Know these five things about your business before choosing shared office space and find the best balance of flexibility and stability for you.
Moving your office always results in lost time.
Many entrepreneurs try to move offices more than once every five years. But this can be tricky.
Your business will likely to change a lot in five years. Finding an office space in Flagler Beach that has that perfect mix of flexibility and stability can be difficult.
Doing so requires having a solid understanding of these five things.
1. How much will your business grow (or contract) over the next five years?
Give some careful thought about how you want your business to change over the next five years.
Are you an architect with ambitions to scale up with 10 employees? Do you expect to find a partner and hire one or two assistants? Or, does success for you mean keeping things small and manageable, but maybe hiring a part-time bookkeeper to do your billing?
Change doesn’t always mean growth either. If you are thinking about retirement, going in-house or getting out of the business altogether, take that into consideration as well.
If you have any ambition to expand or contract your business from where it is now, you will need a space that is flexible enough to accommodate the change, but stable enough that you won’t have to move short-term.
For example, office space leased directly from a landlord offers the most stability but the least amount of flexibility. With a long-term office lease, you are guaranteed to not have to vacate the office for a while, but if there is no extra space available in the building when you need it, then you could end up with staff in two buildings.
The lack of flexibility in a long-term lease often results in entrepreneurs taking on (or ending up with) more space than they need.
Try to sublet that extra space to offset the cost and you could have a whole other headache on your hands. For this reason, most self-employed entrepreneurs opt for shared office space as opposed to direct leases.
2. Which working environment will make you most productive?
Your physical workspace can make a meaningful difference in your productivity. Some people thrive off the buzzing energy of a busy office. Others want to work in an office that feels like a law firm: professional and quiet, but not dead.
Give some thought about the different features in your current (or past) office that helped you be most productive. Was the culture collaborative? Sterile? Quiet? Were people friendly or did they stick to themselves? What was your office like? How much space did you have? How did it feel, was it roomy or cramped?
When selecting an office, we suggest that you consider the following items, which are listed in priority order:
- Building location. Look for something that is not only convenient to you but also your clients.
- Your physical workspace. You can sublease office space in the nicest building in Flagler County, but if your work-space is awful, then you will not be happy or productive.
- The conference rooms. Next to your office, you’ll probably spend the most time in conference rooms. Make sure they will meet your typical needs, and more importantly, will be available when you need them.
- The office suite, including reception. If you had to choose between a workspace that makes you happy or a reception area with designer chairs and modern art, go with the former. An office suite that is “nice enough” will not prevent you from retaining clients, but will also not make the client think that your rates are inflated to pay for the designer furnishings.
3. What’s your real budget?
Our experience is that most entrepreneurs can support considerably more in rent than what they think. And I’m not saying this because I’m a landlord and want you to spend more money!
But if you are choosing between an office that you really like but that stretches the budget or one that doesn’t get you excited but is within the budget, go with the bigger office (within reason, I’m not advocating irresponsibility).
Time and time again we’ve seen that professionals who take the nicer space play a “bigger game”. As compared to their colleagues who play it safe, the entrepreneurs who stretch not only find a way to pay for the extra expense, but they grow their businesses much more rapidly.
So, as you figure out your budget, come up with a range the high point of which may be a stretch for you. Then go shopping for space.
4. What services must your practice have?
Once you know your budget, think about all the services you need as part of your office (Internet, phone service, copy machines, reception services, HVAC, cleaning, kitchen pantry, etc.). It’s best to group these services into three categories:
- What you absolutely require.
- What would be nice to have.
- What you can definitely live without.
When looking at different office options, in order to compare “apples-to-apples” you need to really understand what is included as part of the deal. If the services your business absolutely requires are not included (or are inadequate), then you will have to pay for these things on your own. One or two of these items can significantly increase the cost of your office rental.
For example, take your typical shared office space. In many executive suites, Internet is included as part of your rental fees. Executive suites, being in the business of renting space, tend to have high-end internet service
Internet service is usually included as part of the deal in sublet office space as well. But it will only be as good as what the sublessor is willing to purchase. If you’re planning to run your business from the Cloud, a slow internet connection will not only reduce productivity, it may make you crazy.
5. Why do you want to work with other entrepreneurs?
We’ve discovered that most professionals work best when collaborating with others. The ability to brainstorm and get advice about issues or different strategies is essential to everyday life.
Your business may be big enough to have this collaborative environment on its own. Maybe you just don’t care to be around other entrepreneurs. For the rest of us, it makes the most sense to find shared office space.
Also, with so many different professionals occupying the same space, it is not uncommon for people so send business to one another.
For example, just the other day, a realtor in the office mentioned to one of the Ripple staff members that she needed a new website. Well one of our coworking clients happens to be a graphic designer and we were able to make the introduction, now there is a possibility for these two entrepreneurs to work together, helping everyone in the long run.
And there you have it, by knowing and taking there five different things into consideration, your business will be better prepared when choosing its next office space. Helping you to discover that perfect balance of flexibility and stability for you.