Many entrepreneurs start on their kitchen table or in a spare room of their house. This thing they are building is new and fairly small, so at first, it doesn’t need its own space. But your startup is growing. You and your family have to eat on the couch now, and guests? Forget about it.

Those might just be signs that it’s time to get yourself a real office space. Getting office space outside the house can add legitimacy and professionalism to your growing business. When you meet with potential clients or investors, you don’t have to claim a table at your local coffee house distracted by chatting teenagers and the whir of the coffee grinders. Instead you have your own, private space, with internet and a door that closes.

Making that leap is scary. How do you know it’s the right time to get an office space?

Assess your space

Do you have enough space to get your work done without overly inconveniencing the other people you live with? Your family is probably willing to give up a few creature comforts to help you realize your dream. But if your business is taking over the entire household, it may be time for a move.

Another point that people tend to forget is that working from home leaves you no space between your work and your home life. If your office is just a few steps away, you may find yourself working at all hours of the day and night, even during time that you should be spending with your family, friends or pets. That leads to burnout, which isn’t good for you or your business.

Check your finances

Of course, finances will play a major role in your decision. You already have a kitchen table, but an office outside the house costs money. However, it probably doesn’t cost as much as you think. Yes, a retail space or dedicated office can cost upward of $6,300 a month. But you don’t need to pay that much.

An executive suite at College Park Executive Suites starts at $675 per month and includes a staffed reception desk, free parking, all utilities including internet, and a coffee and tea bar in our kitchenette.

Remember, all expenses related to your business, including rent, are tax deductible. So take that into account when considering what you can afford.

Portray a professional image

Image can make your break your business. Do you inspire confidence in potential clients, customers and investors? Do you seem professional and approachable? Do they see you as a serious professional or someone with nothing but naiveté and a wild idea?

Having an office space outside your house can help add legitimacy and professionalism to your business. You look like a professional even when your business is in the early stages, because you have your own office, a receptionist at the front desk, and conference rooms where you can meet with clients.

The final decision point

Most importantly, make the choice that’s right for you. If you love working from home and it’s not hurting your business then don’t feel like you have to get a “real” office before your business becomes real. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to try an office space if you think it could make you less stressed, help you look more professional, or reduce inconvenience for your family.  

College Park Executive Suites is a great place to start. The other tenants are welcoming to new people and Jackie is a huge supporter of new business owners. You can even get your feet wet with a three-month or six-month lease before you commit to a full year or more. And if you’re not quite ready to commit to a lease, but want to try out the office lifestyle, we also have coworking spots available with access to many of the same amenities.