Many small businesses start off at home. Sometimes they begin as a side hustle and sometimes, while it’s just you, you don’t need much more than a home office space or a garage to get started. But as your business grows, and your ambition with it, the question of whether to move out of your spare room becomes a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’. It’s a positive development for your business, but there’ll be a lot of things to think about before you take the plunge.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Here is some guidance for taking your business out of your home and into the wider world.
Grow as much as you can
Starting your business at home is a good way to get things off the ground. Your running costs are minimal, you can find a work/life balance and even pursue other projects at the same time. But there are challenges to running your business from home. One of which is how your business is perceived by others, as well as not having enough space to realize your ambitions.
But while you might want to get out of your home and into a real location as soon as possible, it’s important to let your business grow first. You could operate for several months or years as you are now, so you’ll want to monitor your performance over time to make sure you’re moving at a time and pace that works for your business.
Think about it in detail
Making a move from a home business to an office space or premises is a big commitment and one which will need to be considered carefully before you make the decision. You will need to weigh up the pros and cons and consider some of the alternatives such as a co-working space or a virtual office.
A temporary or short-term contract could be a sensible way forward in the short-term, helping you find out if your own premises is the right way forward for your business’ future.
Assess your finances
Expanding your business and moving to an office involves a lot of additional costs for your business.
Alongside the rental and bills, you could be faced with maintenance fees, as well as the costs involved in furnishing your space and bringing in new equipment.
As your business grows, you should be in a position to hire some additional employees to help manage the increasing workload.
You will need to factor in the cost of these employees when deciding on your office space as they will also need equipment and facilities. The good news is that there are ways you can save money on your office furniture and other equipment to help bring those initial costs down.
Investing in your commercial property could help you in the future, giving you an asset for the future and could work out as more affordable than paying rent – especially if you invest in somewhere with additional space to lease to other businesses.
To help you ensure you get the most favorable terms for your deal, make sure you use a real estate transactions specialist. Using the right firm will help
Consider your location carefully
Location is everything when it comes to your business. You don’t want to have to travel too far, but you also want to make sure that you’re in a place that it is near your client base or is somewhere you can get some footfall through if your business welcomes people through its doors.
Planning your storefront can be one of the most exciting parts about opening a business location, allowing you to get creative as you try to draw people in.
One of the most important things to remember when choosing your business location is accessibility. There are a lot of ways to make your business more accessible to others, ensuring you can welcome everyone through your doors!
Factor in your future plans
When choosing the right space for your business, you don’t just want to think about what’s happening right now, but think of the future too. Will you want to continue to expand? Could you see yourself hiring even more employees in 6-12 months time?
While running a small business at home, you have minimal outgoings that means you could perhaps cope a little better during quieter periods. With rent to pay and other expenses, you’ll need a plan in place for how your business could cope during quieter periods. Many factors affecting your business are out of your control, which means you should try to plan for the unexpected as much as you can.
Get ready for new ways of working
It’s an exciting time to be running a business, with new technology making it even easier to do things quicker, simpler, and more effectively.
There are various online tools available to help you run your small business, many of which are free. Cloud computing makes it possible to work anywhere, so even if you can’t be at your office desk every day, you can still make sure things operate smoothly.
Depending on the type of business you run, there are also different ways you can work. From going cashless or paperless to incorporating a social enterprise element into your work, you’ve got the chance to build something great from the ground up.
In light of recent events, it’s important to ensure your business can still operate even if you’re forced to close your doors for a period.
Enabling remote working is ideal for your employees, but if you decide to operate a store, restaurant, or similar type of retail business, you should also think about ways you can take your business online too.
Finding different revenue streams can safeguard your business’ future and give you peace of mind that there’s a backup plan in place if you need it.
Host an opening event
Opening a new business location is a cause for celebration, and promoting your business through an event is one effective way of driving traffic through your doors. You can invite local residents, neighboring businesses, and even influencers to help make sure you have the right people at your event who can spread the word about your exciting new business venture.
Making the most of local advertising opportunities can be a helpful way to market your business.
Having a Facebook page is no longer enough, so be sure to use services like Google My Business that can help share your business with people in your locality so that they know where to find you. An effective marketing strategy will help drum up some interest in your business and give it the boost it needs once it has its own location.
Maintain a positive work environment
When it’s just you working at home, it’s only you and your productivity and happiness that you need to worry about. With multiple employees working for your business, you need to make sure you spend time making your office a positive working environment.
From encouraging flexible working to providing facilities and social activities your team will enjoy, it’s possible to create a modern, enjoyable workplace that people will love to work in.
It will be a big change from running your business at home, but you’ll soon begin to enjoy all of the benefits that come with working with a team.
Keep your costs low
As your business grows, your expenses will increase, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save a bit of money here and there. Some simple tips for keeping your office running costs low include:
- Use energy-saving lightbulbs and other products to help keep energy costs low.
- Lease or buy refurbished equipment to help you reduce your tech costs.
- Buy items you use regularly in bulk to help you save on some ongoing costs.
- Haggle with suppliers to keep your bills low.
- Put policies in place to help prevent waste in the office – going paperless and ensuring people turn off all devices at the end of the day can end up saving your business a lot of money.
Once you get used to running your business from its new location, you’ll soon find other ways of cutting unnecessary spending.
While there are a lot of things to be nervous about when choosing to open up a business location, there is also plenty to be excited about!
As a sign your business is doing well, opening an office or a store is a sign that you’re ready for more, taking your ideas to new heights. It can also transform the way you and others see your business, with so many amazing opportunities in front of you.
Some of the best business ideas start off in basements or in a spare room, but who knows where they might lead? As your business starts to take off, it’s time to dream big and get yourself a business location that will help you get ready for even more success in the future.