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Startup Basics: Where to Set Up Your Office

June 17th, 2013 Posted in Business

EntrepreneurStarting a new business involves careful preparation and decision making. After determining what products or services you need to offer, finding your market, and selecting what legal structure to adopt, you’ll need to decide where you want your headquarters set up.

There are two typical options to consider — either you work from home or rent office space. Each has its pros and cons, and you should weigh all these before making a choice. Apart from budget, you need to think about how your location will affect your business identity. You also have to consider the kind of workplace atmosphere you want, and the impact your office setting will make on your work and personal lives.

Going for a home office

The biggest advantage of setting up the headquarters at home is that you can cut down on expenses. You won’t be worrying about additional lease and utility payments. You’ll also be able to save on commuting costs.

You’ll be able to maximize your time, since you won’t be traveling to and from a separate workplace. Furthermore, you’ll enjoy flexible working conditions — you can dress however you want and perform your tasks wherever you feel you’ll be most productive (that is, if you haven’t planned on designating a specific area to be your home office yet).

There are some drawbacks, however, to working from home. You’ll be facing numerous distractions, including noise (within and outside your house), family members, pets, neighbors, and cold callers. You’ll likely find it easier to procrastinate as well.

You need to check the zoning laws in your area before attempting to run a home-based company, because some places restrict or prohibit businesses from operating on residential properties. If there are no problems with that, then the next thing you have to decide on is the contact information you’ll be placing on your business cards and website.

Most home-based operations open a PO box or use a private mail service as their official address. While the former is less expensive, it may put your company in a negative light. Prospects might feel that you’re not fully established or that you’re a shady venture. You can opt for a PO box if image is not a major concern to your business and the majority of your target market knows you’re a small operation.

You may consider renting a shared space, along with a RingCentral virtual office  suite. There are many companies that lease office space as well as some office services (such as Internet connection, a receptionist or personal assistant, and space for meetings with clients or employees in their packages) , which gives you a distinctive business address and phone number while allowing employees to work from wherever they want. Many offer contracts that are renewable monthly or annually.      

Choosing commercial space

If you have enough funding and you think your business will benefit more from a corporate setup, then you can choose to rent traditional office space. Having an actual office will give your small business a more professional image. The work setting will also be more formal; this means you’re going to be less inclined to goof around, and there will be fewer distractions as well.

There are several things you need to consider before signing a lease contract. First, think about the location — will your staff members and clients get to your office without the hassle of a long commute? You might lose people if you’re too far away. In addition to this, you have to take into account the available parking space in the area.

You also need to calculate the full cost of the space. Besides rent and utilities, you have to include the moving, construction, furnishing, and other not-so-obvious expenditures in the estimate of your total outlay.

Don’t forget to check if the building you’ll be in complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Moreover, go over the lease terms carefully, and discuss with the landlord renewal options and rate increases in succeeding years. If you can agree on capping the markup to a certain percentage, then that would be to your advantage.


   

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