Have you heard it yet? “Bootstrapping” is a new buzz word in today’s business world, especially for start-ups. It refers to doing more with less; in other words, making your money go further.

Many of today’s start-ups originate in a bed/living/dining room or garage. As an entrepreneur, you may approach a commercial banker and ask for business funding. In reviewing your business plan, the commercial lender may use the term “bootstrapping” to make sure you keep finances under control.

One very popular way to cut expenses is to work from your home. If you choose to do so, make sure you double-check your insurance coverage. If, in the course of conducting your business, someone has an accident at your house – they fall, get bitten by your dog, whatever – your homeowner’s insurance may very well not cover such an incident because your business is in your home. So consider options for an office outside of your home.

There is an abundance of commercial space in the region. When shopping for an office – whether physical or virtual – an entrepreneur should also consider the locally-owned business centers to meet their needs. Business centers – also called executive suites – offer turnkey office solutions. They can provide everything such as all utilities, furniture, conference room access, Internet connectivity, telephone & faxing service, as well as receptionist and janitorial services. Traditional commercial space, while sometimes including HVAC, will usually not include any of the other services. So one must factor all the other office start-up and operational costs in addition to rent: utilities (if not included), furniture, telephone, Internet (and the accompanying installation costs), receptionist, janitorial services, etc. So this is when an entrepreneur needs to consider “bootstrapping” office space needs.

You’ve seen the ‘buy local’ push in many areas: food, retailers, etc. Dollars spent with a locally-owned company go directly back into the local economy. However, when you’re looking for a vendor to provide key services for your business like mail receiving services, phone answering and conference room rentals – the feel-good sense of buying local really doesn’t mean much.  You want to ensure your business is going to be served well.

On the opposite end of the available choices, corporations (like Regus) operate hundreds of office suites around the world.

Why consider a virtual office from a multinational company?

Many national and multinational office suite companies have honed the art of opening new office suites and growing a portfolio. Some businesses think they can only get top amenities (like reciprocal services) from large corporations. However, locally-owned office suites, such as College Park Executive Suites (CPES), have a bigger stake in ensuring their clients receive the highest quality service(s) they deserve.

CPES and other locally-owned operations are focused on establishing and maintaining long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships with office clients.  We treat staff and clients fairly and respectfully. We listen to and respond to clients’ needs.  Our mission is “to support and contribute to our clients’ business success… where their clients are our clients.”  We have been known to assist clientele with their computer issues, files, software, accounting and financial issues or questions. CPES ensures ‘small business clients’ look, act, and feel like a ‘large’ successful company to their customers.

Some large-scale office operators work in a ‘burn-n-churn’ environment, where the focus is “close the deal” regardless of whether it’s in the client’s best interest. When you are searching for a small physical or virtual office, ask important questions: What is their average client tenure? How long has their staff been with the center? What is in the “fine print” of their leases? Can you see a sample rental invoice and have ample time to review the agreement/contract?

Whether your business is looking for a short-term temporary location or a long-term relationship, it is vital to understand the landscape of physical and virtual offices when making a potentially long-term decision. Find the best environment that confers comfort and ease of access. Analyze the contract so that it protects you – the tenant – as well as the business center’s owner/operator.  Ask other tenants what they like about the offices.  And ask yourself – are you buying the ‘pretty’ or the ‘practical’ and can you get both at a reasonable price?