So many small businesses start as just an idea and a laptop. You spend your days working at your dining room table, and when the business starts to demand more time, you dedicate the spare room to it.
But there may come a time when you need to start thinking bigger, out of pure necessity. You don’t need to go straight from your spare room to an entire floor in an office building in the city centre, however.
There are plenty of small steps you can take in order to expand your business gradually, without breaking the bank right from the start. Here are the five ways you can grow your small business up and out…
1. Hire a virtual assistant
Your first step in expanding that business beyond your home office is outsourcing some basic everyday jobs that are holding you back from being more productive with the time you have.
A virtual assistant (also referred to as a VA) can help you with time-consuming, mundane tasks such as invoicing, updating spreadsheets, and following up with clients. A virtual assistant can help you get used to delegating while freeing up your time, and isn’t as costly as hiring an executive assistant who works in an office with you.
2. Set up a PO Box or personal mailbox
While you’re still working out of your home, there are a few reasons to rent out a mailbox in a separate location: it prevents your customers or clients from knowing where you live, it separates work from home life, and it may lend a more professional appearance to your business.
The main difference between a PO Box and a rented private mailbox is that Google Maps won’t allow your business to use a PO Box as its primary location. So, if you’re concerned about customers knowing where you live but still want your business to show up with some kind of location on Google Maps (which improves search engine rankings), it’s best to rent out a personal mailbox.
3. Start with a communal workspace
More and more entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners are choosing co-working spaces to rent by the month, instead of investing in permanent office rental. The result is a more cost-effective leap into an environment that has the support staff and infrastructure that you need.
There are hundreds of these types of offices available all across the UK, with a large range of pricing and amenities. Get started with this list of 50 co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and creative freelancers all over the UK.
4. Hire employees
Virtual assistant notwithstanding, there are many hoops to jump through when you begin to hire employees to join your company. Making sure you have employment insurance, registering with the government as an employer, and paying your employees at least the national minimum wage are just a few of the things you need to think about, as you expand.
Check out this quick guide to employment law to see what you need to be thinking about when adding to your team.
5. Make the move to a brick and mortar
At a certain point, you may need to move your inventory to a warehouse space, or make it available in a retail store (hey – if even online behemoths like Amazon are expanding to brick and mortar, there’s a reason it still exists).
If you’re not selling a product, you may just need to expand your team in a way that allows you to convene on a daily basis, or gives you the physical space to hire an executive assistant. None of these are always possible to accomplish from home, and at a certain point, it may just be more prudent to move to a space that’s permanent.
If choosing a new place to move, here are three golden rules for facilities perfection that will help you on your way.