Your little startup business has grown, and you're ready for more growth. But before you can hire a few employees and really expand, you need to rent your first office suite. This process can be a little intimidating the first time around, but you'll make it through — successfully — if you follow these tips.
1. Make sure you have a clear, growth-focused business plan.
Saying "we're going to grow" is not enough. You need to have a clear plain laid out that specifies how you are going to grow, how much you're going to grow, and what income that growth will generate. Based on this plan, you can figure out how much you can afford to pay in rent, which will determine which office suites you'll look at. Too many startups end up over their heads in rent because they over-estimate how quickly they're going to expand. You don't want this to be the death of your company!
2. Be wary of having to make too many renovations.
Especially if you are looking at lower-priced office suites, you're sure to come across a few that need renovations before you move in. Being willing to do some basic renovations like painting or replacing the carpet may open you up to great deals. But you should generally avoid renting a space that needs a total overhaul before it would suit your needs. Even if you get it for a steal, having to wait months for the renovations to be made can put your growth plan on hold.
3. Know your brand.
By this time, you probably have an established brand style. If you want to maintain that style and personality as you grow, then your office suite needs to reflect it. For instance, if you have a modern and cutting-edge tech company, you don't want your office to look plain and clinical.
4. Be generous with space.
While you do not want to rent a 3,000 square foot office if your growth plan involves adding just four or five employees, you should be a bit generous with your space. You don't want to end up adding two or three more employees than planned and then having to move offices before your office suite rental lease is up. Err on the side of more space, not less — within reason.
For more tips and advice, speak with your real estate agent. They can tell you what has worked for others in your situation.