First impressions: times when keeping your startup at home won’t cut it

Thinking of starting a business? It’s easy to see the appeal of using your home as your launchpad for the young company. Renting dedicated office space for your business can, at least initially, seem expensive – and it’s nice to be able to quickly switch between work and leisure as you see fit.

However, none of this is to say that you should leave your business at home. For the following reasons, much of what you have built up could threaten to unravel as the business grows.

You want to cultivate a professional image

First impressions count, however much you might have eagerly bought into the idea that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Whose first impressions? Those of your clients.

Yes, when they converse with you by phone and see your website and letterheads, they might garner the impression of a slick, efficiently-run company. However, those impressions could dissipate if they visit you at an untidy home, so consider renting virtual offices for such visits instead.

You yearn for more privacy

Though roughly half of US startups are run from home, says Bplans, your residence might not exactly afford you a haven of privacy during working hours… or what are supposed to be your working hours, anyway.

“I don’t really have privacy,” David Porter, founder of social radio platform 8tracks, has attested to Forbes. This was despite his decision to headquarter his company in his loft; indeed, even a shower was sited in the middle of that space.

You struggle to separate home and work life

Yes, it might initially seem fun to be able to get a couple of hours of work in just after breakfast and then head to the swimming pool with your kids at midday, all potentially without having to turn a single key in a car’s ignition. However, is blurring your work and leisure boundaries always so good?

It could actually be putting you at heightened risk of burning out – and, no matter which way you slice it, exhaustion doesn’t spell good news for your productivity.

You want to network and make new contacts

It’s easy to feel lonely at home as you tap away, perhaps with your partner away working elsewhere, the kids at school, and little more than the faint sound of chirping birds outside for company.

Furthermore, without renting a dedicated workspace shared with other entrepreneurs and companies, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities to network, network, network – and, perhaps, pick up new employees and clients along the way.

You want the business to last the long haul

In the early days, your business can feel like your baby, your precious gem. However, if sustained success for that company is your goal, you must relinquish at least some control sooner or later, Inc. warns. You should prepare your firm for a future where it can thrive bar your constant oversight.

Investing in technological infrastructure is crucial – and this infrastructure can be ready and waiting at a dedicated workspace.