The first few months (or even years) of a start-up are often executed from the owner’s garage, basement or kitchen table. But as the business grows, it’s time to move. However, where you go is just as important. Your location can affect your company’s productivity, creativity and community – not to mention budget. Insiders agree that choosing the right environment depends on the work that’s being done and the people who are doing it. Some entrepreneurs are taking the plunge, either buying or leasing commercial office space to give their start-ups credibility and authenticity. Is opening up in your own office space a smart move early on for a new business? If you’re considering leasing traditional private office space, you should curb your enthusiasm long enough to ask yourself these questions.

What will it cost to lease office space other than the monthly rental payments?  When you’re considering leasing office space, the first thing that you think of is the cost per square foot per month. But what other costs do you need to think about? Examples are:

  • Furniture and decór
  • Office business machines and telephone systems
  • Utilities (Internet, electricity, water, waste removal, alarm service, etc.)
  • Facility maintenance fees that a property owner or management company may apply

Renting office space in an all-inclusive business centre not only gives you a month-to-month rental agreement, it saves you from having to make capital expenditures on office furniture and business machines (your utilities and maintenance costs are also included in the rent).

Does your growth projection fit the office space you are considering? What does your growth projection look like? You need to think about how your business is expected to grow when considering private office space. What if you outgrow it before your long-term lease is up? In the early phases of a start-up, your growth could come in fits and starts, or it can be explosive. In either case, you’re likely to add staff and maybe require more space. You don’t want to be locked into a long-term commercial lease with zero room for growth and expansion. So you need to make growth projections and ensure the space will be able to handle your growth. When you rent office space at a business centre, you can grow or shrink the amount of space that you require at any time, without having to change your address or telephone number.

What value does office space bring to revenue generation? Simply put, if an expenditure like a long-term office space doesn’t contribute to revenue generation, you probably don’t need it. Will it improve the efficiency of workflows of your start-up, your team’s dynamics or the overall client experience? Having a professional business address can definitely lend trust and authority to a start-up in the eye of the public, investors and clients alike. But ask yourself if it’s absolutely necessary at this current time in your start-up phase. You also have to ask if you need that address just need it to add “flash” to your business? It is important to note that having a virtual office option can give you the value of having a professional business address, without the cost of leasing physical office space.

How will having office space impact your existing workflow? Bringing your team in-house is going to change the dynamic of how your team members work together. Not only will it alter how individual employees get work done, it can also change how they make their reports, handle deliverable work, and communicate with one another. Again, if your workflow is good with employees working remotely, why change it? With a virtual office telephone and mail package, your employees can work from home and a live receptionist who will forward their calls to them (while making them appear to be in the actual physical office space).

Before you sign a long-term lease on traditional office space situations for your start-up, you should visit a local office business centre and have staffers there help you find the solution that works best for your small (but growing) business.