At some point your small business will need to look for an office, whether it is your first office or an office upgrade to bigger space. It may sound simple, but once a small business owner starts his or her search they find out it is not that easy. It is all about coming up with a plan – but first you need to know what it is you are looking for.
Use a spreadsheet to come up come up with your list of your office needs and wants, as well as a comparison chart of which office space providers will fulfill those criteria. This will help you establish a short list of office locations, but first you need to do some research. Your first step in finding possible offices for your small business is to do a Google search for office space and find the ones located in the area you want your office to be located. Enter those office-space providers into your spreadsheet and start gathering information about them to help you make your choice.
Once you have your long list of office space providers, you need to break them down into office space styles. Are they raw office space or are they serviced offices? The two can be very different! A raw office space (or traditional office space) normally gives you a blank office space that allows you to configure it the way you want and leaves you to set it up with your own office furniture and office equipment. A serviced office space will provide office furniture and access to office equipment (like photocopiers, fax machines and telephone systems) as well as office services that you do not need to lease or purchase.
Once you have decided what type of office space your small business needs, now you have to create your shortlist. With a shortlist in hand, you can start using other technologies to narrow your search. Again, go back to Google and search for reviews – but you should also check out Yelp reviews of the business who is going to lease the office space you are considering. When looking at reviews, remember that the most extreme positives and negatives should be taken with a grain of salt. It is the middle-low and middle-high reviews that are usually the most honest and not jaded or faked.
Now it is time to explore the neighborhood of your potential office space (without leaving your desk). Google Street View is great for that. Don’t just look at the outside of the office building you are considering – use Street View to take a look around the neighborhood and find out just how close the amenities are. Look around for the parking and available transit they claim is nearby. Don’t just take their word for it.
If you are lucky, the office provider you are considering has a virtual tour to let you see what is inside. Some office-space-for-rent providers have hired Google photographers to help them show you what it looks like inside the office. Telsec uses one of its office-space tenants (Aperi Media), an official Google business view photographer, to give potential tenants a view of what Telsec has to offer.
Allow available technology to shorten your list of potential office spaces for your small business. Technology can save you time and money, allowing you to only have to visit a few locations in person. Using technology can shorten your office-space search from weeks to just a few days – or even hours!