Procurement · 16 February 2017

The business lifecycle: Think about scaling up before you need to scale up

Think ahead - when will you need to scale up?
Think ahead – when will you need to scale up?

It might be impossible to know what a small business will look like a few years down the line, but if you have ambitious growth plans you need to start planning now.

The facilities you will need at your disposable to run a successful business depend significantly on what your idea of success is – are you looking for a lifestyle business that keeps you in pocket, or are you looking to build a legacy?

If the answer is the latter, you need to consider how to scale up your business even at the early stages. You don’t want to get locked in to a lease on an office and suddenly find your growth has outpaced your facilities.

However, it is impossible to predict what your business will look like a few years down the line when you have just started out, so how can you know what your requirements will be?

For this reason a lot of business owners are turning their attention to managed office spaces that allow them much more flexibility than traditional working spaces.

Go with the flow

Managed offices offer a greater degree of flexibility than most other working spaces, both in terms of length of lease and the physical amount of space taken on.

“Business centres offer the facilities and infrastructure to enable a business to adapt and change with ease, allow them to fulfil their potential throughout the growth and restructure of their business,” explained Darren Rogers, regional manager, Basepoint Business Centres.

Centres are equipped with a range of difference sized offices, and businesses can change offices or occupy a combination of them. Given that many providers operate a network of centres, there is also geographical flexibility for businesses to move around the country and target new regions.

In addition, monthly license agreements can provide more fluidity for businesses hesitant to commit to a long-standing agreement.

As a business grows, it might decide to take on more offices, or spread to more regions. Eventually it may decide to move to its own permanent location, and some managed office providers will offer services to assist the smooth transition out of the centre.

However, it is not a foregone conclusion that managed offices must be a temporary solution for early stage businesses – in fact, some multinationals use them.

More than a business centre

Managed office spaces can often offer added benefits when compared to traditional workspaces, such as seminars, business support and networking opportunities.

For example, Basepoint offers a service called MiBase which provides licensees with 24/7 access to business support.

“Businesses will come across milestones and hurdles as they grow which they won’t have the answer to, but by utilising MiBase they can interact with companies that have gone through that process, and are specialists in that area,” said Rogers.
“We also encourage businesses to utilise each other’s services where possible and generally promote a friendly, helpful and approachable community where we are more than just a business centre.”

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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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