As an entrepreneur, you have lots of decisions to make about your business as it grows. You need to know when to handle tasks yourself, outsource, or start the hard work of building an initial team. Once you take that enormous step, you have more than just yourself to worry about—you’ll have to communicate, delegate, and keep people accountable. At a certain point, almost every company (but not all) eventually establishes permanent office space. But how do you know if you need office space for your business at this stage—or any stage—of growth? Here are some questions to ask yourself when making the decision.
How Many Team Members Do You Have?
If there’s only a few of you, it may not make sense to spring for a traditional office space right away. If your team lives close by, your meetings are probably small enough to be held in a coffee shop or co-working space. If your hires are remote, then you’ve probably already made the decision to stay that way! However, if you have a small team and you’re gearing up for a major hiring push, then you may want to scout out space now—when your new hires come on board you’ll have space for everyone and you’ll be able to build rapport more easily in person.
What’s Your Budget?
The hard truth is that renting office space may not be financially possible for many entrepreneurs. Unless you have significant capital from investors, it can be hard to make rent, especially in the city. Do some pricing comparisons in your area, and see if you have the cash to rent a space without much worry. Remember, there may be unexpected costs associated with renting an office, so take that into consideration when thinking about your budget.
Do You Have External Influences?
Whether or not to invest in office space might not only be your decision. If you have investors and business advisors weighing in on your decisions, you may need to make some compromises. You may be happy working in your pajamas, but you might need to make a few concessions to ensure good relationships with key players in your business’s growth.
Consider Other Options for Space
Of course, there are in-between solutions if you don’t want to keep working remotely, but you can’t swing the cost of full-time office space at the moment. Co-working spaces are becoming more and more popular as the number of freelancers increases, and businesses are becoming increasingly mobile. A co-working space might offer day rates or a more affordable space to hold meetings where you won’t be shouting over an espresso machine as you try to manage a project.
Remember, the flexibility we have in a digital world doesn’t mean you have to keep working in coffee shops forever—you have options. It’s okay to get creative! What works for some businesses might not work for others, and you can always change your mind if something isn’t working. It’s your business, and your decision!
Even if you do decide to rent space—and there are lots of good reasons to do so—it’s essential that you prioritize staying lean as you grow. Many entrepreneurs have fallen into the trap of spending too much on the fun trimmings of office life: fancy furniture and decorations, coffee machines, and the like, only to find that they lack the funds to run a functional business. Make your office an inviting place, but know the terms before you rent, and keep expenses low during your initial growth period. Stay lean, and one day you might be able to afford the high-rise office and espresso machine!