We all have to start somewhere and when we started up our first stationery supply company we started small. In fact when I say we, I mean I. It was just me!
The first challenge I faced, as many small businesses do, was finding somewhere to base the business from that was cheap and practical.
Here are my money saving ideas for setting up your first office. Things that I have learnt along the way.
Working from Home
Surely the cheapest place to start a business is from home. No need to find office space and consume vital start up monies in rental expenditure. It’s cheap, flexible and there are no travel restrictions. You can work till midnight and beyond and still be home in 2 minutes. Install a separate telephone line and who would know?
Answer an important phone call in your pyjamas and speak to that important Client whilst putting your kettle on! And if you have children at home there is no need for a child minder – providing you can keep them quiet!
Getting out of the House
If you don’t want to work from home think of other places you can work cheaply. You only have to look at the Author of Harry Potter J K Rowling for the best inspiration of all. She famously penned many large parts of her books sitting in a coffee shop using their wireless Internet facilities.
There is nothing wrong with using this approach to working. For the price of a latte she was able to sit there warm and dry while she worked and even had a bit of human interaction and could use the toilets!
Now this approach may not be for everyone, but it does have its merits, and goes to show that it can be done and at virtually no cost. There are many other places offering free wireless connections in great locations that would be lovely to work in, so why not try that as your first option!
Borrow Some Desk Space
If however you are unable to use the facilities of home, then the next best option could be to speak to a friend who has their own business and ask if you could use some of their space for free. They may be obliging but if not, perhaps you could negotiate a very cheap and non contractual flexible term with them. They might not feel the need to go through the financial references and securities that other places might require. Depending on the relationship you have, hopefully they might take a lenient attitude in trying to help you by being open, flexible and possibly extending payment terms to you. However be careful because not paying them could end up in tears and losing a friend as well as your business idea.
Conversely there could be mutual benefit by the two of you working in close proximity. You could share transport costs by travelling together and you might be able to offer your friend or colleague a little time in covering for lunches or even keeping an ‘eye’ on their staff. After all you have no vested interest in their business, so could give an impartial view on their staff’s activities and working practices. Of course this is by no means your role but if your friend values your opinion, this would give them a view of their business through a different set of eyes, which might prove really useful to them.
Using a Virtual Office
If you don’t want the expense of an actual office but want to give the impression of being well established, using a virtual office service is something to consider.
Basically you work from home or a coffee shop, but use the services of a virtual office provider, who gives you the use of their address and a phone messaging service.
Obviously there is a charge for this service, and it does rely on you being able to pop in to collect any post, but if you receive little in the form of mail and do not ever need to see clients face to face this is a great option.
Some virtual offices do have meeting rooms you can hire at a discount rate too, so if you did need to see a client you could do that at the premises.
Using Serviced Offices
Serviced offices are another step up again. Here you get a dedicated office, phone and internet connection and often a reception and telephone service and sometimes basic office furniture too.
This can be a way of giving the impression of a well established business as you can put your telephone number and the address of the serviced offices on all of your documentation like your website, business card, invoices etc.
Many serviced offices provide receptionists who will take telephone messages for you, whereby you only pay for the number of telephone messages received.
There are many of these serviced offices available so you just need to find one near you and negotiate the terms for the services you required. Some also offer a fax receiving service, meeting room options and other facilities too.
Obviously this comes at a cost, but if you have got the cash to fund this type of office set up
Once you have your office and telephone numbers set up (and possibly your website), all you need are some orders to get to the next stage!
Hopefully my money saving ideas for setting up your first office will help get you going – Good Luck
If you have any questions about how I / we got started, or anything else officey please do get in touch, I / we’d love to hear from you.
If you found this blog post useful please share it online, or leave your comments in the box below.
Many thanks for taking the time to stop by and read our blog – Billy’s Brag.