Choosing office space can be a difficult task when the budget is tight.
There are always trade-offs between features that leave you with the challenge of deciding what is most important to the future of your business.
Balancing the expense of office space versus office furnishings is a decision that some managers struggle with. As a rule, the space should take priority, and that’s true for several reasons.
For Your Customers To Find You… And Like You
There’s a reason the old real estate adage is that the three most important things are location, location, location. There’s no doubt that where your office is located plays a huge part in how well your business does.
For example, there are countless options in a huge market like San Diego commercial real estate, but the best ones are located in exactly the places where you would expect–near high-traffic areas and in places where customers can find them.
Of course, sometimes you can have the location but lack the quality.
Customers and clients want to see nice surroundings when they pay you a visit, so just the location isn’t enough. Make sure you’re getting a quality location that has both the location and the quality. Skip the luxurious leather chairs. Be thrifty in how you stock the place.
Put your money where it counts.
For Access To Things You Need
A frequent mistake managers make is assuming that a facility that doesn’t actually manufacture anything has no need to be located near any particular support facilities.
They understand that furniture factories should be near timber-producing areas and even that doctors’ offices are best located near hospitals, but they don’t see a parallel for a business that is largely inwardly focused.
That’s a mistake.
Location is very important in terms of functionality.
The cheap office off the beaten path may have dependability issues with internet service. You may be located miles from your accountant, post office or other shipper–or even restaurants for your staff to eat in. You won’t keep good workers if they’re forced to brown-bag it every day.
There could be crime problems in the area.
It could be frequently cut off from road access with flooding from spring rains.
In short, remember the hidden costs of a supposedly cheaper location.
For Saving Your Money
Not every budget with the same dollar figure is the same budget.
If you are spending more on furniture and fixtures and less on office space than a company with a similar allocation, you will end up with less money later on.
Sometimes the discussion is distorted if a company rents space instead of buying, because you don’t build any equity. Managers may feel that whatever they pay on a lease is sunken money that they’ll never recover, so the less they spend, the better. Likewise, they believe that their furniture and fixtures are durable and will be usable at a new location, so they might as well invest more in them.
However, that doesn’t capture the full profile of what happens.
The argument can’t be framed within the context of eventually relocating, and it can’t be confined by implying that the various options are revenue-neutral. Remember that better office space creates better business and generates more returns than a bad location.
Remember too that even good furniture will eventually depreciate to nothing and need to be replacement, and the savings are likely to be negligible.
Choosing a location for an office is not a decision to be made lightly or with a one-dimensional examination of factors. It needs to incorporate all the costs and revenues associated with a particular location.
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