Business expansion: are you ready for a bigger office?

When we talk about business expansion, we could mean anything from moving into new markets, or hiring new members of staff, but in this case, we’re quite literally talking about what happens when you need bigger office to work in.

If you’ve done your business plan correctly, then growth shouldn’t really surprise you, and yet dozens of businesses still get things wrong, and either can’t grow when they need to or have to work in cramped conditions. It’s all about planning ahead.

Don’t let anything get in the way of growth

The main thing to remember is that growth is almost always a good thing for a business, but it’s critically dependent upon timing.

Expanding too quickly raises unnecessary costs that you may not ever really get back, and expanding too late may well mean you’ve missed the boat – and to carry on the nautical metaphor, you don’t get to ride the wave. This means that you need to be in a position to expand when that wave hits. You don’t for instance, want to tie yourself into an office contract that means you can’t easily move somewhere else or move to adjacent space. Similarly, if you’re in a remote location with employees commuting from surrounding towns, you may not be able to move without making some of their commutes particularly difficult, and that’s a major consideration you’ll need to make.

Think forward

Moving in itself can be a pain too, not to mention expensive, so you want to avoid that if possible, unless you’re a very small and flexible company. What you need to do then, when looking for somewhere in the first place, is to find somewhere that you can expand into. This isn’t always easy to do in desirable places where space is quickly snapped up, but retail parks are often ideal, and you can expand if you need to. There are some providers now that also offer flexible areas of both office space and storage, so you can scale up and down as you need, subject to the contract. The other option of course, if you can find a good price is to lease out somewhere that’s currently too large, but you know you’ll likely expand into in the not too distant future.

So, when you set up a business, or are thinking about moving somewhere else, try to keep the future in mind too. You might have seen a really cool space, perhaps with some quirky or traditional design, but if it’s going to tie you down, then it’s probably no good. And you should certainly not let something as trivial as your premises prevent your business from taking the next step.

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