Even with the strongest of entrepreneurial spirits, you were probably daunted by the thought of going out on your own when you started your business. But after successfully running your business out of your house comes the next big, nerve-wracking step: moving your home-based business to its own commercial space.
Are you ready for the move? Maybe you don’t feel 100 percent there yet — but these are a few ways of knowing that the move is inevitable and that you are more than ready for it.
You’re Running Low on Space at Home
Let’s face it, your home sufficed when you first started out because demand wasn’t that great. But now that more and more people are interested in what you do, you need a little bit of room to spread out.
The spare bedroom you turned into a home studio to create artwork is not large enough for you to make as many pieces as you need to, and you’re running out of storage space for all the product; however, you can’t scale back production because you need to keep up with demand. It’s time to start looking for a retail space with a studio in the back so you have room for both production and display.
On the other hand, you might offer a service, whether it’s accounting or massage. Seeing clients out of your home worked when there was only a handful of them, but now that you have back-to-back appointments throughout the day, it would be nice for you to have a comfortable lobby or waiting room for them. It’s inevitable when you’re completely booked that someone will get there a little early or you’ll be running a little behind. Ideally, you might even find a waiting room with a kitchenette where clients can have some refreshments — it will be a lot more comfortable than having them help themselves from your kitchen at home.
You Need to Set More Boundaries
When your workload was small, it was nice to be able to work from home because you could balance your professional life and personal life how you saw fit. It didn’t matter if you were doing a few chores between conference calls or picking up your laptop to finish a few tasks late at night. But when your workload gets to be so great, having a commercial space outside your house will help you better manage leaving work at work and home at home.
This doesn’t have to mean you completely check out when you leave the office or shop at the end of the day. You can still respond to email, make calls to clients or get work done from home — but you won’t be constantly juggling the way you are when home life and work life are inseparable.
Just as importantly, having a home-based business might become inconvenient for the people who share your home as you take on more and more work. Your roommate or neighbors didn’t mind having clients stop by for appointments when it was just one or two a day, but now it’s sometimes seven or eight people coming and going. Maybe your spouse was fine with the baking in your home kitchen when you just had a few orders a week, but now it seems as if your kitchen is in a constant state of production. It’s definitely time to find a separate place for your work life so that home life can go back to normal.
You Need Collaborative Space
As business has picked up, you’ve had to hire help. In the beginning, having everyone work remotely was just fine. But now that there is greater demand for your products and services — or you need to expand your range of products and services — it’s become necessary for face-to-face collaboration among your team.
In this case, your home might be too small or inconvenient to have your staff there every day. Everyone needs a cubicle or similar workstation, not just a place at your dining room table. Also, as previously noted, you’re trying not to inconvenience your neighbors, roommate or family. This is a time when having a studio, retail shop or office is necessary for the growth of your business.
You Know What You Want and Are Financially Ready for the Investment
As your home-based business has grown, you might have daydreamed about what you would want from the ideal commercial property you’ll eventually buy or rent. That’s great — it means you are developing a solid idea of what you want or need. Characteristics of the ideal property might include lots of foot traffic, a location in a safe community, proximity to schools, proximity to restaurants or nightlife, proximity to your home (hey, you’re the boss and you want a short commute), lots of available parking or easy access to major highways.
Come up with a list of your priorities. Know what is a deal-breaker and what you would be willing to compromise on. This will save you the long-term hassle of moving into a space and realizing it’s not right for your needs, which is a real risk you might face if you try to select a commercial property before running your business for a few months. Having priorities will help you and your real estate agent find the property that best fits your needs.
You should also be ready to afford the investment. Buying or renting a commercial property is going to add a lot of expense to your business, but it has the potential to help you grow by having greater exposure, offering more products, serving more customers and accommodating an efficient staff. If your business is bringing in enough revenue to cover the cost of rent or a mortgage, it’s time to take the leap. It’s onward and upward from here.