A Start-Up’s Guide to Real Estate
From founding a company to raising money to launching a new product. Each stage of an entrepreneur’s journey is crucial – and certainly at every stage of growth. It’s not always talked about but short of what you pay your employees, office space is often a startup’s largest fixed expense. Finding the right office space can even dramatically affect the business’ bottom line.
A startup’s office space is more than drywall and hardwood floors. For any startup, the physical office space embodies the company’s beliefs and ideas. It stands for what the business represents, and in many cases it serves as a second home for its employees.
Even if you’ve had experience with leasing or buying property, finding the right space to fit your business can be an overwhelming process. While time is always of the essence for most startups, you have to take a calculated quick approach when it comes to real estate – otherwise you may end up burning through critical funds.
Here are few things an entrepreneur should consider:
The struggle for most startups is to find a space that is easy to access for employees and will help in retaining and attracting talent. If you’re in this position, don’t be seduced by low rents and spaces that are readily available outside of central business areas. Watch out for landlord-driven “move in ready” packages that have pre-installed Internet, phone and furnishings. These places often charge higher rents that traditional spaces. Instead, focus your search on finding spaces in close proximity to city-centers. The vibrant and dense population means you can attract young talent, be close to banks and financial institutions, less wasted time traveling between meetings and creates an environment that breeds partnerships and ideas.
Most startups make decisions based on incomplete information or lack of strategic planning. Know your people and the direction you want to take the business. Picture how the space will support that culture and vision. Then engage a design professional to work with you on putting those ideas into a firm plan.
Working with an Advisor
Especially if you’re inexperienced in this area, choosing a space on your own is risky. Without proper guidance, companies can easily overspend on their lease rates. Even more disappointing, they’ll end up with a space that doesn’t fit their needs. Always work with an experienced broker or agent in your area. You can see the difference we had in work with a client – telling the story about how we were not first in line but got our client into the driver’s seat.