When launching a new business, an entrepreneur is faced with a huge number of decisions to make regarding staff, branding, finance and generating income.
However, one of the most important decisions that is sometimes overlooked, is finding the right first space for an office.
In fact, choosing a first office space is a vital decision that needs to incorporate a number of fundamental factors and, whilst it might not be the first decision an entrepreneur will prioritise, 83 per cent of small business owners agreed that a suitable workspace is crucial to a successful business, according to a recent survey.
Cal Lee, Global Head of Workthere says that your first office needs to serve a multitude of purposes from motivating and encouraging productivity of staff, to reflecting the culture and personality of a business, to providing a practical and professional environment to meet clients and conduct business. It is a fine balancing act between meeting logistical needs and providing a creative environment for staff.
So what are the factors that you needs to consider when choosing your first office space?
Don’t only think about the areas that you like, but also what places are easily accessible and appealing to the kind of workforce that you want to attract. If you are conscious of money (which you will most likely be), looking beyond the usual locations can be of great help.
Take London’s boom area of Kings Cross for example. It’s emergence as one of London’s leading office destinations has pushed rents for co-working spaces to levels between £800 and £900 per person per month for a private office. Angel, just one stop along the Northern Line, offers a competitive alternative with co-working desks costing around £500 to £600 per person per month.
Having a clear budget in mind that fits with your business before you begin your office hunt is crucial to prevent from committing to space that is not sustainable form a financial point of view. One of the benefits of serviced offices or coworking space is that you do not need to sign up to a long lease term and you can pay on a price per desk basis, which gives you some flexibility if your space requirements of budgets change.
There are a number of different office spaces to choose from and the type of space you choose is often down to where your business is in its growth cycle. Early stage start-ups often choose co-working space, either hot-desking or their own fixed desk, as this is the most cost effective option. The next stage is for them to take a private office within a serviced office space, somewhere for them to grow the business and begin instilling their own culture. It is not until a business is more stable in its growth cycle they usually consider a more traditional leased office space.
The small print
Although it seems tedious to mention this, the terms and conditions of rental agreements need to be studied in great detail. It might be small print, but entrepreneurs should especially make sure they know:
1) what happens if they want to grow or downsize their workforce quickly
2) what the renewal terms of their agreement are
3) what pricing might change to in future
As mentioned above, beyond any practicalities, business partners and prospects will inevitably take office space as an indicator of the character of a business. The best thing here for entrepreneurs is to start with their brand: how is it positioned, what is it meant to reflect? Today, there are many different space styles available, so a clear idea about brand can help entrepreneurs find a space that supports their image.