[This article was written by Danielle Bourne.]
The initial stages of startup life are amazingly exciting. Designing the brand, hiring the first employee and even taking your very first payment can all feel like big steps. But, one that can either make or break your startup is the very first office that you choose for your new business.
An office can affect the day to day running of your business, staff happiness and even the way your brand appears to customers. Meaning some careful thought has to go into choosing your office space. Some important factors to consider are:
Location, Location, Location
Whether you are searching for a home, restaurant space or even just a nice garden plot, location is always such a key factor. The same can be said for office space despite what you may think to the contrary.
The necessity for location ticks two boxes: can my employees and client’s find the office? If this is true, then you are on track to finding a well-located office.
Having good amenities close by is also important when it comes to the perfect office. Shops, restaurants, bars and even a gym can enrich the area to make it an attractive place for an employee to work. Likewise, being able to take a client out for a convenient lunch is a fantastic element for any office location.
Is there parking? Access to public transport? Is the location convenient for your customers and employees alike to find you? Or entrances for those that may be differently abled? All of these things are vital when considering your office space. After all, if people can’t access it easily then it will be much less attractive to work for you or with you.
Chances are, as a startup, size will not be the most important thing on your mind. A small space big enough to fit a handful of employees and their computers will suffice in most cases. You might be expecting a large expansion in the future, in which case it might become more of an issue down the line.
A factor will be important in the here and now is your meeting spaces. Having enough room for desks and computers is great, but you also need somewhere to show your client’s to and have a private word every now and again. So, an office with a meeting room is vital.
Likewise, a kitchen or staff relaxation area is also important in order to allow downtime throughout the day. Facilities such as these don’t necessarily have to be very large, but they add to the overall quality of life in an office.
As a startup, having bags of cash under every table is unlikely. Nice, but unlikely. Which means that a big factor in choosing office space is the price tag. Perfect office but just costs a little out of your budget? Then it has to be automatically disregarded. To a startup, the budget is everything, so don’t go over for a set of pretty blinds.
If you can’t afford an office now, what’s to say you will be able to afford it in the future? Industry downturn, financial issues and other factors may worsen an already tight budget if you choose a space outside of your budget. Which is why it is always advisable that you don’t do this.
When first starting out, especially as a relatively new startup, you want to be able to put your stamp on the world. This means getting your brand out there for all to see. And what better place to start than your own office? As such, the style of your office is vital. Of course, there are many more important things to consider before what is simply aesthetically pleasing to you, but it is important in its own right.
Are big glass windows totally against what you want your brand to stand for? Then don’t choose the office with that feature. Likewise, if a big open and bright space is the accessible foot you want to put forward then go for it.
Once you have ascertained a list of properties at the right price, size and location then you can start eliminating them based on style (never before). At which point, choose the office that calls to your brand and looks the way you imagine your startup to be.
At the end of the day, having the wrong first office for your startup isn’t the end of the world. You can always move in the future to upgrade or find something more suitable, but it can put a damper on proceedings. Getting it right from day one is always preferable and this is much easier when you take these factors into consideration.
Remember location, size, accessibility, price, and style. Keep these in mind and you should be on your way to a great office for your startup.
A serial entrepreneur, Danielle Bourne has been at the helm of a number of successful startups. As a result of this career, she now offers advice on a number of subjects, ranging from management techniques all the way to HS2 compensation