Every other week, On Small Business reaches out to a panel of young entrepreneurs for answers to some of the most pressing social media and technology questions facing small business owners. The following responses are provided by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), a nonprofit organization comprised of entrepreneurs.
Q: What should business owners keep in mind when searching for and selecting their first office location?
Aaron Schwartz, founder and chief executive of Modify Watches in Berkeley, California:
There are a few things to consider before moving into an office space. The first question is, of course, ‘Can I afford it?’ We did not move into an office for 18 months, instead choosing to work from my home and many local coffee shops. Once you do decide to move into an office, make sure to think about the all-in cost — if you have a cheap location but it costs you $20 per day to commute, include that cost!
The second major point of focus is the location. Find a space that is easy for all of your critical team members to reach — how much happier is everyone at work when they don’t have a painful commute? And if at all possible, find a location that is close to your customers, vendors or other partner companies. Interacting with other stakeholders in your business is incredibly important.
Finally, make sure that you find a space that your team loves. Your most valuable resources as a start-up are your teammates. Find a well-lit, fun space that engenders a positive attitude and lots of creative thinking — you’re going to need it!
Nikki Robinson, founder and chief executive of Gloss and Glam in New York, New York:
Before you consider finding your first office, you have to determine the hiring goals for your company within the next two to five years. It is imperative to consider how much you are going to grow and how much space you’ll need. Next, decide if you want a turn-key office or a blank space. If you need something right away or you are a single person, your best choice is an executive suite space -- a fully furnished office that is ready for you to move into. At Quick Suites, you can even add space to your lease at any time.
A second option is building an office out of a blank space in an office building. For this option, you need to think about cost of space versus cost of move. Remember, every inch counts if real estate costs are high in your city; it may be cheaper to rent smaller for two years and then move. If real estate is cheaper in your city, the cost of moving may be higher than renting a larger office. Keep in mind, you also need to allocate time and money to branding, decorating and construction, and you’ll most likely need a real estate broker. In the end, it is best to go with the most cost effective office option for your company.
Erika London, co-founder of iAdventure.com in New York, New York:
The two most important things to consider when finding your company’s first office are your core staff members and your office’s main function. Your core staff members are the ones that will be putting in the most hours, so if at all possible, consider where they are coming from and how convenient their commute from home to the office will be. The easier it is to get to and from the office, the easier it will be to stay and put in the extra hours without worry about making it home.
Once you decide which areas will be most convenient based on the nearby transportation options, think about your office’s primary function. Will it be just a hub for your staff to work out of? Will you have clients or customers visiting the office? Are the employees working out of the office interacting with or supporting another business that they would benefit from being close to? All of these things must be taken into consideration when making the final decision.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
Do you have questions you would like to see answered by these young entrepreneurs? Share them with us in the comments below or via email and we’ll pass them along to the YEC for future series.