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When have small businesses outgrown their initial workspace?


Many small businesses start by working from home, hence the word ‘homepreneur’ was coined for those startups who began their business sat around the kitchen table.

Office space can be a major drain on your budget when starting up a business, so in the initial stages, working from home means that entrepreneurs spend very little money on workspace, technology and supplies – saving thousands of pounds a month.  A home set-up allows fledgling businesses freedom and flexibility, while putting any money back into the business as you establish a market.

However, working from the kitchen table or in coffee shops can soon impede on productivity and you can outgrow your initial workspace as your business demands and needs change.  If your small business is developing and expanding – or you want it to grow further – then you will need to move on from your initial workspace.  Affordable office space is vital for innovation and growth in the early stages of business.

There are many disadvantages to working from home which can initiate that need to move:

  • You will need more space for more staff as you take on more work

  • Distraction and difficulty separating work home from work

  • It’s more difficult to communicate with clients and co-workers if you don’t have a professional office space to meet up – meaning more time spent emailing and on the telephone

  • The need for high self-discipline

  • Isolation can be demoralising leading to lack of motivation

  • A home environment can discourage clients

  • Work doesn’t end – merging with home-life

Before making the move from your initial workspace, you need to evaluate the business needs and forecast a fiscal budget to include office rent.

If you can’t yet afford your own company premises after financial planning, an interim solution is a co-working office. These open workspaces allow for small businesses to share resources and office space in a collaborative environment.

There has been very substantial growth in coworking spaces in recent years with government and local council support – keen to provide spaces to support economic growth and offer a lifeline to the creative sector.

There are a number reasons why most small businesses start working in coworking office spaces:

  • Peer-to-peer networking with other businesses

  • The social aspect for happier, more productive staff

  • Affordability – you just pay for the space that you use

  • Perks – like a gym, coffee shop and outside space

However, much like working from home, coworking space has limitations which can impact your business negatively.

It is important to make the move from a coworking office to a private premises before the disadvantages below begin to hit your business:

  • No privacy

The concept of coworking offices mean that you are working alongside other businesses, so your staff won’t be able to have private conversations. This is particularly tricky if they need to discuss a private business matter with a client. In a private premises you will be able to create dedicated quiet areas where staff can make important phone calls or relax.

  • Distraction, disorder and noise

Coworking office spaces tend to cram people in to make more profit. This can be detrimental to your business as your staff struggle to concentrate and stop beneficial work conversations due to the noise. It is hard to build up your own company culture in an environment with so many different companies with conflicting discussions.

  • You can’t personalise a coworking space to the needs of your staff

With your own office you can focus on creating a comfortable space to fit the needs of your staff. It is well-known that staff happiness increases productivity and engagement, and you can personalise the office to encourage this. Adding a staff break area with pool table or games console, and making sure there are areas for confidential business meetings.

  • Contrived perks

You can’t choose the perks that come with a coworking office – when you have your own premises, you can choose 24/7 access over free beer.

  • Lax security, hidden costs and lack of control

By moving to your own premises you will gain control. You have to rely on the coworking management company for security, when you have your own premises you have the peace-of-mind that the security is tight. Also watch out for hidden costs in the coworking office contract and who has access to your business data.

When finding a private premises for your startup, make sure you tick off this checklist:

  • Budget

It’s very easy to be swept up with the excitement of a stunning city view or designer light fittings and artwork – but ultimately you are making this move to grow your business so you need to make sure you stick to your budget. Also make sure you have forecast at least 6 months in advance, and that you have a financial safety net if you have a few poor months of business.

  • Location

Your location will also reflect your company brand – do you want to be in hipster Shoreditch for a creative image or in the city for financial upstanding?

  • Ease of access

It’s vital that your business is well connected by public transport and road. If you need footfall from passers by, also take this into account.

  • Space and tech solutions

Serviced offices are easy because as well as supplying phones, broadband and furniture, the service contracts can allow you to move into a larger space as your startup grows. Alternatively make sure you choose a space with spare desks to accommodate expansion.

  • Mirror your brand image

You and your staff can have fun injecting the brand identity into your own premises. From artwork, to lighting and music – you want your brand image to be reflected as visitors walk through the doors.

The home has provided the starting point for many famous businesses – from Apple, to Amazon and Disney, it is wise to save money to push a small business off the starting block

In the modern age, a popular solution for small businesses looking to grow is to is move into a co-working space as an interim before progressing to the ultimate dream of establishing your brand in private premises. Government initiatives and local councils want to boost business growth, creativity and innovation in these challenging economic times especially with the trend to convert former office blocks and loft spaces into private residential properties.

The crowning achievement for any small business is to move into your own business premises, so share news of your progression to show clients  how well the business is doing and increase their trust. You can hold an office warming party and send out your new address in creative ways – relish the moment – you deserve it!


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