ENTREPRENEURSHIP / APR. 12, 2015
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4 Clever Office Options for Your Startup

Some of the most profitable businesses today started in a garage. Disney, Amazon, Google and Apple are all on the list of garage startups, which goes to show you don’t need a conventional office space to be successful.

See also: How to Get PR for Your Business Start-up

But home offices can be distracting, and sooner or later you’ll need more room to grow.

Where do you go once you leave home?

Today there are more opportunities than ever when it comes to finding an office space for your startup. There are several options to consider.

1. Cargo Containers

container office

The basics of cargo containers are as follows:

  • They’re an environmentally conscious option
  • They’re affordable
  • They’re sturdy

In 2005, there were an estimated 700,000 surplus containers in US ports, but the use of container structures has removed 25% of surplus stock. Using surplus shipping containers saves trees and other building materials that a conventional office needs.

Repurposing containers helps save natural resources like wood. And in the long run, it helps save our environment. Shipping containers are extremely durable. When tended properly, they have an indefinite lifespan. They’re virtually fireproof and can withstand wind from a category 5 hurricane.

These units are energy efficient, using less energy than a conventional office and can be fitted with solar panels or other eco-friendly accessories. Cargo containers cut down your building costs and heating and cooling costs, while also saving space.

If you’re worried about working in a small dark space, put that fear to rest. Cargo offices can have as many windows or glass doors as you desire.

2. Incubators and Coworking Spaces

Here are the basics of co-working spaces and incubators:

  • They offer lowered rent costs
  • They encourage collaboration
  • There’s not a long contract or lease required

Not only do shared work spaces lower the cost of rent, they also foster a sense of community, where new connections and ideas can flourish. One of the pros of coworking spaces is that they usually don’t require a long contract or lease. Usually you may pay daily, weekly or monthly – depending on the rules of the working space you choose.

Incubators such as Y Combinator are more selective than other forms of innovative development. They don’t simply take anyone with an idea. You must be prepared to submit a fleshed-out business plan that puts you ahead of those competing for a spot in that incubator. Your plan will be reviewed by a screening committee who decides which ideas have potential and which don’t. The equipment, space and funds are limited, so they want to be sure they’re choosing businesses with the highest chance of success.

3. Shared Office Spaces

These are the basics of shared office spaces:

  • They provide a community
  • They save you money
  • They encourage network connections

Shared office spaces also provide the opportunity for collaboration and sharing your ideas with others. Companies like PivotDesk were created to match small businesses to companies that have more space than they actually need. This pairing is mutually beneficial since the company is getting some money back from the empty space, and you get a low rent cost in an environment that connects like-minded people and encourages innovation.

4. Virtual Offices

iStock

The basics of virtual offices are as follows:

  • They save money
  • They offer month-to-month leasing
  • They come with a reduced carbon footprint

Virtual offices from companies like Regus provide fully equipped meeting rooms for when you need a space to discuss business with clients. Having a mailing address and a local business number with a receptionist to take your calls makes virtual offices very appealing to startups. You can set up a virtual office in just a few minutes by booking online. Your lease can be renewed each month as necessary.

See also: How to Start Well as a Start-up

With so many options, there is bound to be an office space that’s perfect for your startup. You simply have to find it. Be realistic about what you can manage and afford, then choose the environment that works best for you.

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