Bob Carter used to work out of his home office, “I liked the idea of being my own boss and I had this picture in my head that I would make the sixty second commute to the computer in my socks and spend my day being focused and hyper-productive.”
Bob had good intentions. But he found himself distracted by his over-grown lawn, a mile-long “honey-do” list and his son's geometry homework. “All these things needed to be done. They all seemed important. I was always torn.”
Bob needed a “real” office, but his business had just gotten off the ground. He knew he couldn't handle a large rental commitment. Bob chose to move his business into an Executive Suite, sometimes known as an Office Business Center.
When I speak to entrepreneurs I often find myself extolling the benefits of Executive Suites because they make great transitional office spaces for start-ups. They get your business out of the house without tying you down to long-term lease commitments and large up-front capital investments. They are a wonderful “starter” office for a fledgling business. They make your business ”real” without all the hassles and financial headaches.
Executive Suites give you three big things - 1) more control over your cash flow 2) lots of flexibility for your growing business and 3) the opportunity to create a polished, professional appearance. If it's time to get out of your home office, Executive Suites might be a great option for the next stage of your business.
Get Just the Amount of Space You Need
An Executive Suite company typically rents an entire floor or two, in a well-located office building. They subdivide the space into a large number of offices for rent to individual businesses like yours. These individual offices range in size from about 100 square feet -good for one person - to several hundred square feet - good for up to five people or more.
Use Their Amenities Instead of Buying Your Own
These suites come with all the amenities. You will get top-of-the-line office equipment, telephone and voicemail, videoconferencing and high-speed Internet access. Executive Suites typically offer the very best and latest in technology. If you have clients meeting in your space, think of the impact of being able to videoconference during a meeting. Your start-up will look organized, well managed and on the cutting edge. Much better than presenting next to wet socks hanging off the TV set, right?
The suites are well dressed - carpeted and completely furnished, from the chairs in the waiting room to the stacks of copy paper in the supply closet. Very often, a receptionist is included in your rent. Secretarial and other administrative services are also available to you on an as-needed basis, so you only need to pay for those services when you use them. No need to take the time or make the commitment to hire a full-time secretary.
Make No Capital Investments
There are no up-front construction or renovation costs. There is no need to buy office equipment or furniture. You do not have to run to Staples and load up on office swivel chairs and laser printers. It is all included and this means less financial drain on your start-up.
Flexible, Short-Term Lease
These suites offer you total flexibility in the length of your lease term. This means you get to make arrangements based on your business and cash flow needs. You can rent these offices for six to twelve months at a time, which is the usual rental agreement. Or you can even go shorter term. Many executive suites will rent for a lease term as short as three months or even on a month-to- month basis. This feature is especially attractive to entrepreneurs like Bob who are just getting their businesses up and running and don't want to strap their business with a huge overhead at the onset.
And here's the kicker - More often than not, you can move in the same day. It can happen that quickly. No lengthy lease agreements. No protracted negotiations. No attorney fees. No meddling brokers. Just put on some pants, lock your front door and make the move.
Downsize or Expand On Demand
You will have flexibility in an Executive Suite. So, if your business expands, you can rent more space. If you need to downsize on short notice, you can alter your agreement. If you are in an industry that expands and contracts seasonally or in cycles, this is a great option that helps you be more in control of your cash flow.
Manage Your Cash Flow Easily
Executive Suites offer an all-inclusive monthly bill. This makes your bookkeeping easier. You will get a single invoice every month. It usually includes everything - heating, air-conditioning, electrical, cleaning, telephone, Internet, furniture. The whole kit and kaboodle on one bill. This simplifies your renting experience and helps you manage your cash flow over the long term.
Executive Suites are a great alternative to the home office. Still, there are two major issues that you should consider before making the leap. The first is that Executive Suites are almost always located in first-class office buildings. That means they are Class A, more expensive and in main business districts.
That may work beautifully for your business, if you are an accountant or an attorney, but maybe not so much if you are a video game designer. Most of these suites tend to be very mainstream, corporate and traditional. If you are of the more funky variety, then an Executive Suite may not represent you or your business well. Having said that, a number of smart Executive Suite owners are starting to open Executive Suites that are both funky in design and location.
The second consideration is that if you need space for more than ten people, an Executive Suite can start getting expensive. If you are bursting at the seams with 10 + employees, then this is probably not the solution for you.
Create A Clear Line of Division Between Work and Home
One of the big benefits of getting into an Executive Suite and escaping your Home Office From Hell is that you will have clearer boundaries in your life. More organization. Less chaos. When you are at your office, you will be focused on work and the day's tasks. When you are home, you can focus your attention on family and your household. The line of division is clear for everyone, most especially you.
No one knows this better than Bob, who has been out of his home office and in an Executive Suite for the last seven months. ”This is more like what I had imagined. I still work on my own terms and have the flexibility I had imagined when I started my business, but the boundaries are clearer for me and more simple for my family - when I'm at work, I'm at work. When I'm home, I'm home.”
Jeff Landers is a serial entrepreneur who has worked in commercial real estate since 1974. His company, Offices2share.com, helps small businesses nationwide make the leap from home office to “real” office with simple and cost-efficient alternatives. His advice has helped thousands of small businesses reach the next level of their development. You can reach him at Landers@offices2share.com.
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