When you are ready to make the move from running your business out of your home to a commercial office location, there are some important factors to consider. After all, you do not want the growing/expansion phase of your business to become more than you can handle. Moving to an office requires a large commitment of time, energy, and money. Here are four tips to make your business expansion smoother and more affordable:

Start Small:

When renting an office space on a limited budget, it is best to err on the conservative side. In many U.S. cities, there is a glut of commercial office space left over from the Great Recession and slow economic recovery. This means more office supply and more willingness on the part of property owners to lease smaller units. You can always expand later if needed, so start with something small enough for you to manage and afford.

Do Not Overcommit on the Leasing Term:

Many property owners will offer incentives for long-term leases; these include rent reductions, reduction/elimination of building maintenance fees, reductions in utility costs, among others. Be cautious about committing to a longer term, such as two or more years. Sure, you may believe now that your business will be in this new space for several years but there is far more uncertainty when your business is just starting out. After a year or two, when you are comfortable that this is the right space for you, then it might be time to consider a multi-year lease.

Shop for Affordable Office Furniture:

Office furnishings will be one of your largest upfront costs when renting commercial space. You will need desks, chairs, tables, and perhaps a couch or two. If you will be seeing clients/customers in your office, you cannot afford to have cheap looking furniture. You can, however, shop wisely for affordable furniture that still presents a good professional image. One of the best places to start is Craigslist, Backpage, and other similar websites. You may also want to check the classifieds of your local newspaper. These places are likely to have decent quality furniture available for good prices from either wholesalers or other businesses looking to get rid of some gently used furnishings.

Consider a Virtual Office:

One of the ways to ‘test the waters’ of having your own office without the long-term commitments and high upfront costs is moving to a virtual office. Virtual offices offer many of the benefits of having your own physical office; including:

  • A professional mailing address
  • Phone answering service
  • Furnished offices
  • Access to conference rooms
  • Use of telecom equipment

If you have a workforce that can complete most of their work at on the go, but you still want the professional location and image a commercial office can offer, an executive office center may be a good option for you.