Choosing a home for your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. And that’s how you should view it – very much like hunting for your ideal house. It needs to grow with you, adapt when plans change and, above all, be cost-effective.
In 2016, we have a wide variety of commercial properties to choose from. There’s the traditional office block, rural farm barn conversion, ‘plug-and-play’ serviced approach and shared communal offices. The choice, at times, can be baffling.
However, before you get too carried away, it is advisable to take a step back and make sure you remove any potential banana skins from the process. Below, I’ve got the 5 most common mistakes businesses make when choosing premises.
- Only focussing on headline rental
‘$15 per square meter’ may sound fantastic, but that isn’t where the cost of bricks and mortar for your business ends. Clever advertising on behalf of the letting agent may be hiding an often neglected element of commercial properties: business rates.
Business rates are unavoidable and you have a legal duty to pay them, so make sure you factor them into your budgeting.
- Choosing the wrong property
It’s imperative that you choose a property that suits your aspirations and financial goals. Do you intend to grow or reduce the staff base over time? What kind of space will you need in the future for product development?
- Getting the location wrong
You could find the perfect office at the perfect price, but if it presents travel-related challenges for staff, you’ll only create dissent amongst the ranks.
You’ll never please everyone, but pick a location that is as close to the centre of your staff’s world as possible. Think ahead, too; if you’re going to recruit in the future, do you have the pick of talent in the surrounding areas?
- Not listening to your head
Just like house hunting, searching for the perfect office location will always be fruitless; it simply doesn’t exist. Everything is a compromise and you’ll probably have to make several when choosing your business premises.
Listen to your head, always, and keep your emotions at bay when viewing properties.
- Failing to take into account other costs
We now know business rates shouldn’t be ignored, but make sure you factor everything else in; the cost of moving equipment and desks, staff overtime during the move and higher service fees may all come into play.
Your new premises may need new infrastructure or building work undertaking, too, so if you need to borrow to cover the costs, make sure you avoid settling for the first loan offered to you by a lender.
Picking the right business premises requires a delicate balance between meeting commercial imperatives, maintaining staff morale and choosing somewhere which fits with your future plans. The perfect office isn’t out there, but the ideal one is; always search for the latter.
Mark Ellis is a writer and the owner of Business Fiction, a copywriting service for businesses of all sizes. Mark’s considerable experience at director level and deep interest in personal and business success means he’s ready to comment on anything from workplace dynamics to personal improvement.