Many entrepreneurs start their businesses by working in a home study, or the garage. However, this can be limiting: home offices often double as a storage room, business visitors may not want to get to know your (large) dog, and you might not feel comfortable with a regular traffic of visitors, delivery people and employees entering your premises. In fact, if you live in an apartment, such business operations may violate your body corporate rules.
There are many options for entrepreneurs to consider before having to lease or purchase an office. These may be appropriate for individual meetings, chats – or even full time offsite location.
Office lobbies and cafes – These tend to have a better ambience and are much quieter than the average cafe that people meet up in.
Hotel lobbies and cafes – These are a little nicer than the office lobbies, and they generally have table service: meaning that it is a little classier than just picking up your cup and finding a seat. Hotel also have business centres, that often have meeting rooms to rent and secretarial services (typing, copying, etc).
Your accountant’s office – Depending on your relationship, your accountant may have an extra office or two that he/she may rent to you at favourable rates. Not only that, there is usually a receptionist to welcome callers and visitors.
Flexible work spaces – The Cluster, for example, offers open plan office spaces for individuals and teams. You can have a hot desk arrangement, or a dedicated desk depending on your needs. In addition, it comes with reception, IT support and meeting rooms.
Airport frequent flyer lounges – Frequent travellers find the Qantas and Virgin lounges very handy for meetings. In fact, some avoid Melbourne rush hour traffic by flying in and having their first meetings at the airport.
Libraries – Also have meeting rooms you can book. However, these are often on an ad hoc basis. For example, check out the different libraries and spaces available through the City of Melbourne website.
Universities – Several universities are looking to reach out to business. They are offering work areas for start ups (e.g. Monash Uni), and some offer laboratory space for startups to use for the manufacturing of prototypes (e.g. LaTrobe Uni).
City incubators – Several cities have their own business incubators (eg: Monash business incubator, Eastern Innovation Business Centre). There are facilities for office space for startups and lab spaces for prototype assembly and low scale manufacture.
RACV Club – Many consultants and business people use the RACV Club in the City as their City offices. The Club has several cafes and restaurants to meet at, as well as informal meeting areas and a library. In addition, they have more formal meeting rooms for larger meetings and events. In addition, it is only a block and a half away from Southern Cross Station.
Serviced offices – These office facilities (e.g. ServCorp, Asian Pacific, Regus) offer many office options. These range from a virtual office (reception facilities and hot desk for so many hours a month) to shared spaces, and stand alone offices. In addition to full service support – reception, clerical, IT – they are also very flexible so that the space you rent can expand as your team grows.
There are many accommodation choices for the entrepreneur moving out of home. They offer a range of flexibility, price and duration that can accommodate most needs.