Moving Out of the Home Office: Expanding Your Small Business

Running a small business or startup out of your home can be a great, cost effective and low-risk way to begin your journey as a business owner. The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy recently reported that a staggering 52% of small businesses are home based. Often times, however, small business owners discover that they are not cut out for working from home, need a more professional location to run their business out of, or are ready to expand and will need more space for employees both now and in the future.

Making the transition from a home-based business to operating out of a more formal, professional space can be a daunting and stressful leap. Lucky for you, I am here to help ease the burden by offering 4 helpful points to keep in mind when making this transition.

The first point is to assess your needs and budget. Consider how many offices, cubicles, or workspaces you will need both now and in the future. It is a good idea to have a solid sense of your budget in relation to square-footage. If the possibility of further expansion is present, consider checking the surrounding area to scout out a larger facility that would be easy to move to in the future, should the need present itself.  An important, and often overlooked, budgetary consideration will be your furniture, utility, and IT needs. It is imperative to remain realistic about budgeting for these, but equally as important not to go overboard. There are many ways to save money on furniture and IT, such as renting furniture and equipment or purchasing it from government surplus. Perhaps employees can share a workspace on a rotating basis in an effort to save money as well.

The second point to keep in mind is the option of moving into a serviced office building or suite. Renting a serviced office or executive suite is a great option for moving your business from home to a professional environment. Usually located in busy business areas, they come fully equipped and are managed by a facility management firm. Known for their flexible rental agreements, they make the possibility of expanding much easier if you should find yourself needing more space in the future.

This brings us to the third point to keep in mind, which is location, location, location. As you know, location can make or break your business. You want to make sure that you are accessible by your target customers. If you are in the retail market, and require a storefront, it is a good idea to have a concept design to present to leasing companies. This will help the leasing companies decide whether your business fits the image that they are looking to maintain in filling their space. Also keep in mind that there may be zoning restrictions in certain locations. You can easily check up on zoning restrictions by contacting the local government agencies.

Once you have found and secured the perfect location for your business, you will have to update your business regulatory paper work. This is our fourth and final pointer to discuss. Keep in mind that state, city and county tax requirements change from location to location, and it is important to be aware of these new requirements. Additionally, you will be required to update business licenses and permits, as well as your “doing business as” name (DBA) with the relevant local government agencies. Oh, and don’t forget to notify your previous state that you have moved!

As a small business owner, making the decision to transition from a home-based operation to running out of a more formal and professional location can be daunting and inevitably a bit stressful. By keeping the four pointers discussed above in mind, you will be able to maintain focus and take the edge off of the arduous transition process. And remember: if your business is in the position to consider making the transition, then you must be doing something right!

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