Whether you're moving from a home office, a virtual setup or co-working space, opening your first office represents a major milestone in the development of your business. While it adds levels of complexity compared to what you've been doing, the benefits are clear. When you are ready to make the move, here is what you will need to do.
1. Choose a Pool of Buildings
The first step in opening a new commercial space is figuring out roughly where you want it to be. Choose a city and a neighborhood (you might hear the term "submarket" bandied about) that suits your and your employees needs while also matching the needs of the business. Once you've done that, decide which types of buildings you want to occupy -- high-rise offices, low-cost neighborhood offices, creative space, or campus space.
2. Find the Right Space
After you've narrowed your choices down to a neighborhood and a general type of building, the next step is to figure out which specific building will work. Look for properties with vacant space that is large enough to suit your needs and pricing that suits your budget. It's even better if you can find one that will also have space for expansion.
3. Confirm It's the Right Space
Before signing a lease, make sure that the space you choose will actually work for your business. Usually, this means having an architect or space planner either walk through it or review the plans to make sure that you can get the right layout within the space's external dimensions. For example, if you want a large, open area in the middle, a long and narrow space might not work for you.
4. Lease and Build the Space
Once you've confirmed that the space will work for you, have your tenant representative submit an offer on your behalf to see what the landlord can do for you. Typically, the process leads to a negotiation, which will end with a final lease document that you will sign. Once you sign it, things start moving forward, including the process of building your space.
5. Furnish and Lay it Out
Throughout the building process, your space planner and your furniture and fixtures providers will also be helping to lay out and design the space's interior. Given the rapidly changing nature of most businesses, you might choose to do more with furniture and less with construction. That makes it easier to reconfigure the space in the future.
6. Build Your Staff
Along with leasing a new office, you might also need to fill it. At a minimum, you might need to add people to run the space -- like receptionists, office managers, and the like. If you start the hiring process before you open the space, you will be ready to start working from the first day that you move in. Given that you're about to be taking on a rent bill, the sooner you can get the space working for you, the better!
7. Move In... And Get to Work
Finally, once everything is done, you are ready to move in and begin working from your new office. While the new office gives you new space, a new visual representation of your company and other related benefits, it also leaves some important things unchanged. Ultimately, your business should have the same customers (although it's ready to add more!), the same mission, and the same vision. Focus on them and, soon, you'll be opening another new commercial space!
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