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Growing Pains: When Agencies Outgrow Their Digs

Nobody likes moving – especially businesses. But if your burgeoning agency has outgrown its current space, you may not have any choice but to start the hunt. With climbing rents and limited resources, small businesses must think strategically in order to find a space that meets their needs without breaking the bank. Every business’s needs are different and what works for one may not for another. Luckily, there are many workspace options to choose from regardless of your agency’s plans to rent, share or buy. Regardless of what your needs are, it’s important to survey the peaks and pitfalls that come with the workspaces you scout so that you make an informed decision.

We loved our agency’s first address in Houston but we quickly outgrew it and had to move. To hold us over until we found the perfect space, we used co-working spaces and executive offices for a year. Based on my agency’s recent experiences, here are some things businesses should consider when thinking about these types of workspaces.

Benefits Of Co-Working Spaces

Co-working spaces are essentially shared office spaces that include amenities. Different businesses can rent out space and work among each other during hours of their choosing. Co-working spaces worked for our agency’s needs at the time we were using them; they afforded us the necessary accoutrements to keep our business going despite our lack of a permanent address.

Depending on which you choose, co-working spaces will often offer an array of amenities that can make working within them pleasant and great for morale. Although the open floor plans can sometimes get chaotic, there is potential for creating meaningful networking opportunities with like-minded individuals. Our agency benefited the most from this feature. By being in an open environment and in close proximity to one another, teammates were able to streamline communications. Instead of waiting on formal emails or callbacks, they proactively reached out to one other for quick updates or to ask simple questions.

Handling Clients

It wasn’t long before our agency needed a space to meet privately with clients. Some of the co-working spaces we looked into provided private offices within them. Private offices are usually rentable by the hour or day and typically come with internet and phone access. If your business has no qualms about bringing clients into a bustling co-working space, then this can be a real draw for you in the interim. However, if you are an up-and-comer who is concerned with your business’s image or if you land a high-profile client, a more formal space may be a better fit for you.

Benefits Of Executive Offices

We looked into executive offices because they offered comprehensive amenities, privacy and reserved parking. They also offered our agency better branding and expansion opportunities in addition to a designated address, receptionist and phone line. Some executive offices can come fully furnished, saving businesses both time and resources. Depending on what your business needs to operate efficiently, you may need to invest in upgrading the executive office’s existing communications. Executive offices provided us the privacy we needed for clear, uninterrupted communications with vendors, partners and clients, and the offices had either open or private office configurations to suit different agency cultures.

This is what we learned from operating out of these different workspaces:

  • Dedicated communications. No business can survive without the basics vital for productivity and SEO: internet and phones. Without a unique address and phone number, agencies will have a hard time getting listed on Google maps and other localized platforms. This can make operating out of a co-working space problematic because having the same address causes confusion across search engines.

    Businesses must have a dedicated address in order to be searchable. Sharing an address with a co-working space can make it hard for clients to find you online. Unless they are able to get suite numbers or other identifiers that distinguish them from the co-working space, businesses may as well be invisible. Businesses also run the risk of losing important invoices and contracts if they are mailed to a shared address so be vigilant. This is a risk most startups and small businesses can’t afford to take. Private offices within co-working spaces can work well for growing agencies if they also provide them with a dedicated physical address and phone number.

  • Dedicated parking for staff and clients. Clients and staff should feel welcomed and be able to access the building and office easily. Dedicated parking, even if it is in large garages, can shape impressions of your business in a positive way.
  • Dedicated branding opportunities for signage and logos. Although many agencies operate virtually, having a physical location provides a huge opportunity to leverage brands in clear, highly visible locations. This includes having your business’s name on the door, within the building directory and on outdoor signs.

Is one space ultimately better than the other?

It depends. Your business needs, budget and office culture are all determining factors to consider when looking for a new workspace. No matter what, it is imperative that businesses take the time to scout as many spaces as possible in order to find what works best for them.

Most importantly, businesses need to be patient. Given enough time, you can find an office space that will help your businesses reach its full potential. Finding the right space helps agencies establish themselves creatively and professionally. We found our communication, client collaboration, motivation, and morale all went up just because we found a space that meshed well with our agency’s culture.

Read the Original Article on Forbes.

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