Do you run a home-based business? If so, have you ever considered moving into an office? The chances are that at some point, you have, or you will be at some point soon. Moving to an office is a bold statement of intent. It gives you a professional sheen, makes you feel like a real business, and you might need one from the second you start hiring employees.
But, it’s not all a bed of roses. If you are used to working from home, you have absolutely no costs to worry about. And, you can bet that it’s going to be a shock once your rent, rates, and bills start coming through your door.
There is a right time, and there is a wrong time to move from a home business to a professional office. Today, we’re going to talk you through knowing the signs when the time is right. Read on for some great tips and learn if now is the right time for you to make the leap.
There are a few signs that you are ready to move from home office to a paid office. The first one is an obvious one – you can afford it. Moving into an office has enormous costs attached to it, and you will also be under contract. You can expect a minimum of six months in an average commercial deal, which is going to hit you in the pocket if you can’t afford to pay.
There are other costs to consider, too. For example, you might be responsible for paying for heating and maintenance. You can save a bit of money by taking out a commercial maintenance plan, of course. Take a look here to find out more – http://academyair.com/services/commercial/. But, the point is; can you afford all the extras and bills on top of your rent and rates? You have to have a regular supply of customers that pays promptly and often before you consider moving out.
But, that’s not the only reason why you will want to move into a more professional setting. You might have had enough of having to meet clients in coffee bars every week, and feel it’s time to bring your clients to an office instead. It must be said; some customers don’t like doing business with people that aren’t in a professional environment. Especially as the home-working phenomenon is still in its infancy.
If opting out and staying home-based is going to affect your business opportunities, then it’s worth the gamble. It all depends on your clients needs, though, rather than what you want. If you don’t have a lot of face-to-face meetings, there isn’t too much to worry about.
You need employees
All startups think they will need employees in the future, and when you do, you are going to need more space. In fact, even just one employee can cause a problem when you work from home. If they come to you, they will feel like they are intruding. And, if they work from their home, you will spend a lot of wasted time trying to communicate with each other. So, an office is going to be essential whenever you have any number of employees.
However, whether you need an employee is another matter entirely. You will have to make your own mind up, of course, but hiring is another big expense for startups. It might be worth looking to outsource your work, as it tends to be cheaper in the long-term.
The question of image is a funny one for startups. On the one hand, they are desperate to save costs – and moving to an office is a waste of money in many cases. But, on the other hand, startups are desperate to be seen as professional – and moving to an office is an easy way of achieving part of that aim. The big question is, will the money be worth the image?
Everyone will have different needs, of course. For some businesses, it might be an essential part of their business to invite clients around regularly. Or, the industry they work in demands a certain level of professionalism than others might. There’s a lot to said about making good impressions – but it’s down to you to decide whether they are important to your client base. If you can avoid moving to an office until other factors are at play, we would suggest you do so. Your image is important, of course, but not if it’s going to see your business go under in its first year.
Don’t underestimate the damage that can occur to your mindset when you’re working from home! It can be a lonely experience, with little or no contact with a human, other than by email or the occasional phone call. If it’s getting to you, it might be time to move on out and get an office.
However, unless you are raking in the money, we would advise going for an office if you are on your own. It would just be a case of spending an enormous chunk of your profits on much the same experience as you get at home. Instead, look into shared workspaces. Check here for a good example – https://generalassemb.ly/. They can be handy for startups in that they can hook you up with other people, and they are cheap. Plus, of course, it might lead to a few more business deals.
You are on the rise
If things are going well for you, then you are going to have to think about growth. And, with that growth, you will come to a need for more productivity. Productivity needs more people, and the space to house them. So, it makes sense to investigate getting out into an office environment. It’s at this point when issues like rent and rates slip into the background, and your main costs will be on the people you hire, and the services you use.
That’s not to say you can go over the top, though. It can be tempting to get all the latest office equipment, but it all comes at a vast expense. There’s a fine line between using tools to boost productivity, and just getting some Macs because they make the office look good.
You suffer from distraction
There are lots of distractions when you work from home – even if you have an office space, you can use to hide away. The kids won’t understand that you can’t play with them whenever they want, and the TV, radio, and Facebook account are all just a click away. Plus, there are the other issues you have to deal with, such as the post and deliveries. And, whenever anything needs doing – it’s always you that will end up doing it, normally in your work time.
Working from home means you never get to switch off. All those interruptions during the day soon stack up, and you will quickly find yourself making up time in the evenings. And, even when you aren’t working, it can be tempting to check your emails, look at your analytics or anything else you feel you need to check. So, at some point, you will start to feel like it is worth the move-out.
You start selling different products
In some states, you aren’t allowed to use certain dangerous chemicals or substances in a home workplace. So, if there’s a new product that you make that includes one of these substances, you could be breaking the law.
There are other regulations about working from home, too. It’s important that you check your state’s regulations to make sure you are complying. A good example would be if you have a lot of deliveries coming during the day, or receive a lot of visitors. The amount of traffic that comes to your home might exceed the regulations for home-based businesses.
Lack of business
Of course, one of the biggest reasons for moving from your home office to a professional office is because it gives you more exposure. You can’t expect people to find you when you work from home, and it’s a lot of work on your behalf to get your name out there. It’s unlikely, for example, that you will have a bright neon sign stating who you are hanging outside your bedroom.
You can get business online, of course. And, there are many success stories that don’t require those face-to-face meetings. But, if your industry demands it – or your clients do – then you will have little choice. Of course, it can be tricky to justify spending a lot of money when you don’t have much in the way of income or customers. So, in this case, we would recommend looking at a business incubator again.
OK, so there you have it – a complete guide to some of the reasons you might be ready to make the leap from home business to a professional office. Have we missed any out? Why not let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Finally, if you do decide to move, we would like to wish you all the best!