Locating Success: Finding the Right Place for Your Small Business’ Office
Congratulations, your business is growing, and it’s time to consider finding an office space. So what’s the next step? It’s that key piece of real estate advice we’ve all heard before: location, location, location. Location plays into any business’ success, from client acquisition all the way to leasing agreements.
Lease rates for small-business tenants continue to rise across the U.S., so it’s important to take growth and logistics into account when finding the perfect space.
Here are three things to consider when deciding where — and how — to locate your small business.
Find a Good Commercial Real Estate Agent
Don’t be afraid to find your own commercial real estate representative. “Agents typically work on commission from the landlord, so there’s no charge to the tenant,” Laborde says. Preferably you’ll want to find an agent with office space experience, but at the very least find an agent who’s well-versed in the local commercial scene and who will be able to guide you through a complicated lease agreement.
Laborde suggests starting with a Google search to see who stands out. “There’s a vetting process to finding the right agent,” he says. “You want somebody who is going to take you seriously and do the work that you need done.”
Consider Ease of Access for You, Your Employees and Your Clients
Startups often are located near the boss’ house, and there’s a reason for that. Young businesses require a lot of time, so owners don’t want that valuable resource eaten up by a long commute. Locating as conveniently as possible for you and (to whatever extent is possible) your employees saves time.
When locating, also consider the resources you may need, especially the most important one: your client base. For example, if your company is developing tech for a plant in Geismar, you may locate your business in the Gonzales or Prairieville area. You’d still be close to everything you may need in the city, but clients could access you easily.
Plan for the Future
When locating your business, plan for growth. Be sure to take the lease’s length and terms into consideration. In some cases you can get a lease for only a year, but a typical commercial lease runs three to five years, so make sure you’re taking into account your future needs, not just your current ones. But be wary of leasing too much space. Running out of cash is responsible for 29% of small-business failures, so be sure you’re budgeting to maintain your office space.
Keep in mind that as you grow, you’ll probably need more employees. “Try to find an office space that is flexible, and allows for both spatial and financial growth,” Laborde says. Also, consider what your clients may expect. For example, real estate may be cheap in Mid City, but the quirky office spaces found there may not necessarily make the best impression on baby boomer clients.