Starting your own business is hard enough, but taking the plunge and moving into your first office space, can be even harder. Finding the perfect spot requires planning, patience and a solid team behind you. Though it can be overwhelming, I’d like to share six tips that can help you during the process:
- Time is of the essence: Often underestimated, you want to find a lease that fits your current needs and you’ll want to leave plenty of time to do this. Aim for a minimum of six to nine months before you’re ready to lease or purchase a space. Keep in mind that at least half a year’s time is essential to account for site selection, business term negotiations, attorney review, architectural design, and contracting the work/space build-out. If you’re stuck in a rut on where to start, seek out the advice from a trusted broker or advisor in your area. Especially when it comes down to negotiating for what you want and need, you should also arm yourself with information well in advance (here are few easy negotiation hacks you can try out yourself.)
- Make a list, check it twice: Once you have the location for your office, it’s time to set deadlines and make those checklists. This will help keep you accountable and on-track, because moving day comes faster than you think! Organize your paperwork – financial and tax documents should be at the top of your list. Other office necessities include supplies and amenities for you and your employees. Essentials like pens, paper, highlighters, as well as a water cooler, coffee maker and vending machine – have a plan on what to bring or what to buy.
- Lay it out: Be sure to spend time looking around the office before moving in – ideally four to five months before you’ll move. If it’s not already furnished, figure out what type of furniture you want to bring in. Consider what is going to fit your taste and work for your business. Get measurements to plan out desk and drawer space. It’s always a good idea to bring someone in to take a look and help you decide. If you have a tight budget, consider shopping for gently-used furniture on local classifieds or Craigslist. Websites like Furnishly and Chairish offer reasonable prices for furniture.
- Get connected: A strong internet connection is vital for any company. Before committing to one service, compare different providers and see which connection will best fit your company’s needs. Always look into all available plans and providers. Read contracts to avoid any strict cancellation fees and investigate options before choosing. Once you find a suitable provider, set a date for installation.
- Expect the unexpected: Even if something doesn’t go the way you planned, rule number one: Don’t panic. Look at the problem (maybe take a few deep breaths!), figure out how to solve it and learn from it. It’s impossible for everything to go as perfectly as planned, but it is possible to be prepared.
- Seek expert advice: Ultimately, it helps to have a team of trusted advisors on your side – particularly before touring any potential office locations. Seek out a trusted broker in your area – someone or a group who has the tenant’s best interests in mind.
If you’re looking into leasing or purchasing an office space, here are 3 easy steps to make sure you’re maximizing your commercial real estate dollar.