You’ve got the product, the pricing, and the customers. Now it’s time to hang the proverbial shingle and get some office space right?! Well, maybe.
To office or not to office
For many SaaS companies, an office may be an unnecessary expense. Before you sign a lease and start buying up cubicles, consider if you even need the space. Lets look at some pros and cons:
Work life balance is a lot easier to master when you don’t work at home. An office gives you a space to work, and a clear time to stop working. Some people even find they’re more productive in an office setting. You can’t duck out to mow the lawn or do those dishes afterall.
A physical address is great for meeting with potential customers or associates.
An office space restricts your hiring pool to those people that can get to your office. That amazing programmer in Dublin that you’ve been courting, he’s probably not going to want to move to Your Town.
Cost. There’s no way around it, an office costs money. Not just in rent, there’s also furnishings and utilities to consider.
If you’re a team of one, a home office is definitely something you should seriously consider. Is there a space in your house that you could take over? Anywhere will work, it doesn’t have to be large, and it doesn’t have to be available 100% of the time (although if you use a space exclusively for work, in the US you may qualify for a tax credit!). For example, a rarely used guest room can make a great office.
Wherever it is, invest in touches that make it feel like a real office, a nice chair and desk, maybe a white board. And make sure there’s a door to shut so you can focus on the task at hand.
If you’re going to go for it, make sure you find an office space that suits your needs. Before looking at spaces, make a list of must haves and wants. For example, you probably need a bathroom, but maybe a full kitchen isn’t necessary. Think about lighting, do you do your best work in natural light? Better put windows on the list. Think about location and your commute. Consider what’s nearby. Also decide how much control you want to have over the space. Is not being able to paint the walls a deal breaker?
Once you have your list, start searching! A quick google search will start turning up listings, craigslist and Realtor.com are also great places to get started. Depending on where in the universe you’re located, this may require the help of a professional. There are some places (particularly big cities) where having a realtor or leasing superhero on your side will open closed doors and be well worth the money. Same goes for having a professional look over any contracts before you sign them.
Think you’ve found the winner? Just as if you were buying a house, try to check out the property at different times of the day, read everything twice, sleep on it, and throw some salt over your shoulder. Make double triple sure you know what you’re getting into before you hand over a big fat check. Then, sign on the bottom line and hang that shingle!