Yes, having your own office is fun. You can sprawl out where you want, take lunch breaks, work in pajamas, host parties and meetings…the list goes on and on. There is a certain element of pride also, as if having your own space means you really made it.
Everyone who has lived in a city knows that one of the most expensive fixed costs is rent. In a place like New York City, rent alone can drain more than half your revenue. And it’s not just the price of your space -- it’s the cost of electricity, water, gas, internet, cleaning, and maintenance.
The good news is that small businesses do not need to have offices like Google’s (with foosball tables and scooters). In fact, in today’s digitally enhanced world having an office at all is far from necessary.
The following are alternatives for renting or owning your own office, so you can save money and grow your profits faster.
1. Share. Team up with other start-ups and share your space. Or ask a larger, more established company if you can rent a room from them. Not only will this significantly cut your costs, it will also help you develop relationships with other companies. You can exchange ideas, advice, and inspiration.
2. Work from home. It is amazing how much work gets done online. In some companies, people even instant message each other to say good morning and have a nice weekend. With video conferencing and social media tools, it is easy to connect your staff regardless of where they are physically sitting, so have them stay home some or all days to cut costs.
3. Use a neighborhood coffee shop. If J.K. Rowling could write all of Harry Potter at a coffee shop in Edinburgh, anybody can run a small business from a Starbucks. The price of a daily cup of coffee is much cheaper than rent, and coffee shops really don’t mind if you stay all day in your own cozy corner.
4. Because a member of a private club. Soho House and Adams Street are private members clubs in London that started to give budding entrepreneurs a place to work. Now, nearly every city offers spaces that are meant to serve as homes away from homes, or offices away from well...offices. These places are set-up with lots of plugs, meeting rooms, conference facilities, cinemas, restaurants, and bars so you have everything you need to do your work and impress your visitors.
5. Join the pop-up fad. We’ve all seen them -- the thousands of Halloween costume stores that seem to appear out of nowhere, airport stalls that have a new owner every time you take a trip, storefronts in cities that always seem to have a sample sale or unique business. The rationale is that if products can come and go, or are only relevant at certain times of year, why can’t stores be temporary and only exist when they are needed? If you are selling a product or service, rent a space for a few months, sell some goods, and then poof -- disappear!