This was a blog post written for Urbette, a startup where we matched like-minded businesses with space to share.
Fly the Coop: How to know your business is ready for premises
So, a few years ago you started a business out of your home. Maybe you manufacture knitted hats for cats, design kennels for handicapped dogs, or are a freelance accountant (specializing in businesses run by parents of talented children). Whatever your business does, you set up shop in your dining room or garage and took the first step to your dream career. That’s a huge thing! But you’ve started to outgrow your grassroots start, and you’re wondering if now is the time to take the leap and find premises for your business to grow in. But how do you know? Here are some tell-tale signs.
Boundary lines have become blurred and zigzagged
Everyone knows how important having work-life balance is to maintain a healthy state of mind (not to mention a healthy physical state!) Sometimes working out of your home can get in the way of that. For some people, not physically leaving work behind somewhere makes it difficult to stop working at a certain time like you would in an office or a shop. While it’s great that you have a career that you’re passionate about, it’s still important to have time for yourself and your loved ones! Setting up shop outside the home is a great way to keep work at work. Plus, it eliminates having new clients (i.e. strangers!) coming into your house.
Cat hats/sketches/spreadsheets have infiltrated the entire house.
You can see on your calendar that The Very Important Project is due tomorrow. But where were you when you were reading over those briefs? Oh, briefs, wait…the bathroom! If you’re finding documents or products behind the toilet or in the freezer, it’s time to find an office or shop to work out of. Preferably one with a fantastic filing system.
Your arms are too short
Metaphorically, of course – you’re perfect the way you are! But maybe your fledgling business has grown, and your reach isn’t quite long enough to help customers in faraway lands. By setting up premises, you’re able to have a business address (rather than giving someone in Germany your home address!) You can relocate to an area more central for your customer base or closer to your suppliers, but that’s still a reasonable commute from your home.
Talking to the cat you model the hats on seems normal.
Spending all day working from home knitting hats for cats leaves little time for human interaction. I’m by no means suggesting you leave Mr.Tibbles behind (take him with you!) but it wouldn’t be the worst thing to have a coworker or two to bounce ideas off or have lunch with. When you’re stumped creatively, having technical problems or just want someone to tell exciting news to, sometimes Mr.Tibbles just doesn’t cut it.
It’s a scary leap, I know. But it’s exciting as well, and it’s doable! To make it easier, consider cosharing with someone. Sharing space and resources can make the transition easier financially, plus having a likeminded business around means expanding your client base organically. So think about who your contacts are, and reach out to them! The first thing to do is start the conversation.