Choosing where to headquarter or operate your company may prove one of the toughest choices you'll have to make as the owner of any enterprise. After all, what's prime square footage for one kind of business may be the worst possible spot for another. As they say in real estate, it's all about "location, location, location."
So what's a business to do? Here we give the top five to-dos you should check off before finalizing where you'll be putting down those professional roots.
Consider your customers
It may seem like there's nowhere to be but that one hot neighborhood everyone's talking about, but if your business' clientele doesn't go there, it's not for you. Think about your customers and those who, given the right circumstances, are likely to become customers. You want to be where they are. So ask yourself, is the location I'm considering going to attract the kind of foot traffic my business needs to thrive?
So you want your office in a building with a 24-hour concierge, a fitness center, and two-minute commute to the Metro. But if your wallet can't swing it, neither can your business. Why torture yourself by looking at locations outside your price range? Not at all surprisingly, running out of money is the top reason most businesses fail.
Remove yourself from temptation by considering only those locations which meet your needs and come in at or under your allocated budget. Shared office space and private workspaces may give you just the budget cut you need to have a great office space and protect your bottom line at the same time.
While you should take into account the current surroundings of and amenities near your desired location, do your homework, too, because all those things could change in the near future. For example, maybe you've discounted a particular office building in an otherwise good area because there wasn't much in the way of shopping or food to be found within walking distance. Perhaps if you'd done a bit of online digging, you'd have learned about coming retail and restaurant developments nearby.
Of course, the converse also holds true. What may seem like a great spot now could erode in value, your foot traffic could decrease, and your business could suffer. Do sufficient research about the particular neighborhood you're looking in before you sign anything or hand over any cash. Read up about projections and analyst predictions for coming years to determine whether, as best you can determine, you've found a good spot for your company.
Once again, shared office space may come to your rescue. Located in attractive business areas, shared office spaces are prime real estate with a budget-friendly price tag. Why not take advantage of them?
Take a step back
As the owner of your business, you're heavily invested, both financially and emotionally. But try for a moment to be objective about the appearance of your company's setting. If you've got a particular spot in mind for your headquarters, ask yourself, If I were a potential client walking through the door, what would this space convey to me? How would I feel about the business? Would the office setting make me more or less likely to buy in?
Looks aren't everything, but they do matter, particularly when you're a company asking people to part with their hard-earned money. So make sure the spot you're considering is at minimum inviting, pleasant, clean, and comfortable.
Perhaps you've found a great space with everything you want for your company: pleasing aesthetics, affordability, on-site amenities, room to grow and nearby food and entertainment for employees and clients. The one drawback: It's an hour-long commute for you and it's nowhere near the Metro. If you're someone for whom rush-hour traffic and city parking constitute nightmares, this location probably isn't worth it. Would you really be willing to stick with such a spot in the long run, knowing how much time you'd have to spend in your car, how much you'd have to spend on gas and parking, etc.? Remember, a bargain's only as good as the fit.
Looking for office space solutions that are affordable, flexible, amenity-rich, and right in the heart of it all in the nation's capital? Try Metro Offices, DC's leader in shared, temporary, and virtual office space for more than 25 years. Browse our nine locations today!