Everybody knows that an office is key to any business. It’s the center of activity for everything to do with your business. But some businesses feel like it’s an unnecessary extra, that’s only needed for more corporate companies or that’s a fancy extra. We see thousands of small businesses settle into their perfect office environment every year and we see more of the office based businesses flourish than those who choose to stay at home.
Here’s our list of 10 reasons every single small business needs office space.
1. Professional Image
As much as it may not be right, it’s still a fact.
Businesses that operate from a professional, branded office space, look much more professional than those operating from home, or, as we’ve seen in some cases, Starbucks cafes!
For any business to succeed, your customers need to trust you. There’s no doubt that a professional appearance can help you achieve this. After all, would you want to work with a client who operates out of a cafe? I thought not…
2. A Better Location
This is another fairly obvious factor with any businesses office space. As a small business you’ll need to be accessible to your customers or clients. The right office can help you be at the center of their world.
If you’re operating in a city, and your office is on the doorstop of thousands of potential clients, you’ll have much better luck setting up meetings or creating a meaningful connection. If you’re far removed from them in some remote location they’ve never heard of, they might be less inclined to interact with you at all. People love to support other local businesses!
There’s also the cost of travel for any members of your team. If they have to come miles away to your garage to work, there’s a chance they’ll get bored pretty quickly and decide all those miles and miles of commuting simply aren’t worth it.
However, if you offer them a productive environment a short bus ride / cycle / drive from their house, you’ll find it’s a great asset in retaining your best staff!
This works on a national scale too, not just a local level. Peter Cohan wrote about it in the MIT entrepreneurship review.
3. Office Infrastructure
Once again, this is a fairly simple point. If you’ve got an office, you’ve got access to business level infrastructure. Small businesses thrive when they can be efficient at all times. If you’re at a home office, and your connection is slow, or your phone line isn’t great, or you have to take time out of your day to clean up the office, you’ll find that you and your clients become incredibly frustrated.
You can give yourself the infrastructure you need to grow by moving into a serviced office, fully leased office or even a shared workspace.
You’ll have dedicated post services, (normally) super fast business standard internet connections, cleaning services, dedicated phone lines and sometimes a receptionist! All of these things help your image as a professional business to be taken seriously. Just like we mentioned in the first point in this article.
If you’re in a home office at present, it also means you’ll ‘declog’ everything at home. Trust us when we say your family or roommates will appreciate it!
4. Increased Capital
If your business has a sudden influx of cash, an office could be a very wise thing to invest in. As I’ve said a few times already, it gives your business the ability to grow.
The physical space will mean you’ll be able to do bigger brainstorms, have more effective team meetings, recruit more staff and lots more.
Plus, with the improved infrastructure you’ll be able to work faster when you’re connected to the internet and take more client calls.
Add all of this together and you’ll come full circle. That money you invested in your new office has paid off and you’ve now got a regular influx of cash from all the new work you’ve got! Inevitably, business isn’t always that simple. However, I feel I should also mention that we’ve seen a number of businesses be almost reborn after moving into an office.
As soon as they were in an office they felt they had to take things a little more seriously. This, in turn, took their productivity through the roof!
5. Increased Numbers of Staff
I’m only putting this in here because it’s astounding how many super cramped offices I see.
If you’re increasing the number of staff at your company, you’ll need to have the space to do it. There’s nothing less conducive to productivity and morale than a stuffy, overcrowded, overburdened working environment.
The UK government know all about this and have provided the following guidelines:
“The total volume of the room, when empty, divided by the number of people normally working in it should be at least 11 cubic metres. In making this calculation a room or part of a room which is more than 3.0m high should be counted as 3.0m high. The figure of 11 cubic metres per person is a minimum and may be insufficient if, for example, much of the room is taken up by furniture etc.”
11 cubic meters is a bigger space than you think!
You’ve also got to think about toilets, kitchens and storage space. When any of these become a problem, it’s time for a new office.
