Choosing the Best Office Space for Your Startup
Finding the ideal office space for your business is important to its growth and success. The design and outlook of your office space give your stakeholders and clients the first impression of your business. Hence, the decision is critical when you intend to borrow funds from investors to grow your business. Your choice of office space also determines the rent and other associated expenses that your business may incur. So it is extremely important that all options are fully investigated and evaluated carefully before signing any lease or sublease contracts. Here are the top considerations you must make when choosing office space for your startup.
1. Equipment and furniture requirements
The ideal space for your business should accommodate all the office equipment and furniture that you need to run your business. Create a list of all the equipment that you need and then find the space that can comfortably accommodate this. The furniture requirements to consider should include your employees’ workstations. How many employees do you intend to hire before your lease term expires? Have this number in mind when comparing different spaces. Create enough space for their chairs, desks, and personal equipment.
2. Design and layout
The layout of an office space determines the number of workstations you can create in it. The layout also determines how you will arrange and place furniture in the office. The ideal arrangement should allow each employee to access all the equipment in the office easily. Consider the lighting and air conditioning requirements in the space based on the type of equipment and workstations that you will create. The employees should have enough room to move around and use the equipment in the office.
3. Storage systems
Consider the storage space in the office space and your business’ storage needs. For instance, if your business handles tons of paperwork every day or week, you need adequate storage space to keep the office organized. Some office spaces have inbuilt filing and storage systems. If the space is limited, consider the cost of renting additional storage space in a different location. Your list of furniture and equipment requirements should include storage cabinets and shelves.
4. Your employees’ health and work style
Your employees are the most valuable asset in your business. You may start with a few employees but as you expand, you must consider the different needs of your employees. Some employees prefer to work in an open space where they can freely interact with their workmates. Others are more productive when working in privacy or in an enclosed workstation.
The ideal space should accommodate both of these working styles, or at least have the flexibility in place to install temporary measures such as partition walls. In addition, the space should be well aerated and safe for your employees. Check for any occupation and health hazards in the space and the surroundings before you make the final decision.
Location is also key. Is your office easy to get to by road and public transport? Do you have ample parking? This will not only affect your ability to attract staff, but also the likelihood that clients will come to you,
5. Your clients’ needs
Your interactions with your clients depend on the nature of your business. If you are a client facing business and regularly hold business meetings you may require a large meeting room and extra furniture to accommodate this. If you meet clients on a 1-2-1 basis, accountants etc you may require a space that can be sound proofed for confidentiality reasons. All of these considerations must be factored in to the decision making process.
Your business premises have the ability to make or break deals. If a client turns up and sees a first class business space, with an inviting reception and professional ambience, of course this sets the impression that your business is going well. Making them feel more inclined to come on board.
If your space is disorganized, run down or poorly designed, this will reflect badly on even the most well established business.
6. Room for expansion
The space requirements will change as your business expands. An office space may suit your business current needs but fail to meet its future needs. Consider the growth projections for your business and the possibility of expanding your space in the same location. Expansion possibilities are limited when working from a shared office space. The most important consideration in such cases is the possibility of relocating your business without losing any clients. Check the lease contract for expansion and renovation rights before signing the dotted line.
7. Access to utilities
Some property owners install internet and phone systems in commercial spaces. Some spaces come with a reception area where you can meet your clients. Check for the available utilities in the premises before renting the space. Your business requires reliable communication lines and internet services. Consider the number of employees or work stations that the phone and internet systems can serve. In addition, check the speed of the internet connection if possible and the cost of installing new systems where necessary.
The best approach when searching for office space for your startup is to start early. Start comparing the available spaces in your ideal location as soon as you develop your business plan. Some founders are lucky to find the ideal space within a few days but most of them take several weeks to find the right space. Starting your search early gives you enough time to inspect each space and compare all the options before signing any lease contract.
This is a guest post by Malay S.
Malay is an entrepreneur, business blogger and content marketer for SMEs.. in love with startups, traveling and helping organizations implement initiatives that have a real impact on the business.