As your business grows, you may start reaching a point where working in your current location may not be ideal. You may need access to more professional office space, this may be more pressing if you’re working from home. Get tired of missing delivered packages because you weren’t available to sign for them? If you work from home you might have trouble filling out forms or promoting your business online because too many things require your business mailing address and won’t accept a P.O. box. Do you need affordable office space but aren’t sure what will work best for you and your budget?
So you start looking at your options – but you very quickly realize that choosing office space is more complicated (and more expensive) than you thought it would be. So what are your options and how do you pick the right one for you? Let’s take a look!
Assessing Your Client’s Experience
As you’re comparing your workspace office options. It’s important to think about how your clients will experience your business and what their impressions will be. Consider the following when you’re making your decisions:
- Think about how your customers/clients will experience your business from the first interaction to the last. Will it be a favorable one?
- If your clients only meet with you occasionally, would a virtual office with access to meeting space be a better fit than a physical office?
- If they go to your website and don’t find a brick a mortar location listed there, how credible will they perceive your company?
- Will they feel safe and enjoy coming to see you in this new space?
- If you’re comparing options, does one give a better perception than the other one does?
- Will it fit with your typical workday? Day? Night? Weekends? Holidays?
- If you have a lot of clients that come and go throughout the day, is the space conducive to that?
- How often do you hold meetings, and how many people typically attend? Will this space fit your needs?
- Do you have the equipment to furnish the meeting space? (Audio/Visual Equipment, Copier/Fax/Scanner)
- Do you need a space that allows for confidential issues to be discussed privately?
- Will clients have convenient access to parking, sidewalks, handicap accessible services, elevators, stairs?
- Will it be easy for clients to follow directions when it comes to finding your office?
Affordable Office Space and Agreeable Terms
The almighty dollar and agreement terms will ultimately play a significant role in your final choice for office space. So make sure you know what you’re getting:
- What is the cost of just the office space?
- What kinds of amenities are included and which ones cost an extra fee? Amenities could include things like a lobby, meeting spaces, break rooms, furnishings, access to support staff, cable television, equipment costs, taxes, maintenance, insurance, and utilities.
- Is there a common area maintenance fee?
- Do you pay a deposit? How much of one? And is it refundable if you move out later?
- Are there utility deposits?
- What is the term length that you agree to… hourly, month-to-month, bi-annual, annual, multi-annual?
- Do you save money by agreeing to a longer term?
- Are there any flexible costs/terms that could help leverage the business in an uptick or downturn in business?
Looking to the Future
You are already growing and expanding, so don’t stop there. Think about if there’s a downturn in the market. What are your options then? Imagine where you’re going to be in a year, 3 years, 5 years. What will your company look like then and where will you be?
- Will this space grow or shrink with you?
- Are there any additional support services that you can leverage?
- Are there any shared utilities, meetings rooms, office equipment, general clerical support, phone service, Internet, parking, or other options that you can take advantage of?
More Than Just Walls
Your office space can impact your business a lot more than you think. A good office in a good location can actually help you grow your business even more.
- Will this location add credibility and trust to your brand?
- What other businesses are located nearby that could be customers or referral sources?
- Will those other nearby businesses have a positive impact on your business? How?
- Can you have a company sign posted where clients can see it?
- Is there already a group or multi-company marketing plan in place?
- Is there any competition near this location and what could that mean for you?
- Are there any other types of buildings or public areas surrounding this space that could attract potential clients or improve the work day?
- What is the community reputation and how does that affect you?
Additional Support Services
Sometimes you just need a little more than walls and a roof. Some office spaces provide additional services to help give you a leg up without a headache.
- What types of technology or services will be needed in client presentations? Does this location help facilitate those?
- Is there any kind of support staff or access to support staff? This could be as simple as someone to sign for your packages?
- Is the property owner responsible for maintenance? What are the terms of that?
- Are there networking events held at the location?
- Are there training classes held that will support your professional growth?
- Do you have access to a private fine dining club or golf club?
More than a “Box with a Door”
A good business location means more to your business than just having a place you work in. It gives you the right tools to grow your business or maintain it in difficult economic times. It makes a good impression on your clients. It helps you be more productive and keeps you sane. Whether you need a virtual office to supplement your home office, occasional meeting space, or a full-service office solution, there are affordable office space options that meet your goals if you know how you want to work, what you need and where to look.
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