Small Business Saturday Blog

Top tips for finding a great office for your small business

Thursday, December 03 at 14:10

Office hunting represents an exciting time for a businesses. For many, it can be a huge step forward and a chance to establish a new home for a growing enterprise. However it can also be a daunting experience, one in which you’re faced with a number of questions and some fairly high-cost options. However it needn’t be scary if you adhere to the following simple rules:

Consider all the options (Part 1)
Office rental isn’t all about the traditional methods any more, small businesses have a number of suitable options from which to choose. Finding which of the following is right for you is the key first step:

Shared deskspace: Whether it’s spare desks in another company’s office or a higher-spec dedicated coworking hub, shared deskspace can represent a flexible and cost-effective office option. However you must consider potential security issues that come when you share a space and possibly a network with others.

Serviced offices: High-spec and all-inclusive space where everything from reception services to meeting-room access comes as part of your monthly rental fee. As such these can be costly.

Traditional leases: Remain the most popular rental option due to low costs and all the advantages of having a place to call home for your business. Problems can arise for small businesses when you sign a long-term lease at a time you need to be flexible.

All offices have pros and cons; if you really want to check out the alternatives in full we’ve got guides to shared, serviced and traditional rentals on Office Genie.

Consider all the options (Part 2)
As well as reviewing alternative office space options, why not consider alternative locations? Major cities (particularly London) can be famously expensive places in which to rent office space, so why not consider somewhere nearby?

For example a desk in a serviced office in Cambridge is, on average, just over £300; compare this to London where the same might cost you over £500; it’s just up the road and has a thriving SME scene all of its own!

Solve the great agent debate
If you’ve thought about it, and have decided the ever-popular traditional rental is the way to go, the next question you’ll need to answer is whether or not to get an agent involved.

Traditionally these come at a cost, approximately around 7-8% of your first year’s rent (on top of rental costs) but they can be more than worth it: Agents bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and negotiating ability. Whether it’s by finding a hidden gem, or getting a great deal, they could actually save you money.

Be patient
Again, if you’re renting in the traditional fashion, once you’ve found a space and you’ve put your offer in, it’s now time to play the waiting game. First of all you’ll probably face a negotiation. But even once you’ve settled on prices things may still take their time.

It can take months to sort out all the various legal wranglings involved in taking on an office rental, so be prepared to wait a while before you can move in. If you need a temporary space then you could again consider shared or serviced spaces or even a period of flexible and/or remote working!

Design, move in and enjoy
It all sounds so simple doesn’t it? You could dedicate a series of articles to this process but we’ll skip over it in two short paragraphs. The real key here is design: More and more businesses are choosing to have their spaces branded, where your office becomes the focal point of your company brand through intuitive design.

This can be done on a pretty low-fi level however, with a clear company colour scheme and a few splashes of creativity you can have space to be really proud of. If you get everyone involved with painting, decorating or even just moving, then everyone’s going to feel an awful lot more engaged. The office, much like the company, can become something they have all helped build.

Peter Ames is the Web Editor for Office Genie, a desk and office space marketplace in the United Kingdom

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