In their early days, start-ups require a flexible working environment and usually opt for co-working space which, however, is relatively costly in the long term. That’s why it’s important that they do not overstay there and move forward at the right time, says Artur Sutor, Partner and Head of Office Department at Cresa Poland.
Warsaw, Krakow and Wrocław are hotbeds for start-ups. The start-up scene is dominated by IT and high-tech sectors: big data, Internet of Things, CRM and martech. Financial, educational and fashion firms complement the picture. They have one thing in common: in the early months of operations they do not know what the future – even the immediate one – holds for them. They are unable to say whether they will cease to exist or – quite on the contrary – will begin to take on dozens of new staff.
For a month or for years
At this stage, start-ups are not ready to make a long-term commitment in a three- or five-year lease. That’s why a co-working space or a dedicated office room with a package of services in an office building or a tenement house could be the most optimal solution in the early days. Co-working providers offer flexibility and short lease terms: tenants can lease an office for one month and then vacate, downsize or upsize the space to satisfy their requirements.
The synergy effect is not for everyone
Types of co-working office space include open space, places for informal work and hot-desks, based on collaboration and knowledge sharing among users.
Depending on the start-up’s nature, the synergy effect may be very beneficial or – on the contrary – dangerous. It depends on where the start-up is and what it already has. If several employees engage in problem-solving through continual brainstorming and testing dozens of ideas, working in an open space and talking to others can help unlock creativity. Another strong advantage is the possibility of discussing new ideas with various professionals including lawyers, finance or marketing specialists.
However, if a start-up wants to grow business on a very innovative, original idea and needs to protect it, an open co-working space won’t be the best place to do so. An enclosed private room within a co-working space can be seen as an intermediate solution between a shared open space and an own office.
High price of flexibility
Flexibility however comes at a price: a co-working office tends to be two-three times as expensive as the same office space leased from a developer. Although co-working in a shared space can be the most optimal solution for a start-up in the early months of its operation, it becomes too costly for a young firm reaching operational stability.
When to move out from a co-working space? There’s no universal answer to this question. The common assumption, however, is that if a firm has more than 10 employees and its owners are able to plan for two or three years ahead, this is a sign that other options are worth exploring. The move to its own office will herald a brand new chapter for a start-up. Such an office in a prime location will increase its credibility in the eyes of both business partners and employees. A young firm that continues to grow at a rapid pace on a competitive market needs to engage in the war for talent for whom an attractive, own office will undoubtedly be an additional benefit.
Moving into your own office
100 sqm is the smallest office unit that can be leased on the modern office market for a minimum term of three years. Unfortunately, a young firm with a low share capital is not the most sought-after type of tenant for developers. It’s not, however, a reason to capitulate. Office buildings do offer spaces which will be an advantageous and safe solution for a growing firm.
Small firms with little experience on real estate markets can also engage advisors for office space acquisition who will find the right space, negotiate favourable lease terms and even increase their credibility in the eyes of landlords.