Procurement · 21 December 2015

Top tips for finding a great office space for your new business

Office space just isn’t about renting an empty space on a traditional lease any more
Office space just isn’t about renting an empty space on a traditional lease any more

Looking for your startup’s first real home can be a hugely rewarding (in the end) but also somewhat daunting experience. The great news is that there are more options out there than ever, not just in terms of spaces but also with regards to where exactly you might want to locate. Our working spaces expert, Peter Ames, looks at how savvy startups can go about finding a great office space.

Nail down your budget

This is the real key to finding yourself an office, and the key to everything else we’ll go through later in this article. Ultimately, you need to know exactly what you can afford now, and potentially what you might be able to (or indeed have to) afford if you have ambitious growth plans.

But there are a number of ways to make the most of your budget, so if you find yourself worrying too much about costs, remember this: generally, the many benefits you discover when your business finds its first professional home well outweigh the cost of renting that space.

Work out what you want

Office space just isn’t about renting an empty space on a traditional lease any more. For a startup this is great news. For many new businesses, long-term rental agreements, although hugely popular, just don’t make sense. So the next step on the path to getting a brilliant new office space is choosing what suits your business.

One alternative is renting a high-spec serviced office.They offer all-inclusive packages ideal for businesses with good levels of capital but low amounts of free time. A cheaper alternative could be shared offices or co-working, which are still all-inclusive but tend to offer a lower level of service. The key thing with both options is that they offer the flexibility which a long-term arrangement cannot.

Decide where you want to be

As with residential property, when it comes to choosing a home for your business, location can be key. Before clients and customers even arrive at your office, a prestigious postcode can show you’ve got your finger on the pulse.

However, such locations can come at a cost – so it’s a case of balance. Ask yourself if you really need that prestigious address. Can you be just as well-connected in a nearby location? In central London, for example, consider the Euston area instead of Soho. Similarly, Mayfair is also popular, but this can be reflected in the prices, so you might find Paddington to be a little more wallet-friendly.

Get out there and view

The real key to finding your perfect office rental is seeing them all in the flesh (so to speak). Nothing will help you get the feel for your new business home quite like stepping through a door and imagining how you will fit in the space.

Of course, this is even more essential if you’re choosing a more “communal” rental option. You need to check you’ll get on with the neighbours and that all the facilities meet your standards.

Try to get everyone involved

Include staff throughout the entire process – it will help them feel more connected to the business.

Once you’ve found that perfect space, it’s a great idea to enlist people to aid with the moving process. Whether through carrying boxes or painting a mural, the more people you can involve, the more will feel engaged.

It’s a great introduction for new staff who may not have a strong grasp of company culture yet – and when it comes to office rental, many hands can often help make much lighter work.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Peter Ames is the head of strategy for Office Genie, the first desk space marketplace in the UK – under the umbrella of Genie Ventures (a digital marketing and e-commerce company). The site is responsible for letting out millions of pounds worth of space to the country's small businesses and freelancers.

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