A common new business mistake is to assume that you need an office or a storefront immediately. If your house is zoned to allow a small business, then use the space you are already paying for.
Many service businesses -- a cleaning service, plumbing service or roofing operation -- don't need an office at all [source: Nolo.com]. Your "office" can be the front seat of your van with a cell phone. All of your work is done at the client's site, anyway.
If you're convinced that you will need to rent space for your new business, then it should be part of your business plan. Make a detailed list of the location's requirements. How much space do you need? Do you want high foot traffic? Will you need parking? Do you need visibility, or is it OK to be tucked away in a suburban office park? What are your zoning requirements?
Then you need to do research into the rental market. What is the average monthly rent on a place that meets your criteria? Consider consulting with a commercial real estate agent who really knows the local market. Once you have a price in mind, lock it into your budget and don't be tempted to splurge on the perfect location.
Also remember to budget for improvements or alterations that will need to be made to your location. If you want to open a restaurant in an old shoe store, plan for significant costs to install a professional kitchen and bathrooms that are up to code.
For lots more information about small business management, follow the helpful links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- Entrepreneur. "Market Testing." (April 16, 2009)http://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/term/82442.html
- Fairlie, Robert W. "Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity: 1996-2007." April 2008 (April 17, 2009)http://sites.kauffman.org/pdf/KIEA_041408.pdf
- Gallagher, Dave. The Bellingham Herald. "Top reasons why new businesses fail…" January 6, 2009 (April 15, 2009)http://blogs.bellinghamherald.com/index.php?blog=15&title=top_reasons_why_new_businesses_fail&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1
- Henricks, Mark. Entrepreneur. "Top 17 Startup Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make." November 15, 2006 (April 16, 2009)http://smallbusiness.aol.com/start/startup/article/_a/top-17-startup-mistakes-you-cant-afford/20051213184209990014
- Krotz, Joanna L. Microsoft Small Business Center. "7 biggest mistakes of business startups" (April 16, 2009)http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/resources/startups/business-plans-entities/7-biggest-mistakes-of-business-startups.aspx#biggestmistakesofbusinessstartups
- Laurence, Bethany K. Nolo.com. "Write a Business Plan." (April 16, 2009)http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/pg/1/objectId/607620B7-1E90-411F-B073E9DDB9E30A48/catId/E67C08E9-9FAE-4AD8-840371947878E573/111/228/289/CHK/
- Mount, Ian. Fortune Small Business. "Want to start a 'biz? Here's what matters." December 16, 2008 (April 16, 2009)http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/31/smallbusiness/entrepreneurial_myths.fsb/index.htm
- NFIB. "Beginner's Business Mistakes" (April 15, 2009)http://www.nfib.com/tabid/56/Default.aspx?cmsid=45268&v=1
- Nolo.com. "Choosing a Successful Location for Your Business" (April 16, 2009)http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/objectId/3AFBBD6F-1BDF-403A-A78ABD2109684A46/111/228/142/ART/
- Orr, Susan. Evansville Courier & Press. "In good times and bad? Financial troubles can cause marital strife." March 14, 2009 (April 16, 2009)http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/mar/14/in-good-times-and-in-bad/
- Spaeder, Karen E. Entrepreneur. "Biggest Start-Up Mistakes to Avoid." May 12, 2003 (April 16, 2009)http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/startupbasics/article61744.html
- Sugars, Brad. Entrepreneur. "The 6 Biggest Mistakes in Raising Startup Capital." September 20, 2007 (April 16, 2009)http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/startupbasics/startupbasicscolumnistbradsugars/article184350.html
- U.S. Department of Labor. "Small Business in America." (April 15, 2009) http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/ek00/small.htm
Do you really make any money selling stuff from Mary Kay, Rodan & Fields, Pampered Chef, etc.? HowStuffWorks breaks down the numbers.