Keeping overheads low is important at first and you may think you will build up to getting an office later, but you might not get to later if the business doesn’t take off. Do you need people to be able to visit your business premises? If not you may not need an office. If they do need to visit you then an office can give your more credibility (depending on the office, of course) than asking customers or business partners to visit you at home.
Having said that, some clients work from home and they are quite happy to have others visit them there and people don’t think any less of them for working from home, so it may not be too much of a problem.
However, some people are very funny about this type of thing and won’t deal with anyone who doesn’t have a proper business address. This is quite strange though, since scams often appear legitimate because they have physical offices. Too many investment scams have disappeared from office premises easily but it is harder to disappear from home, so go figure.
A home address for your business can make you feel exposed
Another reason for operating out of office premises is security and peace of mind. You may not want to use your home address for business since it can still make you feel a bit exposed if your stationery has your home address on it, and you don’t know where your business cards and letterheads might end up or who might have access to them. This can make you apprehensive about giving your contact details to new business contacts and this can limit the potential for new business development.
A solution is to quickly change your business address to serviced offices where you could have your mail delivered and could rent offices for client meetings on a pay-as-you-go basis.
But whether you use your home address or a serviced office as your business, what’s more important here is that your clients know how and where to reach you. This is where a digital marketing and a professional looking website comes in. If you have an e-commerce site, an SEO company can help bring more customers to your site.
If you have a tight marketing budget, consult a reputable SEO firm about cost-effective PPC advertising campaigns for small businesses.
Operating your business from an office can help you separate work from home life
Having a home office does have benefits, like being able to deduct certain expenses because you’re using a portion of your home for your business. But working from a home office can also make it difficult to demarcate your work time from your home time. If you value the flexibility of being able to work at any time of day or night, which will help you manage your time better. In addition to this, you have to know when you are “at work” and when you are “at home”.
Working in a home-based business can affect your confidence and motivation
If you are at work in an office and you have a difficult telephone conversation with an irate customer it is less likely that you will let it bother you through the evening when you get home. If you take the same call when you are working at home it can be much more stressful because it is if this person has called you at home and violated your privacy and you tend to not let go of the bad feelings so easily.
An example of this is when you are in sales. It would be better to make calls from the office rather than at home. Cold calling can be quite scary and to be scared in your own home isn’t a good feeling. Also, it’s a lonely business and at the office there may have been some colleagues around to laugh off the difficult calls and get some perspective on it all. This is another benefit of having an office for your business; it can help to reinforce your belief that what you’re doing is okay and reduce the amount of doubt and self-criticism that you can indulge in when working totally alone.
So, office or home-based business?
Operating your business from home or an office each comes with positive and negative factors. Home is cheaper and more convenient but you have the issues of “always being at work” and the emotional side of working from your home. An office is more expensive but can look more professional and allows you to separate your work from home life. Both options can be made to work if you are aware of the issues and find ways to deal with or work around them.