How do you go about researching, finding and choosing your first ever office when you're a small start-up with a limited budget?
Many famous companies have started in their founder’s bedrooms or garages – Google, Apple, Amazon, Disney, Mattel, HP (to name just a few) have all been there. However, it's only a matter of time before your spare bedroom, living room corner or garage can make you feel a bit claustrophobic. You start stumbling over your children’s or pets' toys, you get distracted by domestic chores and you can hear kids screaming in the background when you're on the phone to a client.
This is about the time you realise that you probably need to move to a proper office space! Here are some helpful hints around what to look out for when you're researching your options to make sure you find the space that will help grow your business.
1. Virtual office spaces and business incubators
Every penny counts when you're setting up a business – especially when you don't have a steady income yet. Therefore, at the beginning, it’s worth considering either a virtual office or business incubation centre. These spaces are usually shared with other start-ups and make a great temporary solution as you make the transition from your bedroom to your own office space.
The benefit of being part of a business incubation centre that’s subsidised by the government or EU is not only that your rental costs are low, but you can exchange ideas with other entrepreneurs who are equally as excited about starting up their own businesses.
According to UKBI – a professional association for start-ups – 98% of companies based in business incubators succeed while they're based there, with 87% surviving after five years. These are incredibly compelling statistics alone, but even more so when compared with the national average success rate of less than 30% for all small and medium-sized companies registered.
However, while these are a brilliant jumping up point, the time will come when you'll have to move on from these types of shared office spaces – either because you've signed a non-disclosure agreement with a big new client and can’t afford to have people looking over your shoulder, or they need to make room for the next wave of new start-ups.
When moving to your first office, it's ideal if you can keep close to home which will reduce your daily commuting time and allow you maximum time to wind down in the evening. Alternatively, it may be better for you to be based somewhere central which will make your company more appealing and accessible to collaborators, new staff members and potential clients.
If you haven’t come across Flexioffices’ search feature (which you'll find on our homepage) that’s a great place to start – you can search by town, postcode, street, station, airport and country. The Flexioffices team will also be more than happy to set up viewings and send you quotations.
3. Serviced offices vs. conventional offices
Serviced offices are the best option for most start-ups as they offer an instant physical office space which includes furniture, utility bills, broadband and receptionists. You don’t need to pick up a paint brush, drill holes or renovate a building before you can move in. An added benefit of serviced office space is that it’s easier to upgrade to a bigger space during your expansion phase.
Conventional office spaces are better suited to established companies that have the money and resources to add that personal touch to the interior of their office. For inspiration and information about the latest interior design trends, take a look at this blog post by the team at Paramount Interiors – you might decide to set up an "office jungle" with lots of green plants to counteract high stress levels in your team, or create a play corner with table tennis or basketball net for staff to let of steam in their lunch break. When the space is your own, the ideas are only limited to your own imagination!