When you started your company you had dreams of growth, but couldn’t actually picture them coming true. Then, they did. You experienced growth, and you brought on a few team members. You experienced more growth and saw profits start to grow. Soon, you were excited; you realized that this was it: Your startup was becoming a legitimate company.
Along with that growth and opportunity came another potentially exciting – yet stressful – endeavor: the need for office space. Suddenly your home office wasn’t cutting it; you needed a physical location with a sign out front to announce that you’ve made it. If you’re at that point, congratulations; you’ve accomplished something great. Follow the tips below to move your startup from your home to an office.
- Make a Plan
Like any other big step you’ve taken for your startup, moving to a physical office requires a plan. A plan ensures that you take the right steps from the beginning, that you find what you’re looking for and that everything runs smoothly, with as few surprises as possible. Your plan should include:
- An evaluation that confirms that moving is the right decision in the first place.
- A list of needs separated by essentials and desires.
- Location options: Which areas would be the best fit for what you’re looking for? What do you need to be close to? How visible would you like your new office to be to the public?
- A budget. Just because an office has everything you need doesn’t mean that you can afford it. You don’t want to stretch your budget and put your business at risk. Remember to include office necessities in your budget like furniture, new equipment and others.
- A timeframe. When do you need to be in your new space?
Once your plan is in place, it’s time to move forward.
- Consider Any and All Alternatives
Even though your plan is in place, it’s best to evaluate all alternatives before making a decision and deciding it was the wrong one. In some cases, a virtual office – a location that provides a physical address through a reputable company but doesn’t actually host office space – might be a more cost-effective alternative to the more traditional office. Remove all doubt by evaluating all options from the start.
- Have the Right Team in Place from Day One
Even if you make 100 percent of the decisions for your company and how it moves forward, picking out office space is not a solo endeavor. Having a team in place ensures that you make the right decisions and that you can rely on the support of others to make your dream a reality. Your team members might include:
- A Realtor. Find a Realtor that understands what you’re looking for that is familiar with office spaces.
- A financial planner. Your planner should know where you stand and should be able to advise on your best options for finding a new space.
- A project manager. If you need to spend the majority of your time managing your company, it’s good to have a point person to make smaller decisions and to bring larger ones to you, instead of fielding all calls alone.
Make sure that each team member provides the support you’re looking for and has a personality that you are compatible with for best results.
- Consider Your Goals for the Space
Today, not all offices match the “Office Space” ideal. Cubicles and corner offices are great, but that might not be what you’re looking for. Today, ideas like open concept offices are taking over, with good reason. Think about the atmosphere you hope to create in your new space and evaluate whether each office you check out has the potential to bring this to life.
- Make a Decision, Then Stop Looking
There’s nothing quite like a heavy dose of self-doubt. As the creator of a startup, you’re probably familiar with this concept. It’s easy to make a decision, then wonder whether or not it was truly the right one, or if you should have evaluated other options.
Your new office space is no different. It’s a big decision. Once you pick your location, it could be easy to wonder if it’s a good fit or whether you should have kept looking for something better. Put those thoughts behind you and move forward confidently. If your new space aligns with your plan and meets your budget, it’s time to look ahead.
- Focus on Furniture
One of the best parts of selecting a new office space is filling it with the furniture and equipment needed to take your business to the next level. Take the time to walk through your new space and to picture what each room, corner or area will be best suited for.
Need a conference room? Think about how you’d like to fill it. Going with cubicles or desks? What options will meet the needs of your employees? What about your entryway? What do you want your office guests to encounter during their first visit? Walk through all possibilities, then, equip your space accordingly. Consider working with local craftsmen to help the economy and to come up with unique, handmade options.
- Add Some Comfort
No one wants to work in a space that’s cold, unwelcoming or distracting. Coming up with something in between is important. Consider some of the following ways to add comfort to your office space:
- White is no longer the go-to for office spaces. Do a little research on what each color promotes and go with the feel you’re looking for.
- Common areas. Create a common area – near a kitchen or in a kitchen perhaps – that allows for casual conversation, coffee meetings and a true water-cooler atmosphere.
- Quiet space. This is especially important for open offices. Giving employees a place to break away or to take private calls is critical.
- A sound system provides a way to break up the quiet by adding music to the background of your office. This could promote focus and productivity, according to some studies.
- Pick Your Date
Decide when the best time to move into your space would be. Consider your current workload and schedule and plan accordingly. In most situations, it’s best to move during the evening or over a weekend to ensure that productivity isn’t negatively affected.
- Get Your Team Involved
Whether you currently have one employee or five, it’s important that they be involved in the move. Keep them posted with regular updates. Once you’ve chosen a space, ask for their input and allow them to make decorating decisions – within reason. The more involved your team is, the more likely they are to be as excited about the move as you are.
- Outline Expectations for Your New Space
A new space generally comes with new expectations. This is especially true for startups going from remote working environments to a physical location. Some of these expectations may include:
- New schedules. When are employees expected to be at work?
- Will you maintain a certain level of flexibility? What will that look like?
- Will you be bringing on cleaning teams or is each employee responsible for his or her space? What other duties might be required that weren’t a question when working from home?
Moving from a home to an office is a big move for any startup. Make your move a success by implementing the tips listed above.