Every startup needs some space to grow and reach its full potential. When you choose your startup office space, you need to take a vast range of factors into account to stretch your budget without compromising on your future plans.
It’s a difficult juggling act. Here’s our step-by-step guide to help you find the best startup office space for your fledgling business:
Layout and culture
The nature of your business will largely dictate your startup office space. If you work in manufacturing, for example, you’re going to need plenty of room for both your equipment and your staff. If you’re a tech startup, your employees may only need a laptop and access to a high-speed internet connection.
You should also try to find a space that matches the ethos of your brand and business. If you need privacy on a regular basis, then an open plan coworking space is not your best option. Instead, a serviced office or a traditional leased office space may better suit your needs.
However, if you’re eager to encourage communication, then a coworking space with an open-plan layout may work nicely. Coworking spaces, in particular, are often designed to cultivate collaboration and communities.
If you need some extra help to learn how to grow your business, you may also want to consider an accelerator or incubator program, both of which usually come with flexible office space included.
You may have a great business plan in place, but it’s almost impossible to predict exactly how your startup will scale in the months and years ahead.
As such, you probably shouldn’t opt for a long-term and restrictive lease agreement as you search for your startup office space.
Flexible workspaces (including coworking spaces, makerspaces, and serviced offices) allow you to rent office space as and when you need to. As your startup grows, you can simply hire more desks or, maybe, move to a private office.
Every office space will offer different amenities. Work out what’s important to you and your startup and make sure you find out what’s included in the cost of your rental agreement or contract.
For example, can you make use of the space’s conference facilities and event space? How many parking spaces are available? What are the kitchen facilities like? Is the wi-fi connection reliable?
You may want to write a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” so you can compare different spaces. Also, make sure you ask your current staff if they have any preferences (you’d be surprised at how important a good cup of coffee is).
Work out how much you’re prepared to pay on a monthly basis and don’t forget to factor in hidden costs like stationery, furniture and other office fees. If you do decide to use a flexible workspace, remember your costs will increase as you grow.
Also, bear in mind that some zip codes may look illustrious – but could prove very costly for your startup. If you do want to have offices in a specific location, you may want to consider a virtual office. This can give you a professional business address, without the expense.
You also need to take a range of day-to-day factors into consideration. For example, the daily commute to your office needs to be manageable for you and your staff. Remember to look at the nearby transport links and other available travel amenities.
Some startups allow their staff to work remotely or from home on occasion. If you are going to have peaks (and troughs) in demand for your office space, it may make more sense to use a flexible workspace where you only pay for the desk space you need.
Finding your startup office space
When you’re investigating potential startup office spaces, make sure you try before you buy. You need to go on a tour of any short-listed offices – and some workspaces will even give you a free trial before you sign on the dotted line.
During such tasters, make sure you ask plenty of questions to get the true measure of the space. After all, the last thing you want is to end up lumbered with a five-year lease in a space that doesn’t meet the needs or budget of your business.