Is it the right time to get a dedicated office?
Starting a new business can be a daunting and a bit of a challenge for most, and it's certainly a time to watch the pennies. There are many businesses throughout the UK based at a director's home address rather than a dedicated office, and this can be more than fine. Not only does it help reduce the outgoing costs (shared phone lines, shared broadband, shared space and more), but it can also help the director spend more time in the business too.
But is it time you moved out?
A Better Impression
Working from home can give the business many benefits, including those outlined above. But how do you deal with client meetings? You may be lucky enough to have a home office, or even comfortable with people coming into your home to discuss business with you. However, for those businesses that require a bit of an edge, they could benefit from renting a local meeting room or office block at a central location. While this gives you a professional look, it also helps save you money as you only pay for the space when you need it.
One of the key benefits from working from a dedicated office space rather than from home is the professional look it gives your business. Inviting potential clients to your office can make the business seem more professional, making the client feel as though they can trust you more than they would someone working from home. Some clients may even prefer to see this kind of setup as it gives the impression that you're here to stay and not disappear.
Another reason for having a dedicated office is the professional looking address. As a limited company you need to show a registered address on the public record (although your service address can be different and is private). You may not want to show your home address, which is understandable.
Of course, you could also look at a virtual office address, which you can use on the public record. Although there's a fee for this, you may find it well worth it for your business as it can portray a professional look.
If you're feeling stressed out at home from harsh deadlines or being bombarded with emails, it's easy to switch off. You could pour a nice cup of tea, flick the TV on and relax for a short period to help you get your head back in the game. But it's a bit too easy, isn't it?
When you're in work at an office, even alone, you can feel more motivated and less distracted which in turn can increase your productivity. While not guaranteed, it's a common reason for many businesses to move to a dedicated premises.
Interaction and Networking
One major advantage of working from a dedicated premises is the opportunity to interact with other businesses and use it as a networking opportunity. With many small businesses and start-ups preferring the shared office set up (either from hot desking, or renting an office in a larger builder), it presents a great starting point to build your network.
Chances are, you'll find businesses from all sorts of industries, which, depending on your own products and services, could give you a good boost, or just help you learn invaluable information to help grow your business.
Of course, while working from home, you will miss out on these situations. But that doesn't mean you can't network. Tools like LinkedIn, and organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) offer the chance to connect and grow your network through other means, which can often open more doors.
If you're looking to hire your first non-family employee, then it can be a bit tricky working from home. Even if the member of staff is mobile based, they may still need to call into the office' on an occasion. But depending on your business, you may find that your perfect employee is waiting to work with you from the comfort of their own home too. You may find this is the ideal scenario for you.
But as we mention above, working with others can not only be good to grow your network and learn new skills, but to bounce ideas around and improve your social life too. Working from a dedicated business premises (such as an office) can aid your working life rather than hinder it. You may think that working with more people in one space can cause more of a distraction, but it can often help you be more productive.
There may come a time where you need to move to a dedicated premises because of your business' growth. Whether this is because of the number of employees, amount of storage required (such as files, folders, equipment), you may just need to move out to a bigger premises. While most of us would enjoy a bigger home, this isn't likely to be the time to move your life, but rather just your business.
There are many office environments out there that offer various sized offices, even on the same site. The benefit of this is the ability to scale up or down with ease.
So, where now?
It's a good question, but only you can decide. You should consider your business where it is now, and whether or not you need an office (or an office address), or if you could work from home. Working from home would certainly be cheaper, but consider your options if you aim to grow.