Selecting the most suitable home for your small business is an integral part of your business’ success. Beyond budgetary concerns, there are factors like proximity to customers, partners or team members, privacy and security, and access to competitive technology and equipment to name a few that all have an impact on your business. And with small business owners representing 99.9% of all U.S. employer firms and employing 48% of all private sector employees, there is certainly a need for varied work environment options to properly suit the unique needs of differing business types (Endres and Turner). The spectrum of options is wide and varied with options ranging from a home office to working in a shared office space to working in a traditional office. Breaking down your business’ needs is crucial for pinpointing the work option that would be most suitable.
Spending within a budget that allows your business to remain afloat, or even better, profitable, is one of the primary ways you can ensure the ongoing viability of your business. While going with the cheapest option may be a viable plan if you’re trying to minimize spending, you must evaluate the effect your choice will have on your business in ways beyond a single line item on your budget.
We are increasingly reliant on technology in all sectors of our lives and that’s certainly true for business. In fact, one of the contributing factors to small-business failure is a low level of IT awareness, experience, and expertise (Endres and Turner). When choosing a setting for your business, it is, therefore, highly recommended that you consider things like what tech is included or available to you in the space, and will you or your team have the expertise to properly utilize and maintain the tech or will you need to hire someone or outsource the responsibilities? And while having high-speed Internet that can keep up with your business’ needs is critical, it’s important to remember that utilizing IT effectively goes far beyond bandwidth and upload / download speeds. You must also keep in mind things like phones, printers, conferencing and presentation equipment, and Internet security - and that’s just to name some of the non-specialized IT that’s available.
The location where you work has far-reaching implications on your businesses. It is so much more than an address since location will determine your proximity to resources, clients, and colleagues and it has an impact on how you operate. For example, do you work from home and commute in to a city in order to meet with clients or do you work in a traditional office space where you're able to pull colleagues into meetings on short notice?
If your business could benefit from proximity to certain resources or key people, the next important consideration is whether you need to be close to those resources all of the time or only some of the time. This could be the deciding factor between a fixed location option or a more flexible one. For example, you really may only need a home office supplemented by a virtual office with an allotment of meeting room hours at a location proximal to your clients rather than a permanent office if you only meet with clients occasionally.
Being able to react appropriately and within an acceptable time frame is an important feature of any successful business. The key is to understand how much built in flexibility you need. Think about your business and how it operates and about the nature of your industry and ask yourself, "How far into the future can I see? What is the likelihood that I will need to downsize, expand, or even move in the near future?" Deliberate introspection of this kind will help determine which workplace environment would best accommodate your needs.
Brand perception is an intricate and powerful force for many consumers in the buying process. It starts with a first impression, which is not only difficult to change, but is also a deciding factor when it comes to brand loyalty, but doesn’t stop there. It is something you must continually build up and reinforce in order to be effective. And since a brand really exists in the minds of your customers, it’s vital that you consider how your choice for a workspace will impact your company’s image.
Combined, these 5 business considerations will help you pinpoint the most suitable working environment. Interested in learning which office type fits your work personality? Take our short quiz:
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