Many mompreneurs start and run their businesses from home. After all, that's the goal of their business: to be home with their family. But as your business grows, you might decide to leave your home nest and move into professional office space. That was the case for my business, which just moved to an office after eight years of being home-based.
So far, the experience has been nothing short of wonderful. I'm excited about getting to work every day and wish there were more hours I could spend at the office. It's amazing to be in a place that really fosters the creative energy of my team. I am re-energized.
But the timing had to be right.
In the early years, my goal was to be home with my babies. Even if I had help, I wanted to be there when they woke up from a nap or to join them in the kitchen for lunch. My hours, like their schedules, were not dependable. Work was accomplished in bits and pieces.
Now that both of my kids are in school, I'm able to keep a more traditional schedule. I'm not sure what happened. But I suddenly reached a tipping point and realized that my home no longer fit my business. While Stroller Strides is usually very strategic, in this case I just took a leap into the new space. I share with you now some of the things you need to think of when it's time to leave home:
- This is where you are going to work on a daily basis. You want to make sure it's the right space for you. In most cases, your office will not bring you revenue. So it's important to make sure you can afford the added expense.
- It's not just the cost of the office you need to consider. It's everything that goes into keeping the office running: furniture, phone systems, computers and more. Ongoing, you may be responsible for the gas and electricity, trash, water, phone bills, etc.
- Plan conservatively, because you will probably have more expenses than you anticipated. You want to be sure you have the right space and the right amount of space. But you don't want to be locked into a long-term agreement if you need out or need to grow further.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Why do I need office space?
- What would I use it for?
- How much space do I need?
- How far do I want to commute?
- Will I need meeting space? Will clients come to see me?
- Do I need my own space or can I share space, such as an executive suite?
- What licenses or permits do I need?
- How much can I afford? Do I have the cushion to handle months when cash flow might be tight?
Find a commercial real estate agent who knows both your needs and the neighborhood. He or she can help you search for what's available and negotiate your lease.
The most important thing is that your business works, not where you work in your business. If you plan it right, the flight out of the nest is a great one.
Lisa Druxman is Entrepreneur.com's "Mompreneur" columnist and the founder and CEO of fitness franchise Stroller Strides. Druxman is also a nationally recognized speaker and author, and is considered an expert in the field of fitness, particularly pre- and postnatal fitness. She hosts a free monthly webinar during which she answers questions from fellow mompreneurs. If you are interested in participating, contact her at email@example.com.