Running a business from home has lots of advantages, just a couple being the ability to fit your schedule around family needs and keeping business running costs as low as possible to maximise profit.
But there are also drawbacks that could potentially hamper your business growth, such as not having enough space for stock storage if you sell physical items, or having no space for hired help to work alongside you. Yes, you can work remotely or use freelancers, but those arrangements don’t work for all situations.
So, if you’re running a home business and feeling a sense of frustration, maybe it’s time to consider upscaling and moving yourself to the next level.
Reasons to Upscale
There are many factors behind a decision to upscale a business, but here are a few that might resonate with you and indicate it’s time.
- Professional presence: Having a dedicated office space creates a professional image for clients and potential employees. This can be especially important if you meet with clients regularly or plan to grow your team.
- Improved work-life balance: Separating your living and working space can help you focus better during working hours and disconnect more easily when you’re done. This can improve your overall well-being and productivity. You know that sense of release you get at the end of a traditional working day? It’s something those of us who work at home often miss.
- Collaboration and teamwork: An office space allows you to easily collaborate with employees, team up on projects, and foster a sense of community. This can be important for communication and innovation, especially as your team grows.
- Resources and infrastructure: Rented offices often provide amenities like high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and printing facilities, which can be costly and time-consuming to manage at home.
- Networking opportunities: Being situated in a central office or co-working space can open doors to networking opportunities, potential partnerships, and industry events.
Upscaling to a Rented Office
This can feel logical but daunting. Here are some things to work on to make it manageable and less risky.
- Planning and budgeting: Carefully assess your financial situation and project future growth to determine a sustainable budget for office rent. Research different locations and types of office spaces (co-working spaces, shared offices, private offices, flexible offices) to find a cost-effective solution that is suitable for your particular business.
- Location: Consider factors like accessibility, proximity to clients, and public transport when choosing an office location. Another aspect of location, which you may or may not need, is space for delivery vehicles especially for larger items or quantities.
- Legalities and licensing: Ensure you can comply with all necessary business permits and regulations for operating from a commercial space. You may not need a licence or certificate, but it bears researching so you don’t accidentally fall foul of the law or break rental terms.
- Office equipment and furniture: Invest in ergonomic furniture and reliable equipment to create a comfortable and productive work environment for your team.
- Technology and infrastructure: Ensure your office has a stable internet connection, IT support (if needed), and adequate electrical wiring for your equipment.
- Hiring and staffing: If you plan to expand your team, factor in additional costs like salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes.
Other Considerations That May Help
- Consider starting with a small, shared office space or co-working arrangement to test the waters before committing to a long-term lease. If lease length is of particular concern, seek out options that allow for rolling monthly contracts. Flexible offices operate on this model, offering peace of mind that if business changes in either direction you can quickly adapt to meet either rising or falling needs.
- Research loans, business grants and resources are available to small businesses seeking to expand.
- Network with other small business owners for advice and support. Online networking is great, but you can’t beat a face-to-face meet-up. You could try joining a business networking club or attending industry events to meet new people and make new connections.
There are lots of opportunities and pathways for expansion or general upscaling, and also lots of available help and advice. If you feel the time is right to take your business to the next level, start putting out some feelers and see where they might lead you.