In this regular column, Andrea Kolokasi, Head of Business Development at Workspace, highlights hints and tips for burgeoning entrepreneurs, reflecting on insights from the inspiring business leaders within Workspace’s 4000-strong customer network.
The day a budding entrepreneur decides to quit their corporate day job and put everything into a passion project, will be one of the most monumental moments of their career.
But as all business leaders know, the journey from concept to creation takes careful preparation and a long-term view to create impact from the outset. Tactical investment and choosing the right office space for your needs are both key considerations for time and cost management.
Gathering capital at the start is always a challenge. Manufacturing your landmark product, trademarking your brand, or creating marketing assets will all create mounting costs. As a result, fundraising can become an all-consuming entity. Temptation will tell you to go cheap and save wherever possible to preserve your cash assets, but remember that investing in quality is imperative for long-term benefit.
Emily Bendell, CEO of Bluebella, the contemporary lingerie and nightwear company best known as Drapers’ Lingerie Brand of the Year, highlights this as a key learning she wishes she had known when starting up 12 years ago. “Although bootstrapping is important, you do also need to invest to grow. I think there are a few occasions where saving has ended up being a false economy and slowing our growth,” says Emily.
Finding a home for your business
Once your idea has been established, and the journey is underway, there comes a time when every founder or CEO needs to evaluate when to move from the kitchen table to a formal professional space.
Emily advises, “Do not move before you need to, because once you have increased fixed costs you need to be confident of your revenue! But once you start growing a team, focus on finding a positive, well-located environment that will attract the right staff and future-proof your space by ensuring it can flex with you as you grow.”
The challenge for young businesses wanting to establish a base is navigating office leases that come with long tenures and a weighty price stamp. Flexible office providers offering a variety of lease-length and space options can often be an ideal solution. Whether you rent a desk in a co-working space for a month at a time, rent out meeting rooms at short notice, have your own office that you have the power to design yourself, or even rent out a whole floor for your expanding team, having a dedicated space to meet clients, partners and customers will drive interest and team focus.
Choosing a flexible office is about more than just finding the right sized space. For Emily, location and flexibility were fundamental to finding the right headquarters for Bluebella at Workspace’s The Light Box in Chiswick. Emily notes: “We have already moved twice within the building and are moving again this summer. The space has allowed us to grow very quickly without too much disruption to the business.”
The abundance of ambitious and driven entrepreneurs across the country is creating a unique reputation for UK business. Imperative to bolstering this reputation further, but also to carving out your place amongst the competition, is for young businesses to maintain momentum and demonstrate impact on the market. In doing so, consider how you can use flexible office providers to leverage this goal.
About the author
Andrea Kolokasi is Head of Business Development at Workspace.
Workspace is a FTSE 250 London-based office provider that owns over 4.5 million sq ft of commerical space, housing over 4,000 companies – including Nutmeg, Moonpig, Citymapper, Mozilla and Bloom & Wild.