11 EXPERT TIPS FOR FINDING THE PERFECT OFFICE SPACE
It can be a challenge when looking to find that perfect office space to operate your new business out of. You want to have all the amenities you need to function, but you don’t want to be saddled with a sky-high lease payment. Keeping your rent terms and costs in check can make the difference in whether or not your business stays afloat or struggles financially. However, finding everything you need in an office space without skimping is a fine line to tread. Here are 11 expert tips and recommendations in finding the perfect office space:
1. Stop Looking For 'Perfect'
The "perfect" office space doesn't exist! Make a list of what's important to you and rate office space you are looking at against that. Be practical and don't waste a lot of time trying to find perfect. Especially at the small business stage, I've seen companies waste a lot of money on "fancy" offices that hurt their profitability—and then moved out of them 12 months later as they grew.
2. Go Where Your Customers Are
Most people skip this criteria because they're not in retail. However, if I'm in real estate, I want my office to be next to all of the brokers, mortgage brokers, lenders and property managers in my city. Identify who your "customer" is and where most of them are located.
3. Start Small
Keep costs at a minimum even if it means sharing a desk with someone or working from a hallway. The last thing you want to do is spend money on a fancy office and furniture. You want to wait until you start generating revenue before you do that. So consider a shared workspace where you’re not tied to a commercial lease. You can expand as needed and retract if the sales aren’t there.
4. Consider Communal Spaces
Take a look at co-working spaces. You may find business partners and other small business owners with whom you can share information. The one I've used has all sorts of offices, so think about whether you work best in a quiet space or an open-plan room, and make sure they have that option for you and your team.
5. Optimize Around Commute And Compensation
I would use your team's commuting methods, estimated travel times and salaries to algorithmically identify a location that minimizes the commute times of your core team members. Less time traveling means more time at work and with their families, improving both productivity and work-life balance.
6. Identify Your Top Priorities
Often, you can't have it all, so it's critical to determine what's most important to you and your company. I find that commute-distance from the talent pool, having restaurants and other conveniences nearby, and amenities such as bike storage and plenty of cheap or free parking help as well. It goes without saying that things like internet, building security, etc. are a must.
7. Maximize All Hours Of The Day
Be open to finding space that can be used not only for business, but also be utilized after hours—have the space to host network events and educational opportunities to connect with the community and provide business development. Consider looking for open space where desks or tables can be moved to adapt for different needs.
8. Look At The Big Picture, Not Just The Rent
For example: Flexibility in the lease such as an expansion option is key if you plan to grow, so you are not stuck with a space you've outgrown or forced to sublease before you can relocate. Another important factor is maintenance and repairs, as those costs can often outweigh monthly rent if an issue arises, the tenant is responsible for the cost and the landlord has deferred maintenance in the past.
9. Consider Included Parking
Make sure you consider and ask the lessor how many parking spaces per thousand square feet are included. Then think about your staff parking needs and those of your customers. Is what is offered by the lessor enough? How much is additional parking, and where is it? This will help you determine your real rent.
10. Look At The Layout
When choosing an office space for your small business, you should consider how the space is laid out. We recently changed office space and even though the new space is smaller, the layout is more efficient for the team. Natural light is also a bonus—no one wants to feel like they are working in a cave all day!
11. Focus On Flexibility
Look for a space with flexibility—flexible lease terms and flexible growth options. When you are small and just starting out, the future is unknown. You hope to grow quickly but if that doesn’t pan out, you don’t want to be locked into a costly, long-term lease. That is why co-working has become so popular: It allows for flexible lease terms and provides space to grow and contract without penalty.
Full article from Forbes.