Whether you have a brand new startup or are looking to expand out of your home office, searching for you first office can be a daunting experience and there are many things to consider. Of course, it always pays to do the basics and shop around and view properties, but there are a few other factors well worth mulling over in your search for an ideal commercial property.
1. Look out for your competitors
It’s a good idea to look at businesses that are similar to yours and see where they are basing themselves. You could well find all manner of useful services that have chosen to locate in the same area to be around businesses like yours. Having access to these can be a real bonus!
Also, come home-time, bars full of like-minded people make for pleasant places to wind down at the end of the day.
2. Spread your net
If location isn’t all-important to you, then you may want to consider broadening your search radius; particularly if simply getting into an office (and enjoying all the productivity boosts it may provide) is your main motivation.
Once you start looking a little further outside of town and city centres, rents tend to drop. If you’re on a strict budget and you just need to escape the distractions of home, getting an office a little further out of town is a really viable option.
3. Consider the alternatives
Renting an office in the traditional manner on a long lease remains the most popular office space option. Long-term leases may be a little inflexible for a small businesss and you also may find a lot of the smallest leased space is somewhat shoebox-like. Why not consider shared or serviced offices? These can offer:
- Rolling month-to-month contracts, which make these a really flexible option.
- All inclusive packages, which mean there are no hidden costs lurking at the end of the month; you also don’t have to deal with any general office-admin tasks.
- If there’s spare space you have room to expand if things go well, which means you don’t have to move!
- In serviced offices you get a really high service level, which could include features such as receptionists and executive meeting space.
Shared and serviced offices are a particularly good option for small businesses that don’t have specific security requirements. On the flip side, with these you will be sending data through a shared network and you won’t be locking the premises (and thus all the tech you leave) at night. If this sounds like it could be a problem, shared and serviced offices may not be for you.
4. Think Big
A further option is to look to where you want your businesses to be in a few years’ time (particularly with regards to staff numbers) and rent your own space with this in mind. You could then rent out spare space to other small businesses.
Of course, this is something of a gamble, but it may be worth it if you are confident in your venture’s ability to flourish and want to work somewhere you can mould to suit your exact requirements.
Peter Ames writes on behalf of Office Genie, a UK-based site where you can find shared, serviced and leased offices.