I’m in the process of moving house and am looking for somewhere that could double as an office for my online retail business. What should I be looking for? – StartupSmart

You must still do the basics that I set out in chapter two of There’s No Workplace Like Home (Wilkinson 2008). Key questions points to consider:


  • Have you performed an environmental scan? That is, are you permitted to have a business in your home by the local council?
  • Have you considered staffing requirements as your business grows?
  • Have you revised your business and marketing plans to meet your new vision and mission?


Assuming that you have worked out what family and friends require of your home life, we can then turn to the requirements of business life. The fundamentals are quite simple – enough space, enough power points and more than enough distance between your home office and your home.  It is vitally important to see your on-line retail business as a commercial operation that justifies a shift from being at home to going to WORK.


This means that an effective office should be set up on the basis of a comparison of the features that you would get from taking a serviced office in the city. These might include reception, conference rooms, printing and technology as well as the tangible evidence of it NOT competing with your family or home life requirements.


Unless the house that you adopt can match these minimum facilities, you will find that clients expect you to be on tap and you will find yourself a slave to business timelines and demands.


The next consideration is the extent that clients and customers are going to requirie storage and service supports at your home. Warehousing and design materials require additional space if you are to avoid additional clutter.  Think in terms of clear space, surfaces to put more equipment and the electronic demands of a growing business. How will this will impact on your productivity and profitability?


I can only suggest that you put your independence and security needs at the top of the list, just below affordability and cashflow concerns. And good luck with the shift!

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