You may have started your business with nothing more than a laptop and your kitchen table. You worked on brand awareness and client acquisition. When meetings were necessary, you managed by renting office space, linking up at a nearby cafe or restaurant, or commuting to your client’s home or office.
Now, you’re planning to run the company out of a proper business space. There might even be a receptionist’s desk and a conference room or two. But how client-friendly is your business environment going to be–really?
So, you’ve decided to create a client-friendly business environment. Although you know it will require some financial outlay upfront, the investment comes with many advantages. A client-friendly office improves your brand’s image. As you begin to draw up plans for your new headquarters, there are some factors to keep in mind to ensure that you and your client’s needs are met.
The first consideration is where you’re going to set up your offices. A business park or light-industrial area might be great for keeping your overhead low, but are your clients going to want to come see you there? It may cost quite a bit extra in monthly expenses to set up your headquarters in an urban space, but if you plan to have your clients come see you regularly, this is an expense you may want to consider.
A medical practice should be accessible to your patients. A tax firm should be easy to get to. And an advertising agency’s location should make a statement about the quality of your work. On the other hand, if your clients are contractors, they might not mind driving to see you in a light-industrial complex.
No client wants to walk into a space that’s dirty or disorganized. It sends the message that the company doesn’t care much about its brand or patrons. Trying to conduct business in a disorderly space is also uncomfortable and inconvenient. So, once you’ve decided where your office will be, the next thing you want to do is get rid of the clutter.
Remove anything from the area that isn’t necessary for business. Then clean and sanitize from top to bottom and reorganize anything remaining. Bookshelves, wall units, and decorative storage containers make it easier to organize things professionally.
Now that you have a clean slate to work with, it’s time to invest in the appropriate furniture and equipment for your office. Although the list will vary based on your business type, there are some staples to consider. For starters, you need desks, office chairs, laptops or desktop computers, and printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. You’ll also want to invest in chairs or a sofa for your clients, a table for meetings and large projects, and lamps for adequate lighting.
First impressions are everything in business. If you want to secure more clients, you must invest in your workspace’s overall look, functionality, and convenience. Once you’ve got your basic furniture and equipment, you can invest in aesthetic appeal and comfort. Select inviting yet professional color schemes for your walls and decor. Add things like an area rug, paintings, vases, fresh flowers, plants, and other accent pieces to create an authentic look for your office. You should also invest in things like a water cooler and coffee maker just in case clients get thirsty. There’s always the option to use resources like HomeAdvisor to find a qualified contractor to add features in your existing space to make the office more appropriate for clients.
You’re almost ready to open your new office to your clients. The final step is to consider your business exterior. You’ll need to do some landscaping to keep up with curb appeal. You should also have a designated space for parking, signage, and a well-lit walkway for clients to quickly identify and enter your office.
Sure, technology has enabled entrepreneurs to conduct business exclusively online. There are tools, devices, and platforms you can use to host virtual meetings, share and collaborate on files, and more. Be that as it may, there’s something about traditional in-person meetings that take the cake. If you’re interested in inviting clients into your office, consider these factors above to ensure you create a space that accommodates their needs.