By Jacob Carrico, Nevada Small Business Development Center Advisor
2020 precipitated a massive shift in the way the world perceives working out of the home. With the advent and broad acceptance of technologies like Zoom, Basecamp, and Dropbox, accomplishing work from home has not only become quicker and easier; for some, it has become the preferred method. But what makes a successful home business, and what other options might be available to you?
Work from Home
Establishing your business in your place of residence might sound like a good idea, but it is important to consider first whether your home is actually suitable to complete your work. Zoning laws and spatial needs should be taken into account, as well as personal considerations like social isolation, increased family stress, and self-discipline. If your business requires frequent customer or client visits, requires storing a lot of inventory, or produces undesirable side effects (i.e. noise/air pollution or odors), then a home-based business might be a hindrance to your production capabilities.
Running your own business gives you the freedom to set your own schedule and pace of work, and working out of the home can expand these freedoms. But, as the saying goes: “with great power comes great responsibility”. Mentally (or physically) separating “work” from “home” is crucial to keeping your work environment productive. Having a designated workspace, structuring your work hours, recognizing your tolerance for distractions, avoiding isolation, and maintaining a dress code are all ways you can make sure neither your work, nor home life suffers.
Over the last 20 years, co-working spaces have come to prominence as an “in-between” option for small business operations. These spaces are typically rented for a specified monthly fee, designed for office work, and are not ideal for manufacturing or storage. With benefits like increased networking and collaboration opportunities, some might find co-working spaces to be beneficial to their productivity or creative output. Co-working spaces also typically offer greater flexibility than leasing office space.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of utilizing a co-working space for your small business operation is cost-efficiency. Startups with fewer than 12 employees can save an average of $2,700 per month when they use a co-working space as opposed to leasing an office – and with shared amenities and utilities, this option can relieve further financial burdens to business owners.
Renting an Office or Storefront
Renting or leasing space to run your business, such as an office or storefront, has been the traditional preference for small business owners. A physical presence dedicated solely to your business allows your customer base to establish a consistent connection with you and increases the credibility of your enterprise. However, ensuring that a brick-and-mortar location is financially viable, easily accessible to your customers, employees, vendors and suppliers, while aligning with your brand and target market is sometimes easier said than done. It is important to do extensive research into where your target audience is – opening a store in the wrong area is sure to spell financial disaster for your company. Nearby competition, foot traffic, zoning laws, regulations, and taxes are all important factors you should consider when choosing a physical location for your business. Check out this helpful guide from the U.S. Small Business Administration on how to select a location for your business.
While each workspace option has its own unique pros and cons, it is important to understand what your specific business and personal needs are before selecting a space for your business. Taking into account every aspect of your operation before making such an impactful decision is critical in whether your business will fail or thrive.