When you begin to look at moving offices, figuring out the requirements for your new space is one of the most important things you should do at the beginning of your search.
In Week 1 of your search, think about the future and how you anticipate your company will develop over the next five to seven years. Will you be adding employees or downsizing? Will you need conference rooms? A reception area? Parking spaces for employees and customers?
You should also ask yourself about your frustrations with your current space. Are you unhappy with the neighborhood or the businesses around you? Are you unhappy with the way your landlord is maintaining your building? Do you not have appropriate space to meet with clients? Are you always fighting over parking spaces with other tenants or even your own customers?
Then you should think about your location needs. If you have a retail business, is it easy for your customers to come to you? Is a parking lot close by? Is street parking adequate? Is it easy for customers to get in and out of your parking lot? Do you have the visibility you need? Do you have enough space inside your shop for your customers to see everything you have to offer and for them to browse comfortably?
Also consider if you need to split your business into multiple locations. If you’re in Madison, for example, perhaps now is the time to consider having an east-side space and a west-side space.
None of these decisions should be made solely on your own. Meet with your managers and department heads and talk to them about what they think the company and their departments need. Talk to your broker about what spaces are available in your community and how they are priced. At Lighthouse CRE we will provide you with a free market report that shows you what spaces are currently available and at what cost. This can be very helpful when comparing your current space to new options.
Plenty of things change in the marketplace all the time. If you have been in the same location for a number of years, it is very likely new developments and new opportunities await you. Even if you decide to stay put, 6 to 9 months before your lease ends is the ideal time to see what is out there.