The old real estate saying that “location is everything” isn’t far off the mark when it comes to deciding where to set up your new small business. Where you decide to obtain office space can be a critical factor in the success of an entrepreneurial venture, and the decision shouldn’t be made lightly. Four key factors to consider are convenience, cost, infrastructure, and image.
Important elements to consider in selecting your office location are convenience for your clients and convenience for your employees. Choosing a remote location that may be difficult for your employees to get to during bad weather may cost you money. Convenience for clients or customers depends largely on the nature of your business. For example, if your office is a retail store, you have to consider what the best spot is for attracting potential customers. If you run a professional service business such as an accounting office, then much of your decision will rest on whether clients customarily come to your office.
As a new small business owner, cost is typically a major factor in choosing office space. You may ideally want to locate your office in the heart of the downtown business district but simply be unable to afford that luxury. The question of buying vs. leasing office space should be considered. The advantages of purchasing office space include building equity and having protection against substantial rental rate increases. On the other hand, leasing may be the most viable choice because it doesn’t require a down payment, avoids property taxes, and means your landlord usually covers building maintenance expenses. Leasing may also be your best choice if you expect to relocate your business within a few years.
Infrastructure includes such things as the general layout of the office, technology, and amenities. Consider whether your office space needs to be more open, or instead requires several private offices. Nearly all businesses require solid communication services such as internet, telephone, and mail or package services. If your business regularly receives large packages from suppliers, make sure the location is accessible by delivery trucks.
Important amenities to consider include such things as conference room availability, kitchen and bathroom areas, and parking. It is no fun to discover after you’ve rented office space that the assigned parking is several blocks away.
The image projected by the look of your office and its location is an often overlooked consideration but may be critically important to your business. For example, clients might be a bit leery of a financial adviser whose office is a rustic cabin in the country. If establishing a strong brand is key for your business, choosing office space that advances your desired company image can be a great early step in branding.
The general style of your office is important if clients meet you there. Too ritzy and they might think they’re overpaying you; too bare and they might consider you unprofessional. The main key to making a good office choice is thinking carefully about all the particular needs of your business, and how well the office space serves them.