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Moving Out of the Home Office — Four Tips for Growing Businesses

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Moving Out of the Home Office — Four Tips for Growing Businesses

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: September 29, 2011 Updated: January 9, 2013

Did you know that an astonishing 52 percent of small businesses are home-based? That’s according to the SBA’s Office of Advocacy.

Running a home-based business must have numerous advantages for many business models, and for businesses of different ages.  For example, during the start-up phase it represents a low-cost and low-risk avenue for conducting business. However, a home office has its limitations. Small business owners often find that they are not cut out to work from home, or they’ve found their enterprise growing and need to hire employees, or they simply need a more professional space in which to conduct business.

But how do you make a seamless and cost-effective transition from a home-based business to a professional office space? Here are some best practices to consider as you expand beyond your home-based business environment.

Assess Your Needs and Your Budget

If you are considering a commercial property lease, make sure you have a clear sense of your budget on a per-square-foot basis. Ask yourself how many offices, cubes, or workstations you’ll need, now and in the future. If you anticipate further growth, preempt the need for multiple moves by looking for a building that has extra space you can expand into should you need it. For advice on negotiating a commercial lease, read: 6 Tips for Negotiating a Commercial Property Lease without Getting Burned.

Your budget should also include cost estimates for furniture, utilities, and IT needs. Don’t go overboard though; as you transition from home to an office, invest your resources wisely. One option is to rent office furniture and equipment, or buy government surplus equipment (a little known but very cost-effective way to equip your business.) Alternatively, you may want to introduce a hot-desking policy or shared office space. This will allow employees to literally share a “hot-desk” on a rotating basis. So if one employee is teleworking or taking flex time, another employee can use the same desk space.

Consider Serviced Offices or Suites

A great option for making the transition from a home office to a professional environment is to rent a serviced office or executive suite. Usually located in busy business districts, these premises are fully equipped and managed by a facility management firm. The rental agreements for these spaces are often more flexible than commercial leases and also give you the option of easily scaling up if you need to. Typically a serviced office broker can help you locate the right space.

Decide on a Location

Deciding on a location for you new office or retail outlet will take some research. You want your presence to be felt, but you also want to make sure you’re visible and within reach of your target customers. If you are in the retail service industry, having a store concept or design in mind is also a good idea; this will help you pitch your business to commercial leasing companies seeking the “right kind of tenant” for their property.

For more tips on choosing the right business location, read SBA’s Tips for Choosing a Business Location and don’t forget to be aware of zoning restrictions at your new location.

Update Your Business Regulatory Paperwork

When you relocate your business to a new city, county, or state you’ll need to update several key business requirements. For example, both your business licenses and permits and your “Doing Business As” name (DBA) filing will need to be updated with your local government.  Visit the Incorporating and Registering Your Business page for more information on how to re-register your business in a new location. If you move to a new state you’ll also need to understand your new city/county tax requirements, as well as notify your previous state of your move. Find links to your state revenue office here.

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Caron Beesley has over 15 years of experience working in marketing, with a particular focus on the government sector. Caron is also a small business owner and works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

One think that I like most about being a small entrepreneur is the fact that I can work from home. I always try to do my business in such a way that people working for me and I myself can do this from wherever we are. And if at some point I will have to have an office, that office will be in a house, with proper kitchen and backyard. If all goes well, the ocean will be just yards away from the backyard!
I cant wait until I can afford to move out of my front room and into a proper office. Right now I cant afford it but one day soon I hope I can!
These are some wonderful tips and very powerful insight. I have to state, as a young entrepreneur my partner and I first started working together and communicating via email and skype..as our business grew we started working together at our homes. We realized the only way to build and grow was to be together so we could bounce ideas around. It was brought great synergies and great success. Moving from a home office to a small local office was the best step we took to growing!
These are some great tips for growing your business. But for someone like me in the real-estate market working virtually, It will be a big change to go to a brick and motor business on a daily basis. I think when it grows to become that big I might have to do it.
Thank you for the very useful information. Another alternative to moving out of the home office is to utilize a “virtual office” service. It is important to be fully aware of the reasons you might want to move. If you are adding more employees, working out of your own home can rapidly loose its charm. It is really tough having other people (your employees) wandering around in your house and you may need to move to full-time outside space. On the other hand, a virtual office service can really leverage your resources in a number of important ways, resulting in providing a professional image to having space-on-demand in a number of different physical locals. There are a number of advantages. A virtual office service will “rent” you the right to use a prestigious address in the city of your choice, taking away the stigma of working from a suburban location or a PO box. Along with the right to use this address, typically also includes a mail forwarding service, professional telephone answering and secretarial support, and usually includes the right to use a physical office and conference or meeting rooms on a part-time basis. If you travel, these facilities are generally available in different cities. A father / son financial investment company keeps 5 virtual offices around the country to use on an as-needed basis for meeting with clients. You should check out virtual office providers to determine available locations, services and costs. A company like Cloud VO ranks high on all of these criteria.
If I had to choose I would probably say that accessing your budget is the most important of the four things you mentioned. Unfortunately, I have seen several situations where people move into a physical office that is too expensive or too large for what they really need. This can be a huge weight on a business that can cut into much needed cash flow, especially when the business is in it's formative years.
Quite interesting article, I wish to add small idea to help on budget for the office. Few of my friends have small, 1 person businesses and work from home is essential element for them but forcing a client to meet in his/her location not always giving good impression. I know my friends use business that offer conference rooms rent by the hours just for some small monthly member fee. I have found this as a great idea to meet a client in your real office, and give him professional impression while still most of the time you can work at home and save office expenses you do not to really need.
I don't know how about you guys, but personally I feel pretty comfortable when working from home. I have several employees and they work from homes too, from their homes I mean. That's the best business model I can think of actually.
Thanks for sharing your ideas - I can confirm many of the aspects mentioned. One addition: Just start - it is not necessary that you are perfect at the beginning. Follicleanse | Shampoo
It's always important to establish a working budget anytime you want to scale your budget. That way you can reverse engineer your necessary cash flow requirements. Otherwise, you can easily over extend yourself. Simple, but too often times overlooked, imo. Job Applications

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