It goes without saying that keeping costs down is important. As a business owner and manager of a strategic and financial planning consulting firm, I know the value of saving for the future (and have seen many clients reap the benefits as well). Working at home is an obvious choice for any new entrepreneur—no need to set up shop in an office building when you don’t have the money.
But when revenues do start flowing in, should you look into getting an office space? Often you’ll decide the anwer is yes. But like house hunting, a lot of effort should go into the search before before taking the plunge.
Give yourself time to think about the big and small nuances. Ask yourself questions like: what size space fits into your budget? Will your team expand in the next year? Where is your office located? And what does commuting time look like for you and your employees? Your answers to these (and many more) will help narrow down your search and determine if you’re financially ready to move out.
First, let’s cut to the chase. Offices are expensive. In addition to rent, you also have to pay for office supplies, furniture, electricity and more. If you have the money to back it up, you can go ahead and start looking into leasing a space. Remember, most leases last a year, so get on the phone with a broker to figure out what offices realistically fit within your current budget, but also allow room for growth.
If you find that after some thought you’re not quite ready for the big leagues, don’t stress. You have options. Although you may want to move into your own place, there are other alternatives that are cheaper if you need additional room to grow, but aren’t financially ready for that year-long commitment.
Here’s something to consider: a virtual office. Besides keeping costs low, virtual offices give you the office “experience,” providing a business address (separate from your home address), telephone and mail services. They also give you access to private offices, business lounges and conference rooms for those days when you need to host clients.
Need more freedom? Co-working spaces, or shared office spaces are another great alternative. They are less pricey than owning your own office and still get you out of the house. You split rent and an in-office receptionist, can lease several offices at once, and you get access to shared conference rooms. Did I mention that you don’t have to deal with servicing utilities or office supplies? For the price you’re paying and the money you’re saving, these perks are pretty substantial.
To sum it up, do what’s right for your budget. If you don’t think you can shell out the funds for your own office, consider the alternatives above. Growing up and out doesn’t always mean taking a big hit on your savings.