Seeking the Right Office Space
ENTREPRENEURS Jim Venables and Andy Haywood have grown their officebroker.com company into a multi-million pound worldwide enterprise since launching it five years ago.
According to Venables, businesses looking to take on an office tenancy should apply a highly strategic and considered approach in both searching for the right premises and then managing the resulting space.
“Instead of jumping in feet first and taking the first available office space, we advise businesses to take their time, as the right location can make or break a business,” says Venables. “Being a good tenant is like being a good neighbour – not only will it bring social benefits to the company and its employees, but it can also reap considerable business benefits such as being the first to hear about new business leads or great deals with local suppliers.”
Venables offers the following advice to office tenants looking to find the right office space and make the most of their tenancy:
Consider a short-term and flexible notice-period which allows you to take the space you need right now but with the option to expand as your business grows.
Think of your employees’ needs as well as those of your business. Is the office close to public transport? Are there shops and leisure facilities in the local area?
Ensure there are ample parking facilities for your employees and clients.
Find out what extras are included in your tenancy such as access to meeting rooms, admin support or video conferencing. Are these included in the rental price or would you be better off opting for an office space where you can buy in these additional services on an ad-hoc basis?
Don’t just go for the first office you see. Shop around and consider different areas and styles of building to work out which will suit your needs best and give the right impression to customers. officebroker.com recommends viewing at least three different
offices before making a final decision. Remember to cover your office contents with an insurance policy – your business centre will only provide insurance cover for the actual building.
Get advice – before taking the plunge speak to an independent body
Meet the people who really count – developing a good relationship with the facilities or services manager, for example, can give you priority over other tenants.
Never underestimate the importance of developing a good relationship with reception staff- in a serviced office environment they are the first point of contact customers have with your organisation.
Anyone employed by the centre’s management company is a potential source of new business for you, and if you nurture your relationship with them they will often pass on new business leads.
Get to know your neighbours – attend any networking opportunities organised within the centre and make a point of introducing your company’s services to the other businesses. Not only can they pass leads on to you, but you may also be able to develop some mutually beneficial relationships or even pitch together to win new business.
If you are looking to expand or downsize, make sure you hear about additional office space in your building first by maintaining a good relationship with centre managers.
“There is much to be gained from locating the right office space and developing great relationships within it,” concludes Venables. “Take your time, do your research and think before taking the plunge. And remember that while good relationships can only benefit your business, poor ones can cause considerable harm, not only from an operational perspective but also in terms of reputation.”