As startups grow and thrive as a sustainable small business, they quickly find themselves out-growing their home office/basement/kitchen setup. So when it’s time to consider moving out, owners quickly get caught up searching for their first office. Whether it is leasing an office, finding a suitable coworking space, or even a virtual office, I thought it would be good to list some things I learned hosting one of Startup Canada’s bi-weekly #startupchats. We discussed the what to look for and some of the common pitfalls to avoid.
“Location, Location, Location”
Is there a coffee shop near by? Because seriously, you’ll probably need it.
Like any real estate agent will tell you, location does matter. Simply put, is it essential to be close to clients, transit, or home? What matters most to you and your business? If you are young, single, and little to no responsibilities, it could be ideal to be downtown close to resources and people. On the flip side, you may have a young family, kids, and a mortgage and having access to a car and a lot of free parking may make more sense in the suburbs.
When you are growing, you may also be thinking of hiring. Location plays a big reason when attracting hard to find talent. Many skilled developers, marketing professionals, or even executives will consider where the office is, how long it will take to get there, and what is around. The office location can be the deciding factor when a job offered to them.
Need to rethink the 5 year lease
Looking at offerings that allow you to grow as your business grows. Locking into a long-term lease, only to realize place and size is wrong, and it’s not affordable. Not only getting into a long-term lease, but in reality, you never know how fast you’ll grow. You can easily get a larger office and outgrow it in 6 months.
Be sure to get an office where you can network with like-minded people. Maybe it is close to a business park or a coworking space, some things to consider are:
- They are great opportunities for those w/a limited budget
- It is a shared space where companies work, share ideas, network and grow
- The ability to collaborate in real-time where email/IM may fail short.
- Being surrounded by other brilliant, courageous entrepreneurs.
- The option to choose privacy, ability to host large meetings, and aesthetics.
According to Alex Hillman, co-founder of Indy Hall, Coworking in Philadelphia, a successful coworking space needs the following:
- A healthy, sustainable community of workers and contributors
- A healthy, sustainable business, whatever model is chosen.
Without one, the other isn’t enough to make it a successful coworking space.
3 Simple Points to keep in Mind
- Be realistic. Get an office that you need, not want.
- Don’t get caught up with a place and “coolness” factor.
- Do not get stuck paying for a big empty space.