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What kind of office space should I use as I grow my business?

Thursday, 23 May 2013 | By Jacqueline Lehmann

I’m starting a business on my own from home. I anticipate I’ll be growing/taking on staff soon and I’m weighing up whether to stay put, go to a co-working space or get an office. How can I grow affordably, while getting the space I need?’


Making a list of what you want from your space will help you allocate your available money.


First decide what matters most for you in the short-to-mid-term: Is it a more impressive business image? Somewhere more professional to meet contacts? Or workspace for new staff?


If you’re mainly interested in the first two, you could stay put at home but start using a virtual office.


You’d gain a more business-like presence, with a good address, phone answering and mail handling. You’d also be able to hire meeting rooms when you needed them.


Meanwhile, you yourself could carry on working at home, and save on the expense of renting physical workspace.


It’s a very popular solution with start-ups and home-based business, because it offers a great business image at a very affordable price.


If and when you take on staff, you may need physical workspace. But however expert your business planning, it’s always difficult to foretell the pace at which you’ll grow. This in turn affects how many people you hire, so it’s essential to keep things flexible.


This is where traditional office space is a drag. When you sign a lease, you have to predict the future about how many people you’ll employ in six or nine months’ time.


If you predict four, but end up with two, you’ll waste rent on underused space. If you predict two but need four, your limited space will impede growth.


So this is why so many young businesses use flexible workspace instead. They pay only for what they need, so don’t waste money on unused desk space.


But they can take on temporary or permanent staff when they need them. And because they’re not locked into fixed rents, their outgoings are more affordable.


The other advantage of using flexible and co-working space is that you don’t have to commit capital to furnish or equip it, and you don’t have to endure frustrating delays waiting for WiFi or telephones to be installed.


Everything you need should already be in place so as well as saving on money, you’ll save on time.