In the modern world, where so much business happens digitally, it is more than possible to bring a startup into the world in your own bedroom. You can be running a profit and even making real waves in your business sector without ever stepping outside your front door, which does raise a question that could change the way the world works in the future. Do you need an office to run a business?
At the beginning of your startup journey, without huge amounts of borrowing it is unlikely that you’ll be in a position to open an office. Even if you are able to, there must be some question over whether you should – after all, there are always going to be other ways you could spend your money. But sometimes, it will be the right decision to move into an office – and below, we’ll go into some explanations as to why you may make that choice.
Welcoming visitors is a part of building a business
If your business is ever looking to merge or partner with another company, then the time may well come when you need to have face-to-face meetings on a regular basis instead of telecommuting. These meetings can take place over dinner in a restaurant, over coffee in a cafe, or in a neutral venue. However, having a defined base for your business that doesn’t place you at the mercy of table booking in a nearby eaterie does have its benefits.
For one thing, if you are planning to get into genuine depth talking about financial matters, it is expected that you should do it in a fairly private location. It may sound a little bit cloak and dagger, but you genuinely don’t know who might be listening. Even if that doesn’t worry you, it might be discomfiting to the person you’re meeting with, so having a dedicated private location is likely to be best for all concerned. Eventually, all successful businesses get to the point where they need to have a place to call their own.
You may need to store inventory
We hear a lot about the businesses that start out of someone’s bedroom, or garage, or even out of the back of their car in some cases. But if your business involves buying and/or selling large quantities of anything, there is going to come a time when storing it in your home, your car, or some combination of those places and others isn’t an option. If you are carrying inventory as a business, then you need dedicated premises. Only that way can you guarantee that things will be stored safely and securely.
Not only that, but having business premises will allow you to move inventory from storage to stores in the most efficient way. Unless you want a delivery truck backing up to your garage a few times a day, and attracting the unwelcome attention of your neighbors, it will become essential to have your own premises before too long. As soon as you start attracting the attention of customers who deal in bulk, you should start looking at new premises.
It may not be secure to work any other way
Aside from physical inventory, there is something else valuable that will need to be safely stored when you’re running a business – and that’s your digital records. There is a lot that can be stored in the cloud, and you can use VPNs to provide security for some content. But you should certainly be looking at negotiating an office lease for a startup when you get to the point where you’re receiving and processing a lot of customer data. While you can work for a while with SaaS and sell from your home, new space has to become a priority at this point.
Quite apart from any other consideration, just imagine for a moment that your customers know the “store” they have allowed to process their data is one person sitting at a computer just like them. This isn’t likely to convince them that their information is in the hands of a competent business, and they’ll be reluctant to deal with you on a regular basis. Office space allows you to build a more reinforced digital infrastructure, and it will do a lot to convince your customers and potential partners that they’re dealing with someone serious here.
As an entrepreneur, there is something attractive about being able to say you run your business on a shoestring to maximize profits and keep things lean. Eventually, though, the reasons to move into dedicated premises will just pile up, and you’re best advised to look at your options.