It’s getting easier and easier for startups to get by without having their own shared physical space – which can be a lifesaver in the early days when money can be tight for the business and the business-owner alike!
But even in the era of remote working and lean methodology, there are still some huge advantages to having physical office space for even the smallest startup:
This leaves even the smartest startups and energetic entrepreneurs facing some pretty fundamental questions:
When is the right time for your business to take the leap from the spare bedroom to the board room?
What is the best way to do in order to accelerate growth while keeping costs down?
And of course, do you really need an office at all?
There’s no getting away from it – having a physical office gives your business legitimacy, and may help you win the confidence of clients and funders. And while it might sound a bit airy-fairy, things like face-to-face interaction and the sense of pride you feel when walk into the office every day really can be the difference between a start-up succeeding and failing.
Then of course there are things like access to technology and collaborators that you’ll only get on a dedicated hi-tech innovation campus like SciTech Daresbury.
One the other hand, recent figures suggest that the UK average cost of office space for a SME is an eye-watering £640,947 a year. As an entrepreneur, you can probably think of several dozen ways you’d rather spend that money!
And when it comes to building a team and building a product you are of course limiting your talent pool to people who live in the same area as you and resigning yourself to spending less time on your product or customers and more time sorting out the lease, and even doing the dusting!
If you’re still struggling to decide whether or not now is the time for you to take your business to the next level, SciTech Daresbury have a checklist of questions for you:
What is the best way to impress people? Think about how you’re going to attract and impress customers, investors or potential team members.
What does your team look like? If it’s just you and maybe the occasional freelancer in another part of the country, an office is arguably unnecessary. On the other hand, if there are a six of you, all in the same area, a central HQ could well be a wise investment.
How important is interaction to you company? How are your products and services going to develop over time? Would you benefit from close collaboration or even close competition to keep your company moving forward?
Can you afford it? All startups are strapped for cash in the early days. Your own office might excite you, but can you genuinely afford it?
Have you considered office sharing? It doesn’t have to be a choice between The Cheese Grater and the place where you keep your actual cheese grater! There is another way – office sharing.
Co-working spaces don’t just keep office costs to a minimum, they can be key to your business scaling up faster.
You don’t need to worry about buying desk chairs, scanners, staplers or (in the case of SciTech Daresbury, a Robotics and Autonomous Services Laboratory) but you do get immediate access to a close-knit community of creatives and collaborators