You started your business on a shoestring – which included the need to work out of your home. Now business is booming and you have to decide which will be the best option: to stay put at home base or to expand into a commercial space?
Before you plunk down money and sign a commercial lease, make sure you’ve examined the pros and cons of leaving your home office behind.
- Extra space to support employees and/or product.
- A professional place to meet clients.
- Less distraction from family and home needs.
- Increased productivity from having a clearly defined work space and hours.
- A very popular, visible sign of business progress.
- The potential to draw in new customers from walk-by traffic.
- Hundreds to thousands of dollars in extra monthly expenses.
- Increased expenses due to commuting to work.
- Loss of tax deduction for a home office.
- The cost of furniture, utilities, fax lines, insurance and business tax permits.
- Decreased production from extra time spent locating a space and moving.
- Potentially less flexibility in your work schedule if you have to be on site.
Of course, every situation is unique and everyone’s priorities and needs are different. After weighing the pros and cons, seek out other small-business owners who have made the leap to learn from their experiences.
“I’ve done it both ways,” says seasoned entrepreneur Beth Dengel of Prosperity Shoppe. “I liked the quietness of the office when I had one, as well as the social aspect of going to work and seeing other people. There is more temptation to dress down when working at home, as well as being lonely sometimes. But the obvious ‘pro’ to working at home is in the money savings over renting an office space.”
Some commercial properties will allow you to lease a virtual office. These offices provide a small space for a receptionist, gives you a place to meet clients and is a good “test run” before you commit to a larger space.
If you are unsure or have decided to stay put at home for now, consider other options such as hiring virtual employees or renting storage space. Do not give into pressure to move before you feel in your gut that you are ready; when the time is right, you will know.