In my last several posts I discussed the pros and cons of beginning a service or product oriented company.
In the next two posts, I will discuss the pros and cons of brick and mortar shops versus an Internet based business.
Some of these may seem quite basic, but with the economy the way that it is now there are certain things you should consider when determining where your office will be located.
In some cases, this is a non-issue. If you will be opening a restaurant, for instance, you certainly will not be doing so in your home.
In other instances, this could end up being something that you need to consider. Perhaps you aren’t quite sure just what it is you want to do. Or maybe you are leaning toward a company that could be located in your home OR in another location. For instance, if you are venturing into a child care business, where you will be either watching or teaching young children, you might be able to do this in your own home, or you may wish to set up a daycare setting in another space so it doesn’t invade your private, personal area.
Today, we’ll look at the pros and cons of opening a brick and mortar company.
- Work is at work, for the most part (though this is, of course, never the case!) You go to work each day, do your job at the job, and then you go home. Of course, when you own a business work always goes home with you, even if you intend for it not to! You can leave work at work if you have to.
- You have space. When you open up a brick and mortar company, you have plenty of space for your items, for your office, for supplies and products. If you are doing a product type business from home, you’ll have to consider where you will hold all of the products you intend to sell – you may, if you don’t go with a shop, need a storage shed or building.
- Deals are good now on office space. A while back I interviewed Amy Nichols, owner of Dogtopia, and asked her how she continues to do well during this recession. She, along with several other mothers interviewed in that series, discussed the lower lease rates of office space. “Some of the stores have had wiggle room with leases, ” she explained to me – which is great for those of you just starting out. Shop around if you are seeking a place for your company. Don’t jump at the first prospect, but compare, compare, compare! Now is the time to find a new space.
- Volume of business can increase potentially more than from a home office. Think about it, if you have an office space and a staff of ten you can certainly see more clients or get more done than if you work from home with an office space for one.
- Great deals on small offices. Perhaps you don’t need to set up a shop, but you need a small office space in which you can hold meetings or receive mail. These types of offices are becoming increasingly popular due to the amount of people who complete much of their work at home or on the road. Many of these offer office space, cafes, virtual assistants or real-live secretaries.
- Expense. Yes, this would top the list. An office space can be quite expensive, and all that goes along with office space (electricity, employees, equipment) just add to the cost. If you can start a business from home and then move into office space if you do well, this might be the best option.
- Expense again, in another sense. Not only is it expensive each month, but many rentals require a long term-meaning several years-agreement. Regus, the world’s largest workplace provider, says to shop around. “Right now, office space is cheaper because it is plentiful, but just because it’s a good deal doesn’t mean it’s the right time to committ to a long-term lease.” Rather, work out a deal with the landlord. You never know how the business will go, and you don’t want to be stuck paying for emnpty space should you need to close the doors.
- Commitment. If you open an Internet based business from home – say, doing some freelance writing or becoming a virtual assistant – you can pretty much do so on a fairly limited budget. And, if the business does not work, you might decide after a few months to pack it in, especially if you are losing money each month. If you own a brick and mortar shop, you are going to be more committed to this space because of the financial start up, monthly expenses, and potential long term lease. Make sure you have the money to back yourself up if something goes wrong or you don’t begin making money right off the bat (which, most likely, you will not!)
- Location. You need to make sure you find the perfect location for your shop. A bad location can break the bank. Look around the neighborhood. What other types of businesses are located just around yours? What is the neighborhood like at night, when shops close up? Who is walking up and down the street?
- Set hours, and then some. If you are opening up shop from 9-9 each day, you need staff (or yourself!) to be there to get the job done. While this can be great in many cases – you know when you work, the customer knows when you work, the employees know when you work – it can also backfire. You must know you can staff the office during these times. What if someone doesn’t show up? Quits? Then you are responsible.
- Potential poor hours at work. You might have to work during holidays in certain businesses, which means leaving the family behind. You’ll definitely have to work long hours when you start off (but this is the case with any business – the difference is that many of these hours will be away from home). Your business might be a night business (bar/restaurant), meaning you are out of the home during dinner time or sports activities.
In my next post I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of an Internet based business.