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5 Things to Consider Before You Get an Office

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

As your home-based business starts to grow, it could take on a life of its own. Soon you may find that your once-manageable operation has ballooned beyond your ability to effectively contain it to your personal property. In short, you may need an office space to house workers, host clients, manufacture products, sell wares, or otherwise run your business. But before you rush to find a building and sign a lease, there are a few things you'll need to consider in order to ensure that you actually need an office space and that you find the one that's right for you.

  1. Hire an agent. A good place to start is by talking to a real estate agent. This professional can not only help you to find a suitable office space; he can also give you the information and advice you need to determine if you actually need it (i.e. the numbers you need to calculate cost-effectiveness and so on). Set up consultations with a number of agents so that you can find one you trust to lead you in the right direction.

  2. Location. They say location is everything when it comes to choosing a business space, and they are correct. Of course, the "right" location depends largely on the type of business you do and the demographic (of customers or clients) you want to attract. Suppose you operate a retail clothing website and you want to expand your operation to a real-world store. You may want to specify a location with a lot of foot traffic, easy street access, and abundant parking. Or if you're offering technology services, you might prefer to open shop in a tech-heavy area. A warehouse type business would head to a more industrial area. You get the idea.

  3. Size. The size of your office space will be determined by the scope of your business as well as your projected growth over the life of the lease. If you have a small outfit you should select an affordable space that will house your current employees plus a few extras that you may have to hire. Of course, you could always move locations if your business explodes, but if you think this scenario is probable you may want to sign a short lease or simply look for a larger space to accommodate you at the outset.

  4. Cost. This is a major consideration since it can make or break your business. You have to consider not only the monthly cost of a lease (and penalties for early termination), but also utilities, staffing, and even startup costs like office furniture and equipment. A lot goes into moving your company out of your home, so try to be realistic about what the upfront and ongoing costs are and whether or not you can afford them.

  5. Proximity of workers. If you've been operating online out of your house already, then you likely have workers that telecommute (depending on your type of business). While having a professional front for your business that wouldn't require you to give out your home address is nice, you don't necessarily have to lease a warehouse. If most of your employees work remotely, keep it that way. Rent a small office space for less, compare broadband services to ensure that you can do everything you need to online, and let the majority of your workers continue to offer their services from home. You'll save money, get the "storefront" you want, and keep things copacetic with your employees.

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