Most business success stories started off small.
That means if you have a winning idea and the passion to evolve it into a full-fledged startup, you shouldn’t be afraid to begin working from home.
In fact, some of the most successful businesses started in either the founder’s bedroom or home garage: Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Apple – just to name a few.
However, there comes a point when you’ll need to move your business out of the spare bedroom and build a professional image your clients can trust.
So how do you determine when is the right time to move?
Here are 5 signs that your business has outgrown its home-based office. Plus, some key considerations you should make before taking the plunge.
Table of contents:
1. 5 Signs It’s Time to Move your Business Out of Your Home
Moving beyond your home office is a big decision.
On the one hand, it’s a sign your business is ready to take the next step and reach new heights.
On the other, it means additional expenses that could quickly become a drain on business revenues if you aren’t careful.
While running your business from the comfort of your home comes with many perks, home offices don’t lend themselves very well towards visits from prospects or current clients.
We previously shared some good reasons why home office meetings with clients are killing your business while making you appear amateurish and unprofessional.
By having an office space, you will be able to build a brand and appear more legitimate to prospective customers.
So keep an eye out for the signs below – if any of them is negatively impacting your work and ability to get more customers, you may be ready to move your business into a real office space.
1.1. You’re booking a ton of meetings
When your office is also your home, but you have a lot of client meetings being booked, where do you go to host them?
Sure, you can tuck away the kids and pets and tidy up the clutter, but still, client meetings at home remain unprofessional.
While many meetings can be hosted online, some need to be done face-to-face in a professional environment, not your dining room turned into a home office (or a noisy coffee shop).
Though the future of the workplace is changing, it’s not uncommon for clients to see home businesses as “not successful enough” to afford office space.
So, when your calendar is fully booked, it might be time to consider looking for a dedicated meeting space so that you can convey a professional appearance to prospects and existing customers.
1.2. You’re feeling the need to have a real office address
There are some pitfalls of using your home address as a business address.
While using a residential address with ASIC has become commonplace for small business owners, it can be an invasion of your privacy as cold callers may interrupt your family dinner.
Not to mention that having your home address publicly registered on ASIC’s website also puts your security and the one of your family in jeopardy.
This is because listing your home address as a business address means anyone can find out where you live – including disgruntled customers who may turn up on your doorstep at any time.
Sure, as a brand new, wet-behind-the-ears startup, using your home address as a business address may feel like a convenient and cheap option.
However, as your business grows, you may need a professional address that protects your privacy and lends your business the credibility it needs to make clients feel comfortable when doing business with you.
1.3. You want to really feel like a professional business
The way your working environment makes you feel can mean the difference between a successful business and one that has yet to prove itself.
Have a look at your home office. Does your household provide good working conditions?
Do your kids understand the concept of a closed door?
Now, can you picture being in a professional office with someone who warmly greets your visitors and manages your mail and parcels?
Wouldn’t that make you feel like a professional business?
Dedicated office space will make you feel like your business is on the right track for growth which will get you even more excited to work towards achieving your goals.
1.4. You want to create a brand identity
Your brand is much more than your logo.
It’s how you differentiate yourself from your competitors to make your business stand out from the crowd. It is also what customers feel and think about you and how you communicate your product or service.
When running a business without a permanent address it becomes difficult – if not impossible – to establish a corporate culture that reflects your brand.
Even if you are happy with your team members working remotely, having a small space where they can occasionally meet to share concerns or just to catch up lets them feel an emotional connection with the brand.
This, in turn, means they are more likely to spread positive thoughts about your brand and act as brand ambassadors.
1.5. You want to get more visibility for your business
You might have a great product with a solid value proposition, but you can’t make headway with it if people don’t know who you are.
In the age of the Internet, creating visibility for your business is a step you shouldn’t overlook.
This means you have to build a striking website (then list your address on the “contact us” page of your site) and claim your business profile on Google and other online directories.
As we mentioned before, without a professional business address, you have to list your own address and compromise your privacy.
By displaying nothing, you’ll make prospects suspicious of your business.
Prospects want to check your credibility online, so you’ll want to ensure you have the right address that enables you to gain traction and stay visible.
Many businesses started off small – but that doesn’t mean you should run your business from home forever.
If you identify with one or more of the 5 signs above, now may be the best time to take your home-based business into a professional office.
However, making the decision to give up your home office is often easier than deciding where to move.
From researching the perfect location to finding a space with the right amenities, there are many factors to consider when seeking your first office space.
Perhaps the most critical piece of puzzle when moving your business out of your home office is overhead.
The smaller your business, the lower you want your overhead costs to be.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How much can you spend on your new office? Can you afford to rent physical office space? Or, are you looking for more convenient alternatives, such as a shared office or virtual office? For example, shared offices are a great alternative if you’re looking for opportunities to network with other startup founders. While virtual offices give you the freedom to enjoy all the perks of a traditional office, including a permanent business address. Plus, they give you the flexibility to use office space only when you need it.
- Can you find a short-term office lease (one year or less) in case your new office arrangement doesn’t work as expected? Or, are you ready to get locked into a long-term commercial lease (typically, three to five years)?
- Where do you want your new office space to be located? Is it important for you to find an office close to your home and avoid a two-hour daily commute? Or, is it more important to find an office that is located close to a variety of services? Would you benefit from having competitors nearby?
While finding your first office space requires careful thought and planning, it shows that your business is growing and changing.
Make sure you start early and have enough time to do your research, create a budget, and stick to it. Additionally, make sure your next office space will meet your needs. You may also want to talk to other startup owners for potential advice.
Ready to move your startup into its first office? Try a virtual office to make the transition smoother! It’s everything you would get with a permanent traditional office, but at a fraction of the cost. Plus, it comes with all-inclusive flexible terms, payable in one monthly bill, so you won’t get stuck into a long-term office lease. Contact B2B HQ today to get your virtual office set up and propel your business to new heights.