Yes, the tried-and-true statement in business is often “Location, Location, Location” in terms of the address where you locate. But that is not the only factor that you need to consider when choosing an office space location. Sometimes choosing an office space location is not just about geography and the physical location of your office. There are a number of other factors you need to consider.
Your office location is not only important to your customers and visitors, but it is also important to your staff. Hiring and retaining good employees can partly be due to the office location and preferred working environment of your staff. Look at Google Canada in Toronto. A few years back, Google moved from its suburban Mississauga location to office space in downtown Toronto. Why? Because they found that the young talent they wanted to attract preferred to live in downtown and not have to commute to outside the city. The quality of highly talented people were also more likely to stick around.
When choosing an office location, you have to base your choice on your company’s future needs, not just your current situation. This means that you must consider not only your small business’s immediate needs, but also growth and other factors that could change space requirements over the course of the lease. Can the location you want accommodate growth in size, without having to move or take additional space in another location?
What type of lease terms will you find in your desired location? Will the landlord be looking for a long-term lease or a flexible short-term lease? The last thing your small business needs is to take a small office space and not be able to break a long-term lease. Calculate the full cost of the space, including rent, utilities, moving expenses, and other costs that may not be obvious. And watch out for any hidden costs.
One thing a small business needs to also consider in choosing an office location is the built-in amenities of the space itself, as well as what is available in the building and the local area. Take a tour of not only the facilities, but also the local area. You want to know about availability of transit, local stores, nearby restaurants, banks and even some of the local recreation places, such parks or urban trails.
If you are like many small businesses considering the capital costs of office furniture, telephone systems, photocopiers and other office equipment, you might want to look at an office business centre that provides those shared services. If that type of situation will work for your business, there are other things to consider. Are their kitchen facilities? Are there an adequate number of meeting rooms and boardrooms for the number of businesses that share the space (you don’t want to plan a meeting and find that all the rooms are booked)? Are there other services available as a tenant, such as secretarial services at an extra cost?
Lastly, when considering an office location, you have think about the signal you want to send your clients. If your location and office are too lavish, clients might wonder if they’re paying too much for your product or services. On the other hand, if you don’t have a nice enough office or location, potential clients may wonder about the financial health of your company and your seriousness as a business owner.