If you’ve been putting time and energy into developing your own business, jumping from your website-only home business to a legit commercial space is an exciting move. If the time has come for you to take this major leap, congratulations! Your hard work is paying off, and this is a major landmark of growth for any entrepreneur. But before you move forward too quickly, make sure to set yourself up for success — and protect yourself from inadvertently overspending.
Working from home vs. investing in a commercial space each present unique challenges. While an at-home business is likely to encroach upon your living space and blur the line between your work and personal life, a commercial space is more likely to create tension within your budget. It’s pretty much inevitable that this process will be costly, but thankfully there are ways to protect your bank account — especially in these five key areas.
Advertising is critical when it comes to opening up a commercial space. Even if you’ve already built a client base from working at home, make sure you’re intentional about advertising. Every little bit of promotion helps!
Taking out ads on your own can be very costly, so strategize: are there any other small businesses nearby that may want team up? Use this as an opportunity to connect to your neighborhood. Make an effort to introduce yourself to other businesses in the area and see if anyone would be interested in combining forces and taking out an ad together — everyone saves, and everyone wins.
Having a network of other local businesses will also give you the ability to combine your clienteles. Mailing lists and other distribution channels are just as important as traditional advertising, and by connecting with other businesses, you will each be expanding your potential reach.
The key to saving money on your utilities is to be pay attention. Be aware of how much energy you use and the ways you can conserve it. By doing an energy audit and understanding your current energy use, you’ll be able to understand what actions you can take to cut costs in the future.
Are you often guilty of leaving lights and equipment on overnight? If you simply can’t seem to remember to shut everything off at closing time, investing in a timer could save you hundreds! Always remember to put all of your office computers and other devices on power save mode, so they use less energy while you’re gone.
If you have staff members, be sure to get them involved in your energy saving efforts. Set clear, attainable goals and closely monitor your progress. Keep an open dialog so employees feel free to share their energy-saving ideas, which will not only save you money — it will cultivate a constructive work culture.
Transitioning to a commercial space typically requires a new — or at least updated — website. You’ll want to be sure that your business is properly represented on the internet, and that you celebrate your new location! Along with your address, it can be helpful to include images of the facade of the building as well as professional photos of the interior; entice readers to come pay you a visit.
If you don’t already have a website you love, it may be tempting to reach out to a professional developer who can build a site from scratch and beef it up with SEO keywords. But before you go all out on a site that could easily cost you thousands, did you know you can build an effective site on your own? Rather than hiring a developer, consider using a website builder. Platforms like Squarespace, Shopify, or WordPress are easy to use and, with a little research, you will be able to do your own SEO and maybe even some custom coding. If you prefer to keep things simple, all you have to do is pick the perfect template and input your business’ information. You might be surprised at the sleek site you’re able to produce.
Not only will using a website builder save you money up front, it will also help you save in the long run. The ability to edit your own website will keep you from shelling out more cash in the future when your page needs a face lift.
Transitioning from home to a commercial space typically requires new office furniture, equipment, displays, and more — which can seriously add up if you’re not careful! Be proactive and start looking for used items as soon as you know what you’ll need. Sure, it can be tempting to splurge on fancy furniture for your thrilling new space, but be cautious; you’ll be amazed at the great deals you can find on Craigslist or eBay, and all the money you save can be put to much better use (with a much higher ROI).
For even more savings, look into energy efficient technology like computers and printers. If your space will have a kitchen, you can purchase energy saving appliances that will cut your utility bill down each month. While these may cost a little more upfront, they are certain to save you money in the long run.
Setting your commercial space ready to open often requires some hired help in one way or another; there will always be something you didn’t think of. Whenever possible, save some money by bringing in friends, family, and people you can barter with to help with these extra tasks. It’s more than likely that you know people who are in need of your services, and who would be willing to lend a helping hand as an exchange. You’ve got a community — connect with it!
As you work through the transition process just remember: you’ve got this! You’ve worked hard to get your business up and running through the beginning stages, so don’t forget to enjoy this moment. Watch it grow and expand for more and more people to appreciate — keep upgrading your business efforts, and watch as it soars!
Jayson Goetz is a finance writer & strong believer that you don’t have to be wealthy to live a rich and full life and wants to share tips on how to do exactly this. Whether its saving money tips, smart everyday hacks, or budget travel, he hopes to inspire others to do more with less. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Instagram.