adapt the space to make one by making internal changes?
If the office space is split between other businesses, make sure that you are very clear on who is responsible for any repairs within the building and what is included in service costs i.e. reception staff, utilities, cleaning of communal areas and any white goods so that employees can prepare or heat food at work.
Before you sign any lease, make sure that you investigate the quality of the telecoms available in the area. It’s a shocking fact that many areas still haven’t even upgraded to Fibre to the Cabinet connections, and this can seriously hinder the rate at which you are able to work. With the rise of Gigabit Cities across the country some serviced and shared office spaces such as upgraded to gigabit connections, meaning their tenants can take advantage of cutting edge and cost saving technology.
Have You Considered All Options?
As we immerse ourselves deeper within the sharing economy, there are a number of different options when it comes to sharing office space.
If you aren’t looking for enormous space but have outgrown a home office, then renting spare desk space from established companies can be beneficial in more ways than one. Not only low cost, it is also a viable opportunity to build relationships and create brand ambassadors. The same applies to accelerator and incubator spaces, but these operate in a more focused way by concentrating on ways a business can grow and innovate respectively whilst offering mentoring, sponsorship and investment opportunities. However, the point remains the same; whilst being able to call an office space your own is huge progress, choosing to ignore the wealth of opportunities that sharing or using a program can offer is bad business sense.
Although it is often said that ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, listening to advice from businesses that have already been through the initial stages of growth and have had to make these decisions, along with the needs and wishes of your current time will give you enough insight to find an almost perfect space for your business and inject a new boost of enthusiasm and motivation that will undoubtedly propel you to further stages of growth.