For the soloist, once business starts to take off, there comes a time you need to decide whether to grow your business or keep it simple. Will you take on staff? Will you remain at home or move to bigger premises?
Over the last eight years, I have nurtured my web design business in the comfort and security of my home. It has always been a goal to grow my business to a team of five to ten staff to allow me to do what I love and still have the lifestyle.
I wanted to keep the office close to home, yet small enough to have all the benefits that a small business allows but large enough that we could all take holidays, or be sick, and have someone to back us up.
Many people have advised me to stay at home as long as possible and that I would be mad to move out and take on the overheads and complications of business premises.
But… only recently I took the plunge, leaving the nest and moving into commercial premises.
So why move, why leave the comforts of home behind and grow your business?
1. Life balance
The need to separate work from home for two reasons: firstly, I am a workaholic; and secondly I’m in my early 30’s and plan to start a family soon. I want to maintain a healthy work life balance for me and my family and can’t see any other way to do that, other than to separate my business from my house. I want to grow both and don’t personally feel that can happen under the one roof!
2. Time off
Recently the whole team was struck down with the ‘flu, my staff could take time off away from the office, but when I was sick, my staff were here, in my house and I couldn’t really wander around in my PJ’s, doing the dying thing. So to have the office away from home means I can take time off when I want to or have to.
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As we are growing, we have begun to attract larger clients, which is great. Unfortunately, there is still a perception out there among some larger companies that if you work from a home office, you may be gone tomorrow or your work may not be of a high standard. This can be true whether you work from home or a commercial premises, but the perception, right or wrong, is still there at times.
Although we are a small team of three, to take my business to the next level means more staff, which means more desks, chairs and computers, all needing space. Its time for more…
Having a commercial premises means an increased ability to attract and keep quality customers and staff. It all comes back to perception!
So how do you leave to grow your business? Firstly, I needed to decide where I wanted to be located, not too far from home but somewhere easily accessible to clients. Then find the right premises, not easy, it had to be a certain size to allow for future growth but not too big that we would initially feel lost in a huge space. It had to be in our budget and have some comforts of home such as heating, cooling, kitchen and toilet. Believe me you would think these things would be standard…guess again.
You then need to negotiate the lease, deal with real estate agents and solicitors, this can take some to-ing & fro-ing!
Then you can get the utilities connected…this process should be renamed to – “I can’t believe they can mess something so simple up”…but in the end it all came together and we co-ordinated connecting everything all in time for the move!
Word of warning though, don’t pick AFL Grand Final weekend to move! All those willing helpers suddenly disappear, but we still have a couple of helping hands and a truck so we are ready to go. Into the big wide world, into a space of our own.