In times of economic uncertainty, all businesses are nervous of long-term commitment - we all want to keep our options open. Cash is king and we need to keep as much of it in the bank as possible. Even well established businesses like to have fast get out clauses.

After people, office space is one of the biggest commitments a start-up business can make. Once your business reaches a certain size, it's not professional to be meeting clients in your living room, and hotel lobbies have their limitations - plus hotel chains know they are being used as virtual offices, which is why they charge you so much for that cup of coffee.

Business support organisations such as the Institute of Directors provide a valuable service with shared serviced office facilities that can be used around the country but you have to become a member first.

Equally, when you are a start-up, flexibility is the key to the success of your business. Conventional commercial property leases, which usually run not just to months but years, don't offer you that. That's why we're seeing a rash of short-term lease arrangements as commercial agents and landlords realise that enterprises need to keep a firm hand on cash flow.

Long standing serviced office providers are less rigid in their terms as they understand the importance of offering as short a term as possible, as well as allowing the client to buy in the minimum of services. In effect, they are following the concept launched by easyOffice 18 months ago and which has proved enormously successful amongst the enterprise community. Like our flights and hotels, you pay only for what you use, you can book for as little as one week at a time and generally the earlier you book, the better the deal.
Long standing serviced office providers are less rigid in their terms as they understand the importance of offering as short a term as possible

The key benefits of using serviced office space are:
  • allows you to keep an eye on cash flow
  • means someone else worries about the infrastructure such as IT, cleaning and paying the utility bills.
  • gives you the flexibility to expand if business goes well, and downsize if it doesn't
  • allows you to take a shopping list approach to your day to day business needs and not pay for facilities you don't need or w ant to use such as AV equipment, secretarial support, refreshments or large meeting rooms.
What should you look for when deciding on a serviced office arrangement:
  • an operator who is truly flexible and is willing to let you take a 'menu' approach to services
  • a short contract - as short as possible. If you can pay on a credit card, so much the better, because then you can really manage your cash flow to your advantage
  • a good location, ideally with parking nearby or on good public transport routes. Just because you are starting out in business doesn't mean you need to be stuck on an out of town business park that's hard to find
  • a respected brand name and some proven success - shop around on the Internet to compare services and prices. There are also a number of business support websites that may even have reviews that could be helpful
Although the SME sector is the largest sector user of serviced office space, larger companies also turn to it in order to flex with their business requirements. Those who work on a project basis may need to upsize quickly to accommodate additional temporary staff. Or, again, they may need to expand but just don't want to commit to additional or larger office space on a lease basis until new business is proven.

As mentioned previously, serviced offices allow companies great flexibility to expand and contract and they also allow them to move in and out of offices very quickly. Businesses can generally move into their new offices within a week if they need to and sometimes within 24 hours. This will of course depend on what the office availability is within a certain location.

Our easyOffice business model is being rolled out across the UK in partnership with local investors by way of a franchise model, allowing those who take it up to be able to take advantage of the easyGroup's expertise in brand awareness, marketing and the web-based booking system.

The selected franchisees will offer an identical quality office solution aimed predominantly at the small, developing entrepreneur. Particular emphasis will be placed on the flexibility of the space, its affordability and no hassle occupation.

Franchisees will benefit from our brand, marketing expertise and a shared commitment to making the business a success. Customers will benefit from our pricing logistics and yield management system, enabling them to request and book different rooms confident in the knowledge that they are getting a consistent product, well located, safe and secure, and in the best location money can buy.

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