Startup – Securing the Work Environment

24 05 2013

Kicking off a new venture? Or, outgrowing the incubator space and looking to leave the nest?

Much like developing your deck for securing capital partners, or your business plan for the big picture, the process of securing a new home for your business operations takes a lot more time than expected. See Office Relocation Guidelines for a generic rule of thumb process schedule.

Particularly important in the earlier stages of operating, prior to taking the plunge into a long-term lease or campus acquisition, there are shorter-term occupancy options that offer tremendous flexibility and synergy amongst other like-minded, or similarly positioned organizations. For instance, much of the tech industry is familiar with incubator/accelerator-type space such as TechSpace and RocketSpace, to mention a few. Taking space such as these, will allow ample time for responsible business decisions revolving around your real estate.

Social gathering area

Typical shared environment

TechSpace – Orange County location

It takes a team of experienced professionals to provide the proper advice and guidance when it comes to identifying the office right location; negotiating a fair market lease that maximizes your flexibility and minimizes your exposure; to design a functionally efficient and aesthetically appealing work environment; to layout and recommend the best furniture options; and, to the forge the environment envisioned.

Engage an experienced commercial real estate agent that will commit the time to understand your business model; one who knows the local market, understands the trends in the marketplace, will negotiate on your behalf, and is prepared to cooperate and collaborate with the architect, engineer and contractor (AEC). You’re hiring an agent, not a company; find the agent that is best suited for your team. The company that the agent works for will not interview your team to understand the culture; nor will it be negotiating your lease; nor will the company display its passion and personal experience while identifying and recommending other key players to the team.

The other key players, integral to facilitating the right work environment include the general contractor, the architect, the furniture provider, IT consultant, and legal counsel. Some real estate agents are stuck in the 90’s, not utilizing the resources until late in the lease negotiations. There are way too many moving parts related to your office occupancy, and the cost to design, build and furnish your space is no small investment. With the right team in place, common, costly mistakes may be avoided, such as assuming too small or too large a space for lease negotiations; or, agreeing to too aggressive rent commencement dates that are often negotiated when there is not an understanding of the construction schedule, IT cabling and commissioning schedule, and furniture implementation. The astute real estate agent will lock in her/his team and rely upon their expertise for lease negotiation and planning purposes. Use your operating capital to grow your business, not to spend in areas that could be avoided with proper planning and teammates in place.

Working in this market for decades, I have many recommendations for any of the desired service providers. Let me know how I can help!

Gary Wells




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