For the past four years, we’ve been operating out of an office nestled in a large, cozy house. It has seen the business grow from one full time employee to four. The house kept us at a low overhead and considering my father owned it, we were renting at a price that allowed us some financial cushion. The house fostered an environment that reiterated that at its core, our business runs as a family. But, as a baby outgrows a crib, we have outgrown the home. And so, we move.
We need to hire more employees and this humble abode will not do. How exciting is that, though? Business has grown so much that we need more staff, but do not have the physical space to accommodate them. Pretty good dilemma to have. And while it sucks having to go from renting for little, and also renting smart by essentially being our own landlord, it’s a move that we have no choice but to oblige.
In our search for the perfect location we used five criteria: cost, location, space, environment, and accessibility. An important element to our cost analysis was that we wanted to see the promise of the expansion of business either through a new contract or referral source. We needed to know that an increase in rent would never pose as a constraint. Because we were able to, just recently, secure a lucrative insurance contract, as well as a few more dependable referral sources, we felt comfortable in our financial cushion. Profit growth was just about guaranteed.
An important element in determining our location was not wanting to stray from the general vicinity where we had established a presence both with patients and with insurance providers. Because much of our competition exists in other cities, we wanted to maintain a service area presence that is otherwise not being served. Often referrals come to us simply from the distance of a patient’s home, and considering our proximity to Baltimore City; this is important. We also wanted to be certain the area fit our professional vibe and was safe.
Space, for us, was important in two regards. The first being space for employees, both old and new. Secondly, we needed warehousing space for our ever growing catalog of medical supplies. Ideally we wanted a space that was slightly too big and thus would allow for us to grow into. We want to avoid another move for at least five years, so we imagined what our potential for employee and product line expansion would be and if that space could house us at maximum capacity.
Having worked in stuffy office environments before, I felt it important to have as much clear and open spacing as well as sunlight available to the majority of staff and potential patients, customers, or visitors to our office. I also wanted to have as much of an open layout as possible for internal staff, with enough private spaces for patient consults and one-on-one meetings. Following our familial ethos, I think it’s important to have a communal environment where employees can easily consult with one another and work in enough proximity to feel encouraged to work as a team.
Finally, as we are located right off of the beltway and in a corporate park; ease in finding our location as well as ample parking space were important for the obvious reasons. While most of our business actually occurs outside of our office, we still often welcome walk ins. Commute for our staff and ourselves was also important as we wanted to avoid any issues of getting to the office as quickly as possible and/or in case of an emergency.
After having visited various locations and assessing options such as leasing versus purchasing; we settled on a location that hit all our markers. And while ideally we were looking to purchase a property, the right fit could not be found. So, we settled on a location that did meet our mark with the exception of purchasing. It was one hell of a search, but eventually we found the right space.
Today is our last day in this home. As much as I’ve nurtured this endeavor, I’m overwhelmed by how much it has grown. Our once cozy office cannot contain the behemoth that is burgeoning. It is officially a season of harvest and our piece of the pie is in sight. We’re finally moving on up and out…to the West side!