You may still be at the stage of coming up with your business ideas, but when you are starting up a business, you will need to consider what the best kind of office is for you.
In the era of mobile technology, tablets, smartphones and ultrabooks, there may be an argument for not having an office at all.
Of course you don’t want a large office, high overheads and few customers. It is all too common for a business to kit itself out with expensive software and office furniture before it has any customers.
This is why many businesses nowadays start off in coffee shops and hotels, graduating to shared workspaces, growing gradually and saving costs along the way, before taking out small business finance and renting an office.
But there are benefits to having your own space, and first and foremost is that it lends you an identity. It’s no coincidence that another draw on business spending can be branding, because all businesses, from at-home start-ups to multinational corporations, need to find an identity.
Digicave, a technology based SME producing photographic 3D models in Brighton, has recently completed the journey from a home start-up to finding an office. The company, which employs 11 people, initially began with a team working from home, but quickly realised the need for collaboration.
“When we got our first small investment we deemed it essential that we got our first office space,” Tim Rogers, account director, says. And realising the identity of the company was a key factor, he explains. “We are a young, dynamic digital agency. So it had to be fresh. That’s why we chose an open plan office. Our projects tend to be collaborative and we wanted communication throughout the company.”
Of course, open plan offices can have an effect on productivity, with some claims that productivity can be reduced by two-thirds. Tim Rogers agrees, but mitigates the problem by clever use of technology.
“It’s hard to work in an environment where people can ask you questions all the time,” says Tim. “It annoys developers and programmers, but they can often work from home if they’re deeply engrossed in a project.”
Nonetheless the company, as it expands and looks for new offices, is taking this into account. “In our new office space we’re going to have separate meeting and working rooms.”
Thinking about these questions is crucial when you’re seeking small business finance. Is your company about a unique product, or its people? Does it need production facilities or is it a service company? Is it connected to the local community and its networks? Or could it be run from anywhere? You can even consider serviced office space or renting free space from other businesses – all approaches which allow you and your working environment to grow together.
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