Choosing the perfect office space for your startup is a difficult decision even for the most successful companies. But when you’re just starting out, it’s even more difficult to find a locale that’s within your budget, suits your employees, impresses your customers, and fulfills the needs of your fledgling business.
With psychology and appearance to consider, and a wide range of new options created specifically for startups, how can you even begin looking?
Keep these top tips in mind, and you’ll be headed in the right direction for your new business.
1. Know the Working Style of Your Employees
The most important part of deciding on an office space is the most obvious; but it’s also the most difficult. An office space needs to be more than just a place to work – it needs to be a place that encourages work. Some employees may work better in tight cubicles that allow them privacy and safety from distractions to get down to business; others may benefit from an open-air design that allows them to see and interact with their coworkers, boosting creativity and collaboration. If you pick the wrong option for your employees, you may find them disheartened.
Evaluate the working style of your professionals before you look for a certain type of office. Weigh the pros and cons. What are you gaining by choosing a certain floorplan or location, and can you give each employee what they need to do their best?
2. Know the Style of Your Business
On top of encouraging the right kinds of workers to do the right kinds of work, deciding on an office that suits your business’s style is crucial for your image, your budget, and your profits. You’ll notice that the look of an office for banking or accounting is far different from one for journalism or graphic design.
The location of the office, the style, and the layout are often customized to fit each unique industry. Graphic design is more creative, and calls for brighter colors, more free-flowing style, and a location that makes it easy to interact with clients. An office for accounting requires dimmer colors, greater structure, and doesn’t need to be as accessible because they’re not inviting as many clients in. Look at your industry and see what kind of office is suited to your style of business.
3. Decide What Your Necessities Are
The bigger your budget, the more options you’ll have to choose from, but as a startup, funds are not always in your favor. When you go shopping for the perfect office space, you need to make compromises and understand that there are some advantages only time and growth will afford. To find a location that fits your budget but doesn’t leave you in disarray, decide what you absolutely must have in an office and what can wait for later.
Perhaps you have to be in a certain area of the city, but enough space to hold all your workforce is something you can budge on by letting some of your employees work from home. Perhaps you need that extra space, but can tolerate being in a less advantageous area since all your work is done online and welcoming in clients isn’t necessary.
4. What Do Your Clients Need?
Speaking of clients; an office isn’t just about holding your employees and their equipment. An office is a representative of your company, and when clients see where you’re centering your business, it may be the determining factor in their choosing you over a second option. Be sure to evaluate your clientele and understand what they expect from a startup in your industry.
It may be important that your office is centered in a ritzy part of town to show competence, even if it’s only shown on your address and few of your employees work there. If several clients visit you daily, it’s important that your office is easy to access and that it’s designed in a way that feels open and inviting, instead of a place that’s uncomfortable to visit.
5. Start With a Co-working Space
Leasing an office is a pricy venture with a lot of commitment. Most office spaces require startups to sign a lease for as many as seven years. For those early days of a new business, knowing whether you’ll need that office, the space or lack of space it affords, in that location, with that number of employees is virtually impossible. That’s why coworking spaces are an excellent option for those just starting out.
Even large, established companies are moving to coworking spaces because they’re more cost effective and boost collaboration. Since you’re sharing the expenses with several other companies and several other employees, you can enjoy commodities such as conference rooms and rec centers almost for free, and even skip out on buying office equipment such as printers and desks.
The rent itself and utilities will be substantially less, and even better – since you’re sharing this space with many other businesses, this gives you the opportunity to create partnerships with complementary industries. You can gain insights from other fields, and should your graphic design startup need help in accounting, you may be seated next to an accounting firm. Their low cost and range of locations give you the chance to try out several spaces in several areas, so you can vet the options without committing until your budget and your time allow.
6. Take Advantage of Business Incubators
Business incubators understand the problems that finding a startup office entail, and are designed to give startups that first steady step they need. They stay in the theme of coworking spaces, but are more customized to suit businesses that may enjoy one part of a coworking space but not another.Housing several startups in a single building means you can work directly next to another company, or only rent conference rooms when needed. Business incubators are often visited by investors so you may also benefit from a boost in your capital whilst enjoying a low-rent, communal working space.