So your start-up has resisted an onslaught of initial stressors and is beginning flourish into a medium-sized enterprise. But as might be expected of any adolescent growth spurt, the walls will soon begin to feel like they are closing in and you will have to consider trading your nursery-sized office for something a bit more mature to make way for an expanding staff compliment.
But as any business owner will have come to learn, the first stages of growth can be a bit ‘sturm und drang’ at best, and committing to a bigger rental contract before actually having the bodies to fill the space, can feel reckless.
Anyone who has nursed their fledgling business through its growing pains will know that expanding a business is not necessarily a predictable process.
Small businesses rarely grow in linear, calculable fashion, nor at a pace you can determine at will. You may have set dates for recruiting new staff or deadlines for expanding teams, but often finding the right addition to your company can take months and if you have already had to set aside a desk or small office for that role, it will be wasted until you’ve made a satisfying recruitment.
Then there is the coveted geographic expansion – both exciting and terrifying in equal measure. Setting up shop elsewhere can be a bit trial and error. And if it fails to take off, you may find you have wasted significant funding on overheads you now have to abandon.
This is where business centres and serviced offices in particular should not be overlooked for their potential to offer needs-based office space and their ability to soften the blow of any false-starts.
Building-block office space
Because they can be rented on short-term contracts, serviced offices offer growing businesses the option to simply add more space when they need it and conversely, to choose not to pay for any space they don’t need.
Here it is worth doing the maths though. Depending on where you are based, it could still work out cheaper to go into a long-term contract for a big space. As for any space that goes unused whilst you’re expanding, there is always the option to reverse-engineer the serviced office model by putting your own empty desks up for short-term rent on a site like Deskcamping.
Tying yourself into a fixed contract of any nature is of course only a valid approach if you have a ballpark notion of the rate to which your team will grow.
Try before you buy
Your all-in-one media person has evolved into a three-person team and whilst it initially made sense to have media share space with sales, the crescendoing sales-PR cacophony they are now producing is making it impossible for either team to function.
A frequently undervalued and underused benefit of a temporary office space is the ability to test different office layouts and grouping models before committing to designing and populating your own more permanent space.
People looking to design their own homes are often cautioned to first live in a few houses before firing up SketchUp and expressing their architectural urges. Something similar can be said of office spaces.
With a serviced office you will be able to allocate teams their own spaces and experiment with the practicality of putting teams that frequently collaborate in proximity to each other. Or not. In other cases it may in fact make sense to intentionally put distance between teams to minimise unnecessary interruptions.
Bells, whistles and kitchen sinks
Many serviced offices come with a range of added perks – including a cafeteria or coffee making facility, breakaway spaces, kitted-out conference rooms, media centres and business lounges.
By starting out in a serviced office, you and your staff will quickly get a sense of the facilities and technology that you need and the stuff you can do without.
A sandbox for geographic expansion
Expanding your business to other locations can be risky at best. And when it doesn’t work out, you don’t want to be stuck with long-term rental agreements.
Because many of the larger serviced office companies have business centres across the country, they offer a great way of temporarily setting up a branch in a new location without committing in the long-run. Should you have to pack up, most serviced office providers will be happy with a week’s notice.
Presuming things go well however, serviced offices can make ideal sandboxes for new branches. They usually offer full conferencing and business centre facilities and are typically located close to major transport links. And when you need more space quickly, you will simply be able to add another desk or small office to your package, so you could start with skeletal structure and grow entirely as needed.
Four reasons why serviced offices can sometimes be more cost-effective than leasing
The working environment is changing. After the pandemic a lot of companies have changed their business models, become more financially scrupulous and sought out other, more cost-effective ways to run things. Serviced offices are one option.
Often, they can offer a more cost-effective method for businesses to use professional office space along with all the necessary amenities. Rather than purchasing an office or being tied into paying anywhere from one to ten years of a lease, most offer monthly rents with no need to buy all the overheads too.
Here are 4 key advantages of the serviced office:
Personalised services are one of the top benefits provided by the best serviced offices. For that professional edge, those that offer quality receptionists who will undertake tasks such as answering calls, organising the post and greeting clients on arrival are a great choice. They will give off a great first impression for potential clients and employees, without the need to hire some more staff yourself.
High speed and serviced internet
Every business needs access to the fastest, most efficient internet connectivity these days. Serviced office providers can often guarantee the fastest internet speeds, with in house (or at least on-call) IT technicians to prevent fix any issues. This will increase your business’ productivity and reduce downtime.
Available meeting rooms
If your company regularly meets with clients then you will need some professional meeting rooms to play host with. Look for a serviced office that has dedicated meeting rooms away from the general office space, and a system in process that ensures you can easily book one when it is needed. Many will have other extras, like being able to use projectors, IT equipment in the room and even arranging to have food laid on when necessary.
As well as having shorter rents and including all the facilities you need, serviced office companies are now able to offer desirable addresses and locations that can both impress clients and make it easy to access for employees or owners.
See also: Office space to suit