Choosing the first office for your business is a monumental milestone. It marks a thrilling point in your development where your company is fulfilling its business plan, growing, and proving profitable.
Of course, choosing your first office is daunting. But happily, it's not the do-or-die decision it was a decade ago. That's because small firms now have the benefit of flexible rental terms rather than formidable 15-year commercial leases, which cuts out long-term concerns and expensive capital outlay.
With that in mind, here are 5 tips to consider when choosing your first office:
Is the area a good fit for your market?
Location is often the No.1 priority for most businesses. You may want to be close to your client base, and it makes sense to avoid heavily competitive areas. However, sometimes setting up in a location with high competition can be a major benefit. Consumers 'expect' to find your business in that particular area (think financial areas in city centres) and it can reflect positively on your business.
Is there easy access for clients and staff?
Is your location close to major road networks? Does it suffer from rush-hour or school congestion? City centres may provide good street level visibility and access to public transport, but congestion and limited parking can be troublesome. On the flip side, business parks and out-of-town locations are often easier to find and access.
What about recruitment?
Consider local employment opportunities. Office location, including transport, accessibility and car parking are major factors in a person's decision to work for you and also the longevity of their employment. High transportation costs or long commutes can be a decisive factor.
Think about first impressions
Visiting clients won't necessarily be impressed with a flashy office - it may trigger questions over your pricing. Yet, a small cramped office in a cheap area could send worrying signals that your business is struggling financially. Walk the line between image and practicality, and work to keep within budget.
Don't forget the 'nice to haves'
'Nice-to-haves' are important too, such as your surroundings and the view from your office window. Is there an on-site cafe? Nearby shops? A lounge area for breaks? Outdoor space for a lunchtime walk? Considerations like these aren't just for you; they will also impact your employees.
Choosing a first office is a personal decision as well as a financial one. There is no perfect formula, but it helps to have these considerations in mind to ensure that this business investment is money well spent.
UBC operates 8 business centre locations across the UK. All of our centres provide professional serviced offices to rent on flexible terms, ranging in size from single office suites to larger team spaces for 40+ employees.