“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.” (Andre Gide)
All of the largest businesses in the world started small. Apple, Google, and Amazon were all famously founded in garages. Now these giant multi-billion-dollar companies occupy multiple office blocks that dwarf football stadiums. This happened because at one time their founders moved them out of the garage and into the office. Moving away from a comfort zone can be frightening, but knowing when to move a business into its own space may be one of the most important decisions a company owner can ever make. How do you know it’s time to take the plunge and get your business its own space? Here are the signs.
This may seem like an obvious sign. Your business is doing so well that it’s time to take on new staff, but you have not done it yet, because you have no idea where you would put their desks. Staff are the lifeblood of any venture and opting not to move your company in this situation would directly and immediately impact its potential for growth.
This is the simplest scenario to recognise and also the one that needs the quickest attention. It will be better to find the new office space and then hire staff, than to hire them now and find that once you have moved, your business is no longer situated in a convenient location for your staff.
While finding a home for staff may not be your issue, finding storage or workspace may be. If your business keeps a lot of inventory on hand or needs large work areas then it’s better to find a dedicated space to grow than it is to try and fit it all in your home. While it may be feasible to work surrounded by boxes piled on top of boxes and supplies crammed in the spare bathroom for a while, eventually it’s going to become unmanageable and lead to unhappiness in your home and your personal life. Workplaces where everyone needs to work on top of everyone else also cause employees to become unproductive and unhappy, which in turn leads to disappointed customers, and a decrease in business. If you don’t find a new space to fit the business, you will soon find the business decreases to fit the space.
Your brand is about more than simply the service or product you produce. Think about Google’s offices and what they say about the company, the image they project, the culture they are able to create among employees and the impression it gives to customers. Working from your home may fit your own personal brand, but it becomes difficult to establish a corporate culture and image when the office itself does not reflect what you stand for.
Moving into a separate workspace allows a business to tailor that area perfectly to reflect what it is all about, and the needs of its employees and customers, better reflecting the brand you are trying to build. Even if you are happy with your employees working from home, having a small space where they can have meetings with clients, share concerns with HR or attend company functions, helps them to feel a part of something that’s bigger than simply your couch at home, and lets them feel like the brand is strong, reliable and somewhere they can easily stake their long term futures.
When starting your business you may have had ideas of just who your customers are and what their needs might be. A few years down the line you might be servicing an entirely different customer bracket than expected, selling products you didn’t even think of initially or catering to a market that isn’t even in your city. Depending on the kind of business you run, the changing demands of your customers can dictate exactly where you should be located and what your office needs to look like.
Maybe you are losing out on retail opportunities and need to move closer to customer businesses to better service their needs? Perhaps your suppliers will give you cheaper delivery costs if you are located in a different area? Maybe your customers have all semi-grated away from your city? Or perhaps employees with a particular set of skills can’t be found in the town where you live?
Understanding the needs of your business and your industry will help you to determine where to best situate your company and if that place isn’t near your home, it’s time to consider moving.
Working on a new business from home comes with a number of benefits. It allows a founder to easily fit their lives in around the needs of a new company. There will come a time, however, where that personal life and the needs of the family, will become a distraction to the optimal operations of the company. When the demands of family life, including children, start keeping you from achieving what needs to be done then it is definitely time to move your company into its own space. Being able to establish a good work/life balance will be important if you want to both grow a successful business and have the kind of happy, healthy family life that supports the energy it takes to be an entrepreneur.
At the end of the day, money and affordability are going to play the largest part in deciding whether you need your own office space. Perhaps you aren’t being taken seriously by the larger brands or need to scale up quickly if you are to grow? Maybe you want to move, but can’t quite afford it? Carefully considering the pros and cons of moving will ultimately give you the real answer as to whether it’s time to move out of home. The needs of the business and the potential for growth will have to be balanced with the costs of renting and establishing a company space before you can truly determine whether it’s time to move out of the garage.
When you move you must know that the benefits of moving will outweigh the costs of buying office furniture and signing a multi-year lease. You will need to take into consideration, whether you want to own or lease the new space each of which comes with different cost and tax implications, the projected growth of the company over the long term and which employees absolutely need desk space and which can work from their homes. Carefully analysing your budget and balancing it against your needs and projected earnings will give you a clear idea of whether you should move, and if that works out in your favour, and you can 100% afford to pay the bills of the new space, then it would be absolutely foolish not to.
Running a business from home can allow you some tax benefits dependent on a number of factors including how much of the house is used for the business and what exactly that space is used for. Moving into your own space may, however, provide additional tax relief that can sometimes ameliorate the costs of moving out.
Ask a professional to help you with a careful analysis of the costing and to advise you on whether you stand to benefit in this regard.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.