Philip Dodson of Office Planet is warning new businesses not to get trapped into leasing costly office space that your business simply cannot afford.
Starting a new business is an equally exciting and stressful time. In these early stages there are many business decisions you will have to make, but one decision that is critical in getting right is finding the best premise for your business. It is all too easy to get caught up with the excitement of starting up your new business to sign a lease for your first office without stopping to think about the long-term consequences.
Different office spaces suit different businesses. Working from home can be a good option, particularly if all you need is small office space, but running a mechanics from your front room is something that is just not feasible. Alternatively you might choose to rent business premises, or even buy office space for your business outright.
Cost is probably going to be the biggest priority influencing your decision at this early stage, but it’s important to take the time to get your decision right. The first thing to consider is what type of office space you require.
Working from home
If you have the choice, working from home may be a much better option than renting or buying business premises. It will allow you to keep your initial start up costs to a minimum, run a cheaper operation and provide a better working environment, but there are some other issues you may need to consider.
Typically people working from home tend to work longer hours as they find it difficult to say good night at the end of the working day. Using your private number for business calls means that you could be receiving calls in the evenings and the weekend and maintaining a professional business image whilst conducting a meeting with a customer in your front room is certainly a challenging task!
In addition most people need to cross a motivational divide in the morning and more importantly they need to interact with other work colleagues.
Virtual Office Solution
A virtual office solution will provide you with a total office experience without having to physically lease office space.
A virtual office package will typically provide your business with the use of a business address, personalised telephone answering, post handling and forwarding and in some circumstances the use of private offices and boardrooms on an ad hoc basis.
Using the services of a virtual office solution on a ‘pay as you use’ basis, such as using a personalised answering service or a virtual receptionist might be a cheaper and less risky option to consider before investing in more permanent premise arrangements.
Serviced offices are extremely attractive to new start-ups as a first office or companies that want flexibility in a professional environment. Whether you need to move in for a day, a month or a year, serviced offices can be leased on a short-term basis and as there is no capital expenditure required, it’s a low risk arrangement for your business.
Not only do serviced offices provide fully equipped furnished offices, ‘hot desks’ and meeting rooms, but they also provide a wide range of secretarial and support services in sought-after locations in city centres and key business districts across the country.
Costs are transparent and inclusive of all building, heating and lighting, reception, security, maintenance, redecoration, refurbishment and cleaning charges allowing you to budget accordingly.
In addition, by using a serviced office, your new business will also benefit from access to more prestigious addresses and better communications technology than you could possibly afford alone. The growth of your business can be easily accommodated – by taking over extra office suites as you take on more staff and thus effectively managing change within your business as and when it occurs.
Conventional Office Space
The final type of business premises you might want to consider is a conventional office solution. If your office needs to accommodate 20 or more employees or you’re fairly certain of your business’s likely growth over the next few years, then renting a leased office might be the best solution.
Whilst it is likely to be a major financial commitment for any small business, and a decision we recommend not to be made without professional advice, conventional office space will give you a more competitive cost per desk rate for larger requirements and the opportunity to customise your office space to match your business’s corporate image.
Finding the right building and arranging conventional leased office space can be a prolonged task. To help find the right building, it's often prudent to appoint an agent to assist in your search and negotiate the main terms of your lease. Unlike a serviced office, where all the set-up and ongoing costs are rolled into one monthly charge, other running costs must be considered such as business rates, service charges, and buildings insurance.
Where to start
Having decided on what type of office solution will meet your needs it is now time to start your search. There are many ways to find potential office space for your business, one place you might like to start is office-planet.net. Office Planet provides a free office finding service by uniquely showcasing real time availability of both conventional and serviced office space. You can search through a database of available properties and create a shortlist of solutions that meet your needs or simply call an advisor at Office Planet who will be able to offer you advice.
So, before you sign on the dotted line for your new business premise this year, make sure you have taken the time to check all your options and you don't commit yourself to something you cannot afford if things go wrong, or if your new business does not take off as planned.