This post by guest blogger Adam Brind appears in our series for the Small Business 500.
I am always amazed when I walk into a real estate office and it looks as if it was pieced together with random garage sale items from the early 90s (especially the artwork). For a company trying to sell or lease properties, you would think that they could invest a little into their work environment, right? I mean, these are the same folks that are supposed to be the experts and advising you on space?
The point is, your office is far more than a place to hang your hat — so it requires some attention from every angle. Don’t ever forget the old adage about the importance of first impressions. With so much competition out there, your space can make or break the next big deal you want to land.
With that in mind, here are five key elements to consider when choosing new office space.
1. Character matters
Let’s make something very clear here: Your office is an extension of your business. If your office looks disheveled, your business looks disheveled. Take the time to find a space that suits your business goals and put some thought into the decorations. If decor isn’t really your thing, spend a few extra bucks and hire a professional.
2. Don’t forget insurance
With so many horror stories out there, don’t underestimate the importance of comprehensive tenant insurance. Always remember that under no circumstance does the landlord’s insurance cover your contents. This one little misstep has the ability to flatten your dreams.
3. Beware of extra costs
Searching for an office is never easy, but here is a piece of advice that seems like common sense: Be extra careful of the added expenses related to leasing. Generally, commercial lease prices are “net” of the total costs. This means that your “gross” lease expenses will include additional items such as hydro, or in some retail circumstances, a percentage of sales.
4. Setting the mood
You know how great that crisp new outfit feels? Well, guess what – your space has the same impact on mood and, potentially, productivity. Real estate is emotional and your office space should feel right — you can always change the paint, but you can’t add windows and natural light.
5. Creating culture
I’ll never forget walking into one of Canada’s largest asset management companies only to find that the entire staff sat in the same room, including the CEO and CFO; no offices, no hierarchy – it was beautiful! When I inquired about it, they said it made communicating easier and more productive. So, sit back and really think about the culture that you want to create with your organization. Do you really need individual offices?
– Adam Brind is the co-founder of Core Assets Inc. and a registered realtor based out of Toronto, Ontario. The Core Assets team works with both residential and commercial clients helping to build and define their real estate goals and portfolios.
The information and tips we’re sharing in this article are meant to be a starting point for your year-end tax prep, so you can be informed and feel confident when working with your accountant. Be sure to check with a tax expert in your country or region for any specific advice you need, as each business (and tax district) is different. As our lawyers would say: “This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.”