People & Human Resources

Should we get plush offices or start out in a dump?

James Thomson /

Dear Aunt,


My board and I are in dispute. We are launching a new business to a prestigious market. I feel the office and surrounds should reflect the product and the clients we are chasing. My board wants us to start small and in very modest surrounds.

I have launched other successful businesses and am an older and very experienced businessman so I have a good track record. But I have not worked with these investors before so not sure whether to push my point. Aunt, what do you think?

LD,
Sydney

 

Dear LD,

I think you are wrong. Whenever you can, start an activity small as profitable patterns emerge from practical experience. Look at it this way: What can be more fun that setting up a start-up in a hovel? This also lets you draw your clients into your success. They can come and visit and feel they are contributing to something raw, unformed and therefore can play a part in its success.

You can get away with it for about a year or two. But eventually if you don’t move to better offices it looks like the business is struggling.

But never make the mistake of thinking you need fancy offices. We have done a lot of research on this and clients would far rather you put your profits into better products and services for them than fancy offices for yourself.

Good luck!
Your Aunty B

 

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James Thomson

James was the editor and publisher of SmartCompany and LeadingCompany for five years. He is now the Australian Financial Review's companies & markets editor, and a former BRW editor.

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