Should you Look for Shared Office Space for your Small Business?
The cost of commercial real estate can be a serious budget eater for small businesses. Many entrepreneurs choose to adopt a home based business model for this very reason, but for some businesses a brick and mortar office location is a necessity and not a “nice to have”. For these business owners, it seems that the cost of having physical offices will just have to be worked around. However, that may not always be the case.
Shared office space can significantly reduce the costs of having a separate office. It is not uncommon nowadays for two or more small businesses to share a single communal office space. While this can create some extra considerations to be worked around, such as who gets the copier at what time, and who has to refill the coffee maker, provided that you are able to work with the other business in order to arrive at a mutually agreeable division of responsibilities the cost benefits can be a major boon to a business with limited resources. In particular if a business employs only a small number of people, the cost of acquiring a fully sized office can be overkill, wherein the business is paying for more space than it is using.
Community business incubators often have shared office space available. Business owners should be sure to take advantage of resources available to them on a local level. SCORE programs and other business incubators will often have programs wherein they offer free or reduced cost office space to local business as part of their support programs. For business owners who would otherwise have to rent corporate spaces for themselves, these programs represent a potentially major recouping of what would otherwise be lost revenues.
Think critically about reasons why shared space might not work for your business model. While shared office programs can be great for small businesses since they allow them to cut down a major source of overhead, if a business really needs its own space to properly perform and grow, then it is a mistake to commit to sharing simply to save on some costs. For example, a business that employs a full sales floor performing calls all day may cause issues when shoehorned into the same space as another business. Don’t stifle your production in the name of cutting corners.
Photo Credit to Andy Doyle on Flickr