Unable to keep up with changing work trends, the traditional office has fast become redundant. Startups don’t need a big expensive office space, as they can work just as well remotely. But this new way of working brings new problems; meeting clients in your home or in a local coffee shop looks amateurish. Clients and customers want to see your business, and that is not always feasible if you operate solely from your home office.
Here’s how you maintain that all important physical presence as a startup without investing money you don’t have, in a traditional office that will add no value to your business.
Your startup no longer needs permanent office space
Big, expensive, and generally unsuited to most startups, permanent offices are not only no longer a necessity for small businesses and startups, they’ve become a burden.
Even big businesses are ditching their offices and encouraging flexible work arrangements with employees. Last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers reduced office space per employee by 30 per cent. In fact, 40 per cent of US workers are expected to be remote freelancers or contractors by 2020.
The advantages of becoming officeless are numerous. Employers save money on the cost of a permanent office and have lower overheads, and employees save money and time on the everyday commute. Ridding your startup of an office can also help you attract a wider range of staff, to people who may be unable, such as disabled or rurally-based workers, to make it to the office from 9 to 5.
Having a physical presence is still important
Writing in The Telegraph, Katherine Purvis argues that “even for those continuing to operate virtually, businesses need more than just the technology to make it work.” A base can help your startups settle down and be productive.
Although there’s a lot of pressure put on small businesses to have an online presence (which is, of course, important) we can be at risk of forgetting the importance of having a physical presence. The fact is that customers feel better about doing business with a firm that has an attractive office and conference room. It gives an impression of professionalism and authority.
“What many companies are finding is that they simply can’t run well without meeting with their clients face to face,” says Marcus Moufarrige, CEO of Servcorp. To do this from a coffee shop or a living room doesn’t give an impression of a slick, professional outfit.
How you can do this without having a permanent office
At face value, virtual offices are the last thing that is going to give your office a physical presence, but don’t let the name fool you. These addresses not only let clients know that your business is located in impressive locations, virtual offices now even come equipped with ‘real’ office space at the same address allowing businesses to have meetings there with clients.
Many startups work from coworking spaces. Occupying a select number of desks in a shared space may not always allow you to meet clients, but it will give you the opportunity to network and collaborate with other startups and entrepreneurs. Talking to Entrepreneur, Tiffany Han, a life and business coach, stated that she “was able to meet people who were part of my target client market. But instead of having sales conversations, we bonded over a course.”
Another option for startups and small business looking to gain a physical presence are serviced offices. These temporary workspaces have all the formality of a permanent office without a commitment to a long-term lease.
According to Bowling & Co, “serviced offices offer the flexibility new start-ups need in order to grow and to have a presence in the commercial world.” These new types of workspaces mean that your business can work from anywhere and use serviced offices for formal meetings and discussions.