An office isn’t really required in this day and age as with the right technology teams can collaborate from home. For example, staff can use Skype to communicate with each other and share desktops, or use cloud services to share documents etc. A virtual office can also be used to present a professional image, to receive business mail and to host meetings.
A Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone landline can also be set up and diverted to any phone. However, sometimes an office may offer more productive working practices if home life is a bit hectic and will also make it easier to work with staff face to face. Some customers or clients may also prefer to see a physical office.
Again, it depends what you are doing. All great businesses we see today had their beginning from a garage, bedroom or kitchen.
A useful approach is to work out how much return/ income you are likely to get on each high value investment in your business. Apply this approach to the decision of getting an office. If you think that an office will bring extra income or save some other costs, then the answer is yes, you should go for an office.
This depends on the nature of your business. A retail or manufacturing business will require premises, and the owner should work from these to ensure you are in touch with the business. You may well be able to run a service business from a home office, particularly given the internet and use of cloud-based software and communication tools. Sometimes a business may need the additional credibility of a non-home base – in the case of meetings, for example.
A solution may be found to this by use of short term serviced office space or meeting rooms, membership clubs or sub-letting a desk and use of meeting room from another small business.
I once read a business manual by a successful businessman who recommended starting out in the poshest office you can afford so as to impress your prospective clients. It worked for him! Here, in the real world, I would suggest you don’t pay for space unless it’s really necessary.
Many service businesses start from home and only move into rented office space when they start taking on staff. Cash is king in the early days, so if you can conserve cash this way it’s a good idea – and there are even some tax breaks for Sole Traders running a business from home.
This depends on the business and the people involved, but offices will add cost. At the outset there is nothing wrong with working from home, but do consider where your customers are based and how you’re going to meet them.
You may find that office space will help you focus on the business at hand, or that it’s necessary due to the workforce, the products you’re selling, or services providing.
Unless the business absolutely demands an office, work at home as long as you can to keep costs down.
But a good alternative nowadays is to mix working at home with hiring a serviced office that you can use as and when you need it eg meeting customers.
Most service businesses can be run from home. Keep your costs to a minimum while getting going. Beg, borrow, (but do not steal!), to get as much as you need for as little cost as possible.