A Start-Up’s Checklist for Finding the First Office Space
Posted on November 9, 2016 by Franco Alvarez
One challenging part of launching a start-up is finding an office space. If you have all the bright ideas and resources, but not the perfect spot for your business, your success might take a long while to unfold. The goal is to get an office space that is affordable, accessible, and comfortable to you, your suppliers, and your clients.
Since all these may sound like a daunting task, here’s a list of the most important things to consider, including questions to ask yourself, when looking for your first start-up office.
Where do I want to be located?
You’d want to be in an area where your market is or where your potential clients/customers are, so they can easily see you and come to you to do business.
You may also look at locales that are both accessible via public transport and have good infrastructure for private vehicles since you want to accommodate as many customer profiles as possible.
Is it a safe area?
Your office will have daily visitors including your staff, suppliers, and clients. Part of your responsibility is to ensure that they reach your office safely. When scouting for your office space, check the safety of the area, including the availability of security units who can respond to possible emergency situations.
(Image source: Inc.)
Is the cost within my budget?
The goal for any business, especially up-and-coming ones, is not to overspend. Money-wise, start-ups have to be as practical as possible with regard to rental fees. Choose functionality over fanciness.
How can I maximize my budget?
Do not splurge on non-essentials, but instead take a wiser approach in choosing equipment, furniture, and other materials that you need for your day-to-day operations.
A couple of pro tips:
a.) Wait for promotional sales to score great discounts before buying your office supplies or equipment.
b.) Search for serviced offices that offer business packages with integrated costs for space rental and other business solutions, allowing you to stretch your budget efficiently.
How old is the building?
Choosing an affordable space can be tricky if there are risks involved such as settling in a building that’s been unkempt for ages. Chances are, the building facilities such as electricity systems and elevators may not properly work all the time, posing inconvenience and danger to tenants and visitors.
But, old buildings that are well-maintained might not be so bad, not to mention they’re easy to locate as most people are already familiar with them.
Does it represent my company well?
Some clients look at the face value of a building when looking for companies to do business with. As long as the building passes basic standards for office productivity and safety, you’re in a good place.
How much space do I need?
Your office space has to accommodate a good number of employees, ranging from three to five. There should be enough space that will not restrict their movement or overall business operations.
If you’re facing space limitations due to budget constraints, explore your office layout options. For example, a vertical line arrangement of working stations instead of a horizontal one might save you ample space that you could use for something else.
What does an ideal space look or sound like?
Your space should have enough semblance of peace and quiet. Avoid office spaces with poor acoustics like outside noise and other disturbances. It won’t boost your employees’ productivity and can negatively affect client impression.
What are its main features or amenities?
Every customer experience should be a pleasant one, so see to it that your customers feel comfortable enough. A reception area albeit small can build up your brand of customer service early on in your business relationship with clients. Other building or office features that clients typically expect are parking spaces and Wi-Fi connectivity.
How will the amenities complement operations?
Conference or meeting rooms are a valuable asset to look for in an office space, especially if you’re conducting discussions with potential clients or customers. Aside from client facing, these rooms can also be used for brainstorming, as well as encourage collaboration among everyone in the team.
6. Overall Atmosphere
Is it trendy enough?
Ideally, your office should have provisions for aesthetic improvements. You could hang some paintings from your personal collection or crowdsourcing efforts.
Dress up your office furniture with simple yet elegant fabric. Play some music playlist from your computer, laptop, or smartphone. A little creativity goes a long way in giving your office a stylish appearance to make it look more inviting for your clients.
What mood does it convey?
Your office space should be as welcoming as possible to everyone who visits it, whether a potential customer or an existing one. The office should be bubbling with an activity that bespeaks of the company’s dedication in responding to their clients’ needs.
There’s nothing more frustrating for customers than to take their business in your office and find it too isolated, inconvenient, and disorganized.
Having laid down various factors to consider here, you’ll find that it’s all about careful planning, endless scouting, weighing options, and ultimately, making your first major decision for your start-up business. Hopefully, you’ll know which to choose when you see it, as getting your first office space speaks well of your good business sense, too.
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Franco has always had a passion for entrepreneurship. Even at a very young age, he would constantly find an opportunity to make a little cash on the side. May it be selling women’s bracelets made out of safety pins and cheap stones or writing research papers for his rich classmates who didn’t want to study, he took advantage of each chance he got. Now, as a father of three and a full-time entrepreneur, he believes that there is always an opportunity to be of service to your fellow businessman. All you need to have is the right intention, and the proper skill set to be of help to others. In his downtime, he and his wife find new things to distract their kids with.