When starting up a business, one of the most important considerations to think about is your location. Ask yourself: where are you going to set up your startup? When we first started in Australia, finder.com’s co-founder and I worked from a laptop in our house. Now, after launching in the US in 2015 and the UK in February this year, we have offices in locations across the world, including New York City – the heart of the business.
However, finding the perfect location is almost impossible to get right the first time, no matter how much research you undertake. We didn’t stumble upon our perfect office in NYC on the first try. Instead, we were initially based in Santa Monica, until we closed up shop and transferred everyone over.
Most startups begin like mine, working remotely with the power of the Internet. Eventually, you’ll have to start looking into offices. From my experience, here are some questions to consider when weighing up your location options:
1. Where will attract the best talent?
You’ve started up your business, your growth is through the roof, and you’re recruiting new people left, right and center. There’s just one problem: your offices are located in the middle of nowhere. It could be in a public transport black hole, or in a city not known for your industry.
Another complication you could face is simply having trouble finding the talent that you’re after. If you’re based somewhere that doesn’t attract the best talent, then you’re setting yourself up to fail. For example, San Francisco and San Jose are renowned for being tech epicenters, so it makes sense that talent would gravitate towards these areas. To attract the right talent for your business, it helps to place yourself in the shoes of your prospective employees.
2. Where is affordable?
Starting up in an area with sky-high rent and fixed, long-term leases can make any kind of growth painful. You want to get a good balance between what’s affordable, and what’s attractive to your potential employees. Think of the costs you’re going to be covering in your first few years – filing fees, payroll costs, accounting fees, utilities, and so on.
Research what these are going to cost in your short-listed locations. While starting up in Silicon Valley might be the dream, it’s more important to be realistic. Ensuring that your startup is still around after that first rocky year is a much more ideal dream.
3. Where are similar businesses located?
Seattle houses giant companies like Amazon and Microsoft, while Washington, D.C. is becoming a tech center, with over 1,000 startups calling it home. San Francisco is home to Airbnb, Twitter, and Uber, among many others. By seeing where similar businesses are located, you can gain an insight into the kind of environment your startup business could thrive in.
Setting yourself up for future success? Definitely, the right move, and worth taking some time to stop and investigate your options, rather than settling for the first location you find.
4. How much will you be outsourcing?
Although it is great having employees in a physical office, outsourcing can sometimes be a much better option in certain situations. Having a mix of the two is not uncommon for companies nowadays (us included!), especially with more and more people working remotely.
Outsourcing is beneficial as it will reduce the size of your office, which simultaneously makes it cheaper for you. As there are so many ways to finance staff working remotely, it pays to compare money transfer providers if considering overseas talent, and utilize freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr to ensure that you hire the best possible talent for your startup.