6. Home Office Horrors
There’s a bit of a humorous take on the problems of working from home from Buzzfeed.
However, in reality it can be a nightmare. People always interrupting you, the dog barking outside, the constant desire to head to the kitchen …
All of these can lead to not only a strained home relationship but also strained work relationships. It’s such a difficult balancing act. Sometimes the best idea is just to avoid these difficult issues all together and move to a dedicated office.
This is especially important as your small business begins to grow more rapidly. You’ll find that these little distractions suddenly become monstrous when you’re trying desperately to land more clients or have conference calls.
A small business office takes you out of the house and puts you in a productive, professional environment. Without meaning to sound like a broken record, this is conducive to growth!
7. Long Term Planning
Every business starts small. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for a successful future!
This is really an extension of a few of the previous points. The professional appearance, the increased staff, the better productivity and nearly all the factors we’ve mentioned will help your business grow! That’s what most small business owners are after.
If an office space can help your small business grow then it’s clearly an essential part of your plan. You’ll need to estimate how many staff you’ll expect to have in 12 months, 18 months, even 3 years down the line. You don’t want to move into a serviced office with your startup then realize that it’s too small 3 months later. Moving can be a bit of a struggle.
Choosing the right office space means you’ll futureproof yourself for the success of your business. It also shows clients, potential investors and staff members that you’re driven to succeed and your beautiful, well lit, centrally located office space is a barometer of just how far you’re going to take the business.
8. Expansion into New Markets
This is something that will only really apply when your first office is established.
However, if you want to start operating in a new market, whether it be the next county or state, or even a new continent, you’re going to need a presence.
As I said when I talked about location, you can generate a lot of new business by being in the right place at the right time. If you think your small business could be just as effective in Mumbai as it could be in Miami, then think about talking to some potential clients in that region before taking the plunge. As soon as you’re confident it’s going to work, it’s time to set up shop.
Then the whole cycle starts again.
You’ll be more visible to the local population and much more accessible. Therefore they’ll be much more likely to think of your company when they need a service from your industry!
9. Increasing Client Interaction
Without a doubt there’s something special about real face to face business.
Doing deals on the phone is one thing. Convincing a client that you’re the man for the job when you’re stood in a meeting room is a different ball game.
The most productive relationships we’ve seen formed in a commercial environment have come in offices. Coworking spaces can throw up some real success stories and there are some massive advantages to them.
There’s nothing quite like inviting a client to your office for a meeting. Once again I’ll come back to mentioning professionalism. The more professional you present your business, the more seriously others will take it.
Having the opportunity to meet clients ‘on your turf’ for want of a better phrase, gives you the opportunity to show off your prowess and ask the tough questions that often don’t get raised in conference calls.
10. Team Mentality
So here we are an our final point. Last, and probably most important, is the effect on your staff.
As a small business, it’s imperative that your staff feel the same passion for your business as you do. Most entrepreneurs will appreciate that the staff are going to be doing as much work as them!
An office gives your team a second home.
If they feel comfortable there, they’re going to be able to drive the business forward, in the same way the owner should. With a smile! Anybody who enters the office should be able to feel the positivity and personalization.
If your staff have a space to make their own within the larger office environment, they’ll feel much more comfortable working late or coming in early to help meet those difficult deadlines which all small businesses face.
That’s why, in my opinion, this is the biggest benefit of moving your startup or small business into a dedicated space.
So there you have it!
I could have listed another 10 here, but many of them feed into each other and I wouldn’t want you to think I was repeating myself!
If you’re serious about taking your small business to the next level, many consider a bright, vibrant office space essential.
Sam is a Marketing Executive at Easy Offices. The company works to match businesses to their perfect office space. This includes anyone from two member startups to huge corporations. They believe that different businesses have different needs, but that there’s an office out there to fit every set of requirements. To keep up with even more business news, please follow Easy Offices on Twitter, Facebook and >Google+