Over two and a half million small businesses are now operated from home but many soon outgrow their kitchen table and want to move into an office. It is a major milestone for a business and a decision which should not be taken lightly, below are Country Estates’ top tips on moving into your first office.
Is the time right?
It can be difficult to make the jump from working at home to moving into an office there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself before you decide whether the time is right.
- Are you moving for the right reasons?
- Do you need more space to conduct meetings or want somewhere more professional to meet clients?
- Are you looking to take on staff?
- Do you find that working at home is getting distracting or are you struggling to complete your daily tasks?
- Are you financially ready? You need to be able to afford all of the costs that come with having an office including rent, service charges, business rates, insurance and maintenance costs.
If you are absolutely sure that the time is right then you can start looking for your perfect office.
Know exactly what you need
It is important to work out exactly what you need before you start viewing potential offices. Again, asking yourself some simple questions will help you decide:
- Do you need functional space or a prestige space that gives clients the right first impression?
- How many desks will you need?
- Do you need 24 hour access?
- What sort of location do you need?
- Do you want meeting room space?
- Do you want parking?
- Will it be commutable if you take on staff? Is it appealing to potential new recruits?
- Do you want kitchen facilities?
Don’t judge a book by its cover and view internally as well as externally. Viewing three different offices is a good way to find out what you really like.
Think about the future
Flexibility is key to finding an office as you never know how and when your business could change. It might be worth seeing if there is room to expand into other offices or if there is enough space to add staff if needed. A business park can be an ideal solution as there are likely to be different units coming up for lease throughout your tenure. At Country Estates, we have a number of tenants who over the years have successfully expanded into larger units on the same business park.
You get what you pay for
There is often a huge difference between an office that is value for money and one which is cheap. You need to see the bigger picture, you might pay more for somewhere with meeting rooms, ample car parking or an up to date communications system but it is likely that this will benefit your business in the long run and make for a more pleasant working environment. These things are worth investing in.
Get good legal advice
If this is your first commercial property agreement you might be taken aback by the complexity of the legal documents, but don’t just sign them without first speaking to a legal expert. A good solicitor will also take the pressure off and guide you through the whole process to ensure you make the right decision.
Length of the lease
Remember, taking an office is a big commitment and many offices will require you to sign a long term lease (usually a minimum of three years), a significant financial burden to a business, especially in the early days of small and start up companies. Before you sign on the dotted line make sure you have weighed everything up and considered every scenario – good and bad. It is worth remembering that if all goes well then you might need to move to a larger office, so make sure your lease includes a break clause.
Consider a business park
A business park can be a great solution for your first office as there will be lots of other businesses on site providing an opportunity for business to business activity. You will also have the opportunity to speak to tenants and get advice on suppliers, IT solutions, the realities of life in an office and everything in between.
Country Estates has business parks in some of the most sought-after areas in the Thames Valley corridor and beyond. With clients ranging from start ups, to multinational market leaders, could this be the tight time for you to join them and make the move from home to an office?
Whenever you decide that the time is right to move into your first office Country Estates are on hand to help you find your ideal office space.
For more information on our available office space, please visit www.countryestates.co.uk or call 0118 950 8366.