Business First | Office space guide for start-ups and SMEs

How start-ups and SMEs can choose the right office space

01 Feb 2016 –– News
Choose the right space to make your business grow

The importance of choosing the right office space

Choosing the right office space for start-ups and SMEs is imperative. This doesn’t only hold for start-ups and SMEs, this is also true for blue-chips and FTSE 100s. However, for new businesses and small to medium enterprises, this is particularly important.

Larger businesses, can to an extent, rely on their reputation to attract staff and clients. Young businesses don’t have this luxury.

Start-ups and SMEs must ensure that their place of work is a great place for employees to work in. As well as being an equally great place for guests, clients and potential investors to visit.

When choosing the right office solutions for a young business, here are the most important things you need to consider.

Know your business

This might seem obvious. You might be thinking, ‘I already know my business, it’s my business.’ But this is more than just knowing your staff and what it is you do.

Before choosing office space you need to have a good idea of if and when your team will be expanding. Or at least know if you have plans for your team to expand.

You should also be aware of how sensitive your business and industry are to rapid changes in the market, and how this might affect your company in the short term.

Can you absorb a hit to revenue for a month or two, or will it leave you needing to make redundancies and downsize your offices? How likely is it that seasonal slumps etc. might happen?

Furthermore, might you expect a period of rapid growth, seasonal or otherwise?

All these things, and more, need to be considered before you choose the right office space for your start-up or SME.

Flexible space with room to grow

Does the office space that you’re considering renting have the ability to accommodate the growth you plan for your company? If not, then is that office worth leasing?

Also something to consider is the layout of the office. Is it open plan? Do you want open plan? Does it allow for more desks to be added within the same space if necessary? Are there quiet, smaller offices for you and your managers?

Have you considered a shared office, or a co-working space? These options can be great for start-ups and small businesses, both in terms of reducing costs, and ensuring that you and your staff are around like-minded people with whom you can get the creative juices flowing.

These sort of arrangements offer the opportunity for future growth without being tied down to an expensive or fixed lease to begin with. They can also lead to interesting and unexpected, profitable business relationships.

Whatever office space you choose, make sure that it allows you to scale up and down as necessary without tying you into a long term contract or seeing you need to move locations every year or so.

If the office provider you choose to go with allows the option of staying in the same building but moving to larger or smaller offices at short notice, this could be perfect.

Does it reflect the image you want for your business?

By way of an example; a solicitor might not be best placed in a large open plan space, occupied mainly by loud creative businesses. This may not reflect well when potential clients visit. It also may not be the environment most conducive to being at peak productivity.

Whatever industry you’re in, it’s important to ensure you’re in the right building and office space for your business. Shabby lobbies and untidy facades aren’t acceptable anymore. Why would you rent an old and decrepit building when you can get serviced office space with state of the art facilities and professionally staffed lobbies at very reasonable rates?

Ensuring that the office you’re in projects the right image will help you to sell yourself to prospective clients and investors. It will help to attract and retain the right calibre of staff to ensure you move forward. It will also encourage those staff to be more motivated, creative and productive.

Does it have the right character?

If you’re a creative marketing agency, you don’t want to be in some stuffy, staid, windowless offices that were last redecorated sometime in the 20th Century.

Make sure that the office you choose has the option for you to personalise it to be a place that you and your staff want to work.

It has been proven that offices with natural light improve productivity. Choosing the right colours is also important.

Many people spend more time at work than at home, so having an office space that is a happy and productive place to be in will help you to attract and retain well motivated, productive employees.

Places to meet

When choosing your office space, it’s important to ensure that there are sufficient places for you to use as meeting areas.

Whether theses be break-out areas for your staff to use to get away from their desks for ten minutes, or boardrooms and meeting-rooms for you to use to pitch and meet with clients, it’s important that spaces like these are available.

Many office space providers will offer boardroom and meeting-room facilities for hire, helping you to reduce the cost of your office space by not needing to pay for space you rarely use, until you need to use it.


It’s important that you select an office in the right location for your business.

You need to be aware of how close it is to local transport links. The atmosphere in the building. Is it a growing area? Does it have a secure digital infrastructure? What standard and how close are the local amenities?

The location of your chosen offices and the ease of getting to them are important factors to consider, as they are definitely things that potential staff will consider before accepting a job with you. And getting the right staff is imperative for growth.

Having the right location will also encourage prospective clients and investors that your business is a safe bet to work with and invest in.

One other area that location can impact is the amount of rent you pay for your office space. Don’t make the mistake of paying too much to be in a prime area, when somewhere cheaper but equally attractive would be more suitable for your budget. Falling into this trap can hamper growth or even see your business enter into real financial difficulties.


If you work alone or in a small team, co-working can be enjoyable and encourage creativity and productivity.

Ensure that the offices you choose are surrounded by the right people and businesses to help you thrive – they might even benefit from having you around too.

By doing this, you can stumble upon opportunities for new business, new ideas, new staff and new partnerships. All things that wouldn’t have happened if you were in the wrong place.

In addition to the opportunity for accidental discoveries, studies have found that friendships and connections at work lead to more creativity, motivation and productivity. It’s a win-win.

The right office space for start-ups and SMEs

Whatever your needs, and wherever you are, if you’re a young business, Business First might have the right office space for you.

We have state-of-the-art sites across the Northwest with a host of great businesses already occupying them who could be your new neighbours.

So if you’re a start-up or an SME looking for the right office space, why not give us a call and drop in for a tour of one of our sites today? We’re confident that our serviced offices with flexible leases and simple scalability provide the perfect environment for SMEs and start-ups to grow.