At some point, every entrepreneur has to choose whether to lease office space or work from home. This one decision can drastically impact the fate of your business, so we decided to give you the pros and cons of both to help you choose wisely.
While there are obvious reasons why entrepreneurs would want to work at home, it’s not always the best choice. If your business is better suited for it’s own office space, then the savings from your home office will not compare to the lost business you’ll encounter. But on the flip side, leasing office space too soon, can drain your wallet and drive you out of business. So, how do you choose?
If you’re just starting out, it’s smart to consider ways to save as much money as you can. Obviously having a home office is a much more affordable option. It’s also very convenient to wake up in the morning and not have to commute to work. And, most likely your family won’t mind having easy access to you during the day. Based on these factors alone, a home office may sound pretty good. But, only choose to work from home if you meet the following criteria:
- You work independently and require a minimal amount of group interaction.
- You primarily communicate with clients and partners by phone or email.
- You are self-motivated and highly disciplined when it comes to work. (Be honest with yourself on this one- if you’ll be lured into doing odd jobs around the house during work hours, a home office is not for you.)
- You have a separate space available for your office- that is not a part of your normal living area. (You must have one set place where you can focus on work and send a clear message to your family/roommate that you’re in work mode.)
- Your home has all the resources, equipment, and services your business needs.
- You have a permit and legal right to operate your business from your residence.
- You have a trusted meeting spot nearby where you can hold face to face meetings when necessary.
- You know your way around the web and are familiar with online tools that will keep you connected to the outside world.
On the other hand- There are clear benefits to launching your business in a professional office space. A “real” office makes you official in the eyes of most, and sends a clear message that you are serious about your business. It also gives potential customers and partners a chance to visit your office, meet with you, and feel comfortable doing business with you. Having a physical location can also result in walk-in traffic that you would have otherwise missed out on. As tempting as it is to place your name outside of a professional office space, only consider this option if:
- You are absolutely sure you can afford it and sustain it even when profits are low.
- Your business requires you to work closely with other people.
- You host a lot of meetings and require regular face to face time with clients, partners and staff.
- You have inventory to store and manage.
- Your business has several full-time employees.
- You are easily distracted and would not function well in a home work environment.
- Your primary customers expect you to have a fully staffed and functional office space.
- Your business relies on walk-in traffic.
- You have equipment, heavy machinery or an operations process that requires lots of space.
- You need a special commercial zoning permit or license for the type of work you do.
There are pros and cons to working from home and leasing office space, but both can be great options for entrepreneurs. The key is figuring out which one is best for you. Use the criteria above to help you decide which way to go. Don’t rush into making a choice, and don’t let anyone else influence your decision. Your business will reap the consequences if you make the wrong choice, so choose wisely.
And- Good luck!