Procurement · 15 February 2017

The business lifecycle: Forgo business reputation at your own peril

Looking the part
Looking the part

You’ve had your big idea, you’ve made the move to start your own business, and it’s starting to take off – how can you give your idea the stability and business reputation it needs?

Once you’ve taken the plunge to start your own business you might suddenly notice that you need a lot more things than you’d initially planned – you need a space for your employees with heating and electricity, an internet connection, desk spaces and meeting rooms and so on.

You might be more pre-occupied with your idea and working on the creative side of the business, rather than getting weighed down by admin. However, you can’t build upon something with no foundations, you should get the basics in place first.

To tackle this, many business owners are turning to managed office spaces to support them, at least in the early days, while they focus on their core offering.

A load off your mind

One of the most compelling features of a managed office space for many startups is not having to take on any facilities management, or utilities contracts.

In addition, managed offices typically allow more flexibility, allowing licensees to commit to a month at a time and take on more or less space as required.

“It is important for new businesses to keep flexible as it is difficult to foresee change, scale of development, potential obstacles and barriers which may be presented within the first few years of setting up a business,” explained Darren Rogers, regional manager at Basepoint Business Centres.

“Therefore, it is important that they can react and adapt to change to enable them to progress as a business.”

Looking the part

A business’ reputation is hugely important, and can mean the difference between securing funding for an expansion or going bust within months. With that in mind, it’s important that a business looks the part.

Although the specific offering varies with providers, such centres typically have managed receptions with onsite staff to assist visitors and provide a point of contact.

“The professional environment assists in providing potential and existing clients with confidence in the level of service that they are going to receive,” said Rogers.

“A managed office helps a business to achieve this as it enlarges the profile of the business by sitting within a large office complex.”

Aside from anything else, having other entrepreneurs around presents a great opportunity to network and can help enhance your business reputation.

A place for networking

In the early days of a new business, it is crucial not to isolate yourself and operate in a bubble. Ideally, you want to hear as many opinions about your product or service as possible – or even just speak to other small business owners about best practice and new business trends that may benefit you.

A managed office provides a great opportunity to speak to many other likeminded people, and can potentially even result in new leads.

Some office spaces view themselves more as business communities and offer specific networking events and seminars.

Some centres, such as Basepoint, even have internal systems whereby all licensees have access to mentors to contact whenever a question arises, and offer to put businesses in touch with specific organisations if the expertise needed is not available in-house.

“It’s all about collaboration at that stage,” said Rogers. “If it’s an industry that we know about, we’ll quite happily talk to them about it. But more often than not, the people that have got the startup idea, it’s something fresh and disruptive, it’s innovative, so they need to be speaking to people aligned to that way of thinking.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Business Advice. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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