Running a small business typically means working within an equally small budget – and with budget constraints come creative solutions to common problems. In particular, small businesses need to navigate the issue of overhead, such as office rentals, which can be one of the most significant expenses during the early phase of operations. Luckily, there are an increasing number of solutions to bridge that gap.
Whether you opt to work from home or participate in a coworking space, rent offices for meetings or just café hop, there are several ways to navigate the issue of space as a small business. Just because you run a company doesn’t mean you need a traditional office.
Home Office Hacks
Setting up a home office is typically the least expensive approach for startups, especially if you don’t have any staff yet, or have a few team members you can connect with online or on the phone. The one drawback: many people find that working from home can be especially distracting.
In order to make a home office work for you, you need to be self-motivated and highly focused. With no one to keep you accountable, it’s easy to decide the dishes are more urgent than those emails, particularly if you don’t have a separate office space available that’s drawing a line between your work life and your personal life.
Additionally, home offices tend to be best suited to businesses that don’t need equipment or storage space. If you run an online business writing code or doing web design, then you can make things work with minimal space. If you need somewhere to keep inventory or set up drafting or modeling equipment, though, a small rental may better suit your needs.
Coworking is a new workspace model, born out of the gig economy and startup culture, but despite its relative novelty, new coworking spaces are popping up throughout urban areas. But what are they?
Based on a membership or subscription structure, coworking spaces offer the bare bones – an internet connection, desk stations, printing, and often small networking areas, coffee, and other basic office features. But those are the least important aspects of these spaces. What really makes them work is these group workspaces can help you build your business network. They link you to other small business professionals and make networking an everyday activity.
Coworking spaces also help break down the isolation that comes with running a small business. By offering the experience of a more traditional work environment, participants in coworking spaces ascribe greater meaning to their work, leading to a higher level of commitment and productivity. When you work alone, particularly in a startup or other small business, it’s easy to lose momentum. Coworking spaces can keep you moving forward.
One Time Spaces
Even when running a small business, there will always be times when you’ll need to have a larger meeting, whether with investors or employees. Some coworking spaces will accommodate this, but that’s not always the most professional option. Instead, under the circumstances, the best option is often to rent a meeting space.
There are several advantages to renting a meeting space, including having access to a formal space, sizing options that allow you to fit the meeting room to the gathering, and even access to planners, catering, and other services you might need to make a good impression. In fact, these meeting spaces cater to small businesses that might otherwise operate out of a home office or similar space. They provide all the add-ons like whiteboards and coffee urns and you worry about the business side of things.
Small business owners should take advantage of the range of workspace options available to them, fitting the space to the professional activity. There’s no reason to shell out money to answer emails from your laptop, but renting a more structured space can help you gain an edge when you need greater focus or more formality.
Keep your options open.