Maybe your growing business ready to leave the nest–AKA your spare bedroom. Maybe you’ve outgrown your current property. Or maybe you’re somewhere in between. Whatever the case, in order to reach its maximum potential, your business needs the right physical location in which to thrive. With so many options out there, you’re bound to find the perfect office space with a little research–that is, if you ask the right questions.
Here are a few popular choices in the current market.
This recent trend in office space offers a flexible approach perfect for independent workers who want out of the coffee shop and into something more professional. Locations vary from purposefully planned business centers to extra rooms in existing offices. You can often pay month-to-month for the flexible space while enjoying a professional atmosphere and potential in-person network. For resources about coworking, check out The Coworking Wiki. Their comprehensive directory features websites (like Pivot Desk) to help you find the perfect coworking environment.
Are you drawn to the flexibility and cost benefits of coworking but need more from your office than a quiet desk? A shared space could be a great fit. By sharing space with other companies, you reduce costs but still have a physical location to call your own – a place to host clients, design your environment and hang a sign. Both companies split utilities, rent and other common expenses. Seek out a business roommate who works in a complimentary field, and you may end up benefiting from synergy and referrals. For example, an event planning business sharing space with a printing press can easily cross-pollinate with projects and clients.
Subleasing a Traditional Space
If you want your own property but aren’t ready for a five-year lease, a sublease might fit your needs. Just like a renter subletting an apartment, you take on a portion of someone else’s lease, typically for six months or a year. If your company predicts needing a change soon, you’ll sooner have an opportunity to make a move by keeping the rental term shorter. Subleases add another level of legal complication, so make sure all parties are in on the negotiations (including the property owner and manager), and don’t hesitate to involve a lawyer. If flexibility is at the top of your list of needs–subleasing might be just the right option for finding that perfect office space.
A traditional lease is perfect for the company that doesn’t expect to increase its workforce and can handle the pros and cons of a traditional lease term (usually five years or longer). Consider a long-term lease only if your business plan requires it. If you don’t have a business plan, devote some time to mapping out the short and long-term future of your company before making a hasty and potentially costly decision.
Essential Questions Before Signing the Papers
1. How do other tenants feel about this property/shared space? Ask around – are the fellow renters happy with the HVAC? The elevator? The property manager?
2. Can you and your employees get there and park easily? If your employees work late hours, are the parking lot and surrounding areas secure and well lit? Are necessary businesses like banks, restaurants, drugs stores and postal services nearby?
3. Can my clients get here and park easily? If your business runs on frequent in-person meetings with customers, does this property make it easy for them to find you? Does it strike a good first impression?
4. Is this space big enough for your foreseeable needs? Does it allow between 70 and 125 square feet per employee - not including shared spaces like kitchens, recreational areas and meeting rooms? Consider how your clients and employees interact with the space – do large open spaces or small private offices suit your needs?
5. Are there hidden costs you’re ignoring such as trash removal, use of dedicated parking, or landscaping? What fees will security, utilities, furnishings and interior design add to your bottom line?
6. Perhaps most importantly, will you be happy to come to this location every day? Will you be proud to show it off to your clients and employees?
Consider your options as well as the trajectory of your business. As long as you keep these questions in mind, and are realistic in your assessments–you should have no problem finding the perfect office space for your company.