One of the milestones of small business is your first office space. But how do you know when the time is right? And where do you find space that works for a small business?
|My favorite “home office” on safari|
Know your plan
Jeffrey A. Landers divides home-office businesses into two group, with two distinct solutions:
- If you want to grow a big business, move out of the home office as soon as possible
- If you want to stay one person scale, keep the home office and find a supporting space.
I received a review copy of his book, The Home Office from Hell Cure, where he explains more and offers a quiz. If you’re struggling with home office problems, it’s well worth checking out.
You aren’t limited to finding one stand-alone space that’s perfect for your business. There are lots more options available.
- Rent your own space
- Rent a smaller space inside another business
- Look at business incubators
- Check into shared spaces and coworking
Mike Samson, co-founder of crowdSPRING, said they partnered with a design development firm, and the deal included a tiny amount of office space. This worked for them for nine months.
Samson said there is a big difference between working at home, and working with other people who have ideas, connections, networks, and can invite you to events. So if you are looking to grow a larger scale business, there are definite benefits to getting an office space near other people.
In small towns, the best bets are renting space inside another business and business incubators. I’m seeing incubators springing up in some really small towns!
If you aren’t looking to grow the next big startup, you may only need an occasional conference room or working space. Once again, you have some options.
- Shared office spaces and coworking spaces give you access to conference rooms, meeting spaces, and a place to get a group together to work.
- Incubators may offer occasional-use conference rooms.
In small towns, you might find support spaces in incubators or educational institutions.
What innovative small-town office arrangements have you seen?
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Phil Simon says
Good stuff. There are so many different and hybrid options available now compared to even five years ago. I learned a bit about this in researching The New Small. Brass tacks: software and office space can easily be scaled up and down.
Deb Brown says
Are you a chamber member? Many chambers can offer you meeting space for free or low cost. I work at least once a week at the Chamber office!
Becky McCray says
Thanks, Phil. We’re looking forward to sharing more about The New Small soon. In a small town, it’s tougher to scale office space quickly, because of the more limited supply and demand. But it can be done! You just have to be creative.
Deb, that’s a great example. My own chamber offers use of their conference room. Also, my local SBDC offers their conference room and extra office to clients with occasional meeting needs. I use it regularly.
Patrick Allmond says
Craigslist is great for this. I’ve been searching for space down here in OKC recently and I am finding a ton of options there. If you can’t find any post an ad saying you are looking for some space and what your budget is.
Becky McCray says
Thanks, Patrick. I tend to ignore Craigslist because the last time I checked, they had little to no activity for my small town. But bigger towns can take advantage of it. Also, small towns have some of our own alternative sites: local community web sites, forums, and even in some towns the old fashioned radio equivalent!
This is a very timely post. With a baby on the way my home office will need to be re-purposed to a much nobler cause. Therefore, I will be using many of these options to find a different space.
Becky McCray says
Matt, congratulations! And good luck on the office search.