Monday, October 12, 2009

Leaving the kitchen table

When should you move from your home into office space?

In the early stages of your business when you are working out of your house you can keep your costs low and spend time making absolutely sure that entrepreneurship is the path you want to take. However, most entrepreneurs wake up one day, look at the pile of files spread all over the kitchen table, and wonder if it’s time to move into real office space.

Growth is the best reason for moving into new digs. You are seeing more clients or selling more products and the cash flow is good. Expanding out of your home office and into regular office space at this time helps to solidify your growth and sets you up for the next phase of business. Getting out of your home and into a dedicated space allows you to focus clearly on the core of your business. You will find you can be more productive without the distractions of television, family interruptions and unplanned visits from well-meaning friends.

“Real” office space can provide a boost to your image and marketing efforts. If you are meeting with clients, suppliers and colleagues in a room with a view to your laundry, you are not making the best impression you could. Clients expect to talk with you without hearing your children crying or smelling your pets. Image is especially important for solo entrepreneurs; you are your brand.

Shared space situations, like business incubators, provide a way for you to have real office space and to share in amenities like reception and mail service. Entrepreneurs who use shared resources can create a more professional and polished image than they would otherwise be able to afford. An additional benefit of getting out of your home office and into regular office space is increased visibility and networking opportunities. Getting out of your house and into an office can be an important step to becoming fully integrated into the business community.

About the author: “Karen Southall Watts has been training and coaching entrepreneurs for over a decade. She teaches business courses for Bellingham Technical College.”

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