Finding The Perfect Home For Your Startup
We don’t have to tell you how hard it is to be your own boss. Least of all because of the plethora of decisions you face when building your own business. One of the most important decisions is where you are going to base your startup. Working from home can be an isolating experience and working from cafés a noisy and expensive one. Luckily, there are many shared workspaces perfect for entrepreneurs.
But how do you choose the best one for you?
Here are some pointers to help you pick the perfect pad.
What do you really need? Think about what you’ll be using your potential workplace for, and how frequently you’ll be working from it. Perhaps you’re on the road visiting clients for most of the week – does your potential new workspace have several locations or is it a one-location wonder? Having a workplace that offers flexible membership, such as pay-as-you-use, makes it cost-effective if you’re not going to be office-based for most of the week.
Peace of mind
With all the uncertainties and risks surrounding the creation and maintenance of a new business, knowing you have a dedicated space to work from is an important asset. A shared office company worth its salt will be geared to helping the self-employed with features like flexible desk spaces, private areas to take important phone calls, meeting rooms, a professional environment to bring clients, as well as providing networking opportunities and social events.
It’s no good having the bells and whistles of a dream workspace if it’s located in the sticks, miles from any public transport. The time and cost of commuting will eat into the resources you should be investing in your business, plus your clients may be less inclined to make the trek. A central town or city location, preferably with sister locations in several major cities, is a bonus.
Ambience and appearance should be a bonus, not the main draw of a workspace. Sure, that designer cushion is cute but does it help you clinch that contract? The real value for budding SMEs is about reliable WiFi, comfortable and adequate desk-space or working areas, easily available meeting areas and phone facilities.
Keeping costs low as you build your empire is important for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Having a workspace that allows you to tailor your membership as you grow, will help you budget while offering flexibility. Look for workspaces that offer daily charges – helpful if you want to test if the space is right for you.
Is your workspace open at weekends and bank holidays? Are there varied working areas offering privacy when you need it and more room when you don’t? Startups need to be flexible as they grow – and as much as we hate to say it, weekend working is all but inevitable.
Network to get work
A bonus of a buzzing workspace is the contacts and community it nurtures. Many facilities organise networking events – a great one-stop shop where you can meet, market and mingle. Ask about the member mix and make-up of your potential workspace. Does it have businesses at a similar stage as yours? How often do they have networking events?
Get a (social) life
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely and isolating business, with many startups working from their local café or living room. Joining a workspace environment not only allows you to separate work life from home life but offers opportunities to make new friends and social connections. Look for a space with member events and treats to help you feel part of a community – choose well and it can be so much more than just an office.
How does the workspace fit with who you are? Are you the life and soul or a wallflower? Getting into a shared workspace environment may be just the thing for someone who wants to build confidence in a supportive atmosphere, while perhaps not ideal for people who are their own biggest fan.
These tips might help you navigate the world of hot-desking…
… don’t hog the phone booths or set up camp because it’s a quiet space
… don’t spread your stuff everywhere, impinging on the workspace of others
… clean up after yourself and leave equipment as you found it
… avoid eating smelly food!
Working for and by yourself for a while, or moving on from a huge conglomerate to strike out on your own, can be a daunting experience. Take your time when deciding where you want to base your new business – many locations have taster days so you can try before you buy. Experiment with a few places, then pick your perfect home.
For more on what Work.Life can offer, including taster days, our various membership options, facilities and perks, visit Work.Life’s website.