As part of my series on growing your business., we’re taking a look today at the expert’s view on moving into office space. You can read about other people’s personal experience of moving out of the home office here, and today I’m delighted to welcome Sam Barnes from Easy Offices, who is going to run through things to think about when upgrading from your home office from an expert’s perspective.
Many people choose to start their businesses from home. It’s cheap, convenient and comfortable. For some businesses, that’s all that’s required and they never feel the need to break out of the home office. For the majority of businesses though, office space becomes an essential as revenues grow. We’ve helped all manner of businesses find office space, from single person start-ups to massive corporations. However, there’s no doubt that with the advice you’re about to read, the process of selecting and moving into your brand new office, will be made substantially easier.
Why does my business need office space?
Your office space is the centre of your business.
Without offices, you’re running the risk of not being taken seriously by other businesses or consumers. Imagine if the next time you wanted to go the bank you ended up at a home, not an office. Commercial premises are a necessity of business.
The practical side of getting your own office space is extremely important too. You’ll have your own phone systems, postal address and meeting space. All of these things will be vital as you grow your business, providing the infrastructure that will drive you forward.
When should my small business move into offices?
This is a slightly more difficult question to answer. There are lots of reasons that you might need to look into choosing office space:
• You’re outgrowing your existing office space.
• You’re taking on more staff.
• You need a meeting room for clients.
• There are too many distractions at home.
• You’re unsatisfied with your current office space.
• You need better facilities, i.e. better internet, private rooms, reception area etc.
There could be hundreds more reasons on this list, but the vast majority of office moves are instigated by a lack of physical space, specifically when taking on more staff.
If you find yourself thinking, on more than one occasion a day, that a bigger office would make your work more effective or allow your business to grow more easily, then I would say it’s time to take the plunge!
As your revenue grows, you’ll find that justifying the cost of an office becomes easier and easier. Having the cash to be able to fund an office move is an absolute necessity.
How do I go about choosing office space?
There are three main kinds of office space available to small businesses in the current market:
1. Co-Working Office Space
Co-working spaces can be a great fit for some businesses. They’re the cheapest of the three main options available. Essentially you’ll rent a couple of desks in a room or part of a larger office. This gives you the ability to separate your work and home lives while keeping costs low while your businesses is in the early stage of development.
You’ll never know who you might be sharing with and you can make some amazing new businesses contacts while sharing office space. We’ve heard lots of fantastic success stories about relationships formed in shared environments. Equally you’ll want to know before you choose a certain office, what kinds of businesses you’ll be working alongside. If you need a really quiet environment, make sure those around you feel the same.
You’ll also have access to shared mail, printing and catering facilities.
If you’ve only got a couple of staff and you work as one well-oiled machine, a co-working space would be ideal.
2. Serviced Office Space
Serviced office space is more expensive than co-working office space, but not quite as expensive as a full-blown office lease.
It’s the perfect choice for companies with a few staff who need room to grow. You’ll have a dedicated space for your business (no co-working here). You’ll have all the kitchen, printing and mail facilities that I mentioned before, plus some added features. These normally include security, some kind of reception area, cleaning services and usually the ability to rent extra infrastructure such as improved internet connections.
You’ll get to put your own stamp on things too! The simple branding of your office through posters, mugs and pens can turn the feeling in your office from start-up to established business.
A fantastic choice for businesses growing quickly who know they’re going to need space to meet clients and further expand their operations.
3. Office Lease
The only option for larger businesses, an office lease lets you rent an entire office. This is necessary when your business has outgrown your existing solutions or needs to centralise.
As this post relates to small businesses, I won’t go into too much detail here. What I will say is that you’ll need to be making substantial revenues before choosing a fully leased office. The costs involved are substantially higher than serviced or shared offices.
Some Top Tips for Choosing Office Space
Here are a few questions that you’ll need to ask yourself before making your choice to move offices:
• Price – Can you afford it?
• Space – Does the office you’re looking at give you enough room for meeting clients and working as a team?
• Infrastructure – Do you need a dedicated phone line and Internet? Does the office you’re interested in office this as a service or do you have to organise it yourself?
• Facilities – Can you and your staff park here if they drive? Are the kitchens clean?
They might sound like simple, fairly obvious questions, but if you fail to take one of these things into account you’ll be paying for it for months to come.
The best advice I can give you when attempting to choose an office space, is do your research.
Start out with a list of criteria that you need from your office. If any one of the office spaces you go to look at doesn’t meet even one of them, keep looking. There’s a space out there for everyone!
Sam Barnes is from Easy Offices.
The company works tirelessly to help businesses of all shapes and sizes find the perfect office space for their needs. He is interested in everything small business related with a particular interest in marketing. He works in the digital marketing sphere.
Outside work, he’s an avid football fan, with Arsenal being his lifelong obsession. He also has a passion for music and film. He’s currently rattling through the IMDB top 100 as a personal challenge.
You can also find Easy Offices on Twitter.
This post is part of my series on growing your business. Read more here and read about my own business journey in my books.