For even the smallest of startups, having an organised workspace can help make a positive impression on clients and potential employees, serve as headquarters, and provide a conducive environment to the team, among others. While all these pros are attractive enough, it would be unwise to invest in commercial space without considering its geographical location.
By picking the right location for your startup, you get the opportunity to attract quality talent, improved valuation, and increased growth potential. So before you establish your home base, make sure the location works for you and your business!
Here are 7 things you need to consider before investing in a commercial space.
Your home base should be located such that your key employees can commute easily. If they have to commute a long distance, they might try their luck somewhere else! If you don’t have any employees currently but wish to hire in the near future, it’s a good idea to choose a location with affordable housing close by.
Also, consider if your office location will be convenient for clients. With transportation costs on the rise, your clients might not be comfortable with making a long trip. Don’t assume you’ll never have to schedule face-to-face meetings just because you have the option of video conferencing!
2. Basic infrastructure
Apart from the physical infrastructure, you’ll have to invest in computing and network services, business services such as financial control and payroll processing, data centre facilities, energy and power management, etc. Make sure you have easy access to these services from your new office location.
3. Raw material availability
Easy and cheap availability of raw materials is an important factor to consider when deciding on your office location. A manufacturing or production business that is situated far from its source of raw materials will have to spend on transportation. In turn, this can directly impact profit margins negatively.
Demographics can greatly influence businesses, especially retailers and service providers. Look at your target audience to identify your customers and their proximity to the location you’re planning to set up the base. For example, if you want to target students or boarding school teachers, you might want to look for commercial space near to Wellington College. You’ll also have to consider the community.
Note that a community that is economically dependent on a particular industry could mean loss of business for you in the event of a downturn. Favour communities that have a stable economic base and resources to fulfil their needs. Also, ensure that the community has a sufficient percentage of individuals matching your target profile.
5. Competition and proximity to other businesses
Competition is usually seen as a bad thing, but it can prove to be beneficial for businesses that see overflow, for example, restaurants and entertainment zones. Industries where comparison is the norm, such as retail outlets, needn’t worry too much about competition either.
However, depending on the nature of your business, do look elsewhere if you’re thinking of setting up shop right across the street from your competitor.
6. Foot traffic
Foot traffic is important to a lot of businesses, except those that need confidentiality. So if your business thrives on foot traffic, don’t opt for a location that’s tucked away in a corner or in a low-traffic area.
You can find your ideal location by monitoring foot traffic in a particular area at different times of the day. Foot traffic is bound to be different on weekdays and weekends, so monitor the traffic on all days of the week too!
While you’re monitoring foot traffic, also monitor the fluctuations in traffic in your chosen location. The reason for this is that if your new office location always has heavy traffic and parking issues, your clients might not find it feasible to come over all the time.
Also, consider if you’ll be receiving any deliveries at your office address. If yes, ensure the building has facilities for receiving the same. You might require the building to have a ramp, ample storage area, or a cargo lift! Do foresee the need for your new office to be accessible to people with disabilities.
With continuously evolving modern technologies, the way people work and businesses operate has changed tremendously. This has led to the enormous growth of home-based businesses in recent times. That being said, the importance of an office space for any business cannot be undermined.
If you are ready to give your start-up a permanent address, don’t rush into buying the cheapest commercial property you find. Use the tips given here to find an office that is located in an area that works for you and your business.