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Space to grow

Most entrepreneurs dream of reaching the point where they need bigger premises. But the excitement of getting the keys to a new office or building can quickly evaporate if you haven’t taken the time to find the most suitable space for your current and future needs.

One of the main factors in finding the right space for a business is the human resources dimension. If your enterprise relies on a high number of full- or part-time staff you will probably find it easier to attract and retain people if you are close to decent public transport links.

If you are operating in a more automated industry, the focus will probably shift to considerations around logistics and therefore being close to a major road and/or port will be more important.

Location location location

Businesses that do most of their custom in their local area are obviously limited in terms of location, which in turn reduces their options. They also need to decide whether they want to be the only business of their kind in the vicinity or move to an area where there is more competition but potentially more footfall.

We referenced logistics above and this is an important issue. With all the supply chain issues that enterprises have faced this year, there may be a temptation to locate closer to key suppliers to reduce dependence on international shipping.

Being located closer to suppliers can also reduce transport costs and make it easier to manage inventory, but don’t forget to take account of practical issues such as access for deliveries.

Room for manoeuvre

Depending on the nature of your enterprise you might want to be located close to complementary businesses. Being within easy reach of lunch options may also help with staff recruitment, especially for out-of-town locations.

The layout is important. Square footage is a good starting point, but how much of the space on offer is actually usable – and with home working having become so commonplace since the start of the pandemic, could some of your staff share workspaces or desks?

Open-plan offices may be fashionable but they may not be practical for holding meetings or conducting confidential discussions. You also need to consider access for employees, customers and visitors with mobility issues.

Don’t bust the budget

Premises are one of the largest fixed costs for businesses, so it is important to do your sums before making a move to ensure you can afford the space.

You also need to establish the fair value of the premises you are viewing. There is plenty of information on rents in equivalent locations available online so if something looks over-priced don’t be afraid to ask why the owner is demanding a premium.

Likewise, don’t be blinded by lower prices in areas with higher vacancy rates – first impressions will count with some customers.

Businesses that use a cloud-based accounting solution such as Big Red Cloud will find it relatively easy to establish their current financial position and calculate affordability based on either current or projected revenues.