Choosing the right space for your business

By Donna Surtees, Centre Manager

Looking for premises is an exciting time for any business, especially if it’s your first. But you shouldn’t be swayed by the first place you see, do your research, shop around, and see what’s on offer.

There are a lot of things to consider when looking for a commercial property. Here are a few tips on finding your perfect space.

Do you actually need a dedicated space?
It was always considered essential for a business to have a dedicated work space, but with today’s technology many entrepreneurs can function perfectly well from home. Ask yourself, do I really need an office? If working from home causes distractions, then why not try a co-working space, there are lots of business centre’s that offer this facility now. Of course at some point your business may grow and a space of your own will be a necessity.

Location, location, location
The location of your business is one of the most important aspects when it comes to finding premises. Consideration should be given to how easy it is for you and your staff to get there, not to mention your customers. Check out public transport, and the current foot fall in the area, especially if your business relies on attracting drop in’s or window shoppers.

It’s also a good idea to check with the local council for any development plans for the area, as this could create new business opportunities for you. Look around, is there somewhere close by to go for a coffee or lunch, is there a bank, or Post Office close by, all services you’re likely to need. But most importantly check out the competition, are there already too many businesses of a similar nature to yours or alternatively are there any that may complement it? All things to consider before you commit.

Deciding how much space you require
You may find it difficult to work out how much space you need, however a good landlord should be able to give you some guidance. Start small and build up as required. You don’t want to be paying for unused space. If you plan on taking on more staff in the next six months, check how easy it would be to expand should you need to grow, or indeed downsize. Moving to an office on the same site would be a lot easier and cost effective than relocating all together.

It’s not just the rent you need to budget for, remember some premises may be subject to Business Rates. Check with the landlord for any additional costs and agree up front who pays for repairs and who carries them out. Consider renting managed space as this allows you to focus fully on your business instead of arranging servicing and repairs.

The office
When looking at an empty shell it’s sometimes hard to envisage what the space would look like as a working office, but some practical things to check include: ventilation – do the windows open? Is there sufficient natural light? What is the internet access like? Also check the condition of the office as you may be charged for any maintenance problems if you were to vacate. Does the landlord offer any security measures or do you need to provide your own?

Is there any parking provision and is it free or is there a cost? It is one thing your visitors finding your office, but if they find it hard to park, and then have to pay, this may cause you problems. So don’t just check it has a parking space for you, but also sufficient for your staff and visitors too!

Additional services and support
Taking premises within a business centre can have its advantages, as they usually provide additional services such as a reception, franking of mail, photocopying, telephone answering and meeting rooms. Here at the BIC we aim to go one step further, providing a wide variety of business advice and guidance for businesses at every stage as well as regular networking events and workshops. All of which can assist you in achieving a professional image for your business.


Sign up to our newsletter