An important part of any business set up is their office base, even a solo-entrepreneur needs some sort of office set up to work, from even if you are starting your business from home using a spare bedroom or maybe even your kitchen table!
Sorting out your office can be a daunting task, especially if this is your very first business set up and you have no idea where to start. You need to figure out how much space you will need if you are going to employ staff, will they need their own desk space or would they be better off with a flexible shared workspace? Do you actually need an office at all? If you are starting small, is there any reason why you cannot outsource your office tasks to save yourself some money on office rent, wages and utilities?
There are so many questions to ask yourself before you can even get your business up and running efficiently, but you need to find answers because your business will not work properly without having a good office structure in place.
What sort of office space is your company going to need?
One of the questions you may not have asked yourself is what type of working space your company is going to need. If your business involves the manufacture of a product or the assembly, repair or rebuilding of a physical item then you will obviously be going to need some sort of workshop space with plenty of room for your necessary tools, machinery, spare part storage etc.
However, just because you need plenty of productive workshop area doesn't necessarily mean that you will also need to rent huge office space to go with it. There are many small businesses, such as motor mechanics, car repair operations, florists, small bakeries etc. that simply don't need to have a large on-site office.
If you are starting a business that needs more workshop space rather than office space, don't be conned into renting out unsuitable premises that have a 50/50 split floorspace between office and workshop areas. Many garages and workshops have large ground-floor spaces that are ideal for this type of business, but will often come with built-in offices on the floor above that are exactly the same size as the floor below. You may well end up paying through the nose to rent a property and be spending out your hard-earned cash on renting empty and unwanted office space when it is really only the workshop space you need.
The changing face of office leasing
If your business is actually office-based, then obviously you will need to look at renting office space to accommodate your staff. These days new business owners are looking for more flexibility with their office needs. Fortunately, the days of strict and inflexible long-term office leases are long gone.
In the past many office leasing companies would inflict harsh financial penalties on their clients should they want to end their contracts early. This could happen if the office space being rented no longer met the needs of the company and they wished to move to larger premises, or even downscale to smaller facilities. It didn't really matter what the reason was for breaking the contract, the office leasing companies would almost always put a clause in the leasing terms and conditions to include a harsh penalty for not seeing out the contract.
This often left the client in a frustrating situation being stuck in unsuitable office facilities for the duration of the lease or paying to get out of the lease. Either way, the old system was expensive no matter which way the business chose to go.
These days modern companies don't just look for one type of office space, instead, they recognise the need for more flexibility to allow their staff to share workspaces and resources. They need areas where they can collaborate and converse with their teammates on joint projects and to share information easily.
The way we work is changing, and so the type of workspace we need will also need to change to meet our needs. Let's take a look at some popular office set-ups and why they could be a good fit for your business needs.
The popularity of virtual office services has boomed in recent years. This is mostly down to the rapid rise in the numbers of self-employed people in the UK. Most new solo-entrepreneurs are happy to work from home to help keep costs down to an absolute minimum, but still need to portray a very professional business face to build trust in their clients and their company.
This is where the virtual office stands head and shoulders above simply renting office space in your local town or city for your business. With a virtual office service, such as Capital Office's Complete Virtual Office service, comes with a very prestigious business address that is centred in the heart of London's business district.
Choosing to have your business admin handled by a professional virtual office service provider such as us will also mean that your business gets to use a London telephone number and a high-quality call answering service with experienced virtual receptionists using your personalised business greeting.
You will never have to worry about missing a vital and important business phone call ever again, which can be especially reassuring when you are busy concentrating on a project or in a business meeting with a client. You will also be able to keep your professional work number separate from your private home number, meaning you will not be inundated at home with sales calls and scam artists trying to get your financial details.
Because you get a professional central-London office address for your business with your complete virtual office package, you also get a reliable and efficient mail sorting service where all of your business post will be sorted and forwarded on to you.
You can choose to have your business mail collected and forwarded to an address of your choice at regular intervals that suits your timetable, or you can drop by our offices to collect your mail in person. You can also have a scan and email service where we open your business post on your behalf, scan your mail and email the scanned documents directly to you. This can ensure that you never miss any important statutory mail coming from Companies House or HMRC that you cannot afford to ignore or mislay.
Complete virtual office services are ideal for solo-entrepreneurs and SME's that want to keep their costs down, yet still, ensure they run an efficient office while building a prestigious business profile for their company.
There are a number of co-working hugs springing up around the country in response to solo-entrepreneurs looking for more flexibility. These sort of spaces can be very handy, especially if you are running your businesses on a part-time basis, and don't want to have the expense of renting a full-time permanent office that will sit empty for the majority of the week.
With co-working, you can choose to use the space as and when suits you. In most cities, you can find co-working facilities that operate 24 hours a day, so if you were planning on starting a business on the side of your full-time job, you can get access to a co-working area during your free time in the evenings and at weekends.
The greatest benefit of using a co-working space is that you will be mixing with like-minded people who can help to give you a sense of community. This means you don't need to feel so isolated or alone if you are a solo-entrepreneur working from home. You can mix and mingle with others in a co-working environment as much or as little as you please.
You never know, there may even be some very useful contacts that you can make within your co-working community that can come in handy to help you with your work or a particular project that you are working on.
Mostly, co-working is great for anyone just starting out and not wanting to blow a huge chunk of their budget on setting up a physical office.
Fully Serviced offices
Probably the most expensive of these alternative office solutions to invest in fully serviced offices are just that – a complete turn-key walk-in and operate solution for a business owner that is itching to jump in and get started.
Everything you need from a working physical office space will be included in one monthly bill. So for example, your office rent, power, internet service, heating, maintenance, cleaning and IT equipment are all in place and ready to use. You will also benefit from a permanent on-site front of house receptionist that can receive your visitors and deliver them to your offices.
You may be offered optional extra services such as in-house mail sorting and telephone call handling, but you will need to check the small print carefully to see what is and what is not included in your service charge.
A more traditional approach that may be suitable for already established businesses that have outgrown their current available workspace or have grown too large to operate from a co-working space. Leased offices offer you the opportunity to truly put your own stamp on your office space. You can choose exactly how you want to plan and layout your office instead of having to adapt to an existing setup, such as what is offered by a fully serviced office solution.
The costs of this type of office set-up will need to be carefully considered. Unlike fully serviced offices that charge one regular monthly fee, you will be paying a monthly rent for your office, but you will also need to add on the costs of kitting out your office yourself, plus utility costs, business rates, IT infrastructure and maintenance costs etc.
Choose the most flexible option
No matter which of these office set-ups appeal to you, it would be wise to take some time to carefully think about your decision before going ahead. Think about how rapidly you expect your business to grow and whether your choice of office set-up will still be suitable for your needs in two, three or five years time.
Choose the option that suits you right now, but make sure you have the ability to scale up or scale down your office needs easily to match the ebb and flow of your business.
If you would like to find out more about our Complete Virtual Office solutions, do not hesitate to chat to one of our live agents from our website or give our friendly team a call.
Call us: 0207 566 3939
Call in to meet us at Capital Office, Kemp House, 152 - 160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX. We look forward to meeting you!