Making the best choice regarding your work location makes a significant impact on your success as a business owner. Feeling comfortable in the space where you spend eight hours a day (or more!) is crucial to the sustainability of your enterprise. A good choice means you feel creative, solvent, secure, well-connected, and professional. A less-than-optimal choice means lowered productivity, less financial stability, security issues, and challenges with presenting yourself as a professional. There are five main types of locations where small businesses set up offices. Here are some key things to consider about each.
Coffee shops are a popular option for those who operate a startup. They provide a stimulating environment for close teamwork, and the opportunity for solopreneurs to get out and be around people several times a week. Keep in mind, though, that each coffee-shop workday will set you back five to ten dollars, not including meals. Although high-speed internet is the standard, you might have to deal with access codes each time you come in. Coffee shops usually lack privacy, and it's impossible to control the noise level. Security (possible theft of equipment or passwords) is a concern, too. If you're planning on frequent client meetings, a coffee shop may not be the best place to present yourself professionally.
Co-working spaces vary a great deal and are worth checking out if you want both a professional business environment and a feeling of community. The "feel" of a co-working space needs to be a good fit for you and how you work; you'll be more satisfied and productive if the environment is simpatico. A site like coworking space Boulder provides a range of services and options. Inspiration is a big plus for coworking spaces; being around other like-minded people can help you stay focused and excited about your own work. Stable, high-speed internet, print/fax equipment, and coffee, water, and tea are standard inclusions. Noise regulations help keep distractions at a minimum, and private meeting rooms are usually available. Usually, there's some form of security monitoring. A coworking space feels much more like a real office. Costs are comparable to daily work at a coffee shop — but be sure to check for specifics.
There's no commute if you work from home. As you can imagine, that has an upside and a downside. It's the choice for many small businesses and new startups. Obviously, it's the least expensive option. Your hours are completely flexible. You can exercise during breaks more easily, or do a load of laundry. Your level of work security is the same as your home security. On the other hand, work from home can be isolating; you'll need to be especially intentional about keeping up with work-related connections. Productivity can suffer as a byproduct of isolation, too. Be sure to set and keep regular work hours and maintain your community bonds to keep your spirits and level of output high. If you have roommates or family members in the mix, it can be a challenge to balance competing priorities.
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Also, consider the cost and upkeep of equipment and supplies.
Did you know that you can work at a business club? Surprisingly, not many people do. You're likely more familiar with social and athletic clubs, and less so with business clubs. Depending on where you live, business club fees run usually $100 to $300 a month and often come with an initiation fee. The expense is comparable to working from a coffee shop or coworking space but comes with added perks. Networking opportunities are usually plentiful at business clubs, and they're a great place to have client meetings. If you enjoy committees, most business clubs will allow you to serve. Full-service restaurants and bars are commonplace, as are full-service printing and fax assistance. Security (both password and work-product) can be an issue, so be sure to have a VPN (virtual private network).
Small businesses also have the choice of renting out office space. If you've previously held an office job, the environment will feel familiar. You'll usually have access to the space 24x7, which is great if you keep odd hours. Having a dedicated office makes a strong professional impression, and you'll likely have a reception area with all the supplies and equipment you need. There's the added advantage of the security of having your things behind a locked door, plus building security. The biggest barrier is the cost. Depending on location, a small office will rent for over $600/month. If you don't have significant cash flow, that rent may deplete your account quickly. There's also the issue of leasing — read the terms of your contract carefully.
Finding the best office space solution for your small business involves a keen awareness of your needs and resources. Consider these options as you plan.