/Managing People

Leasing Commercial Business Space

964_4248817Many business owners prefer to rent space rather than make a huge investment in commercial real estate. Leasing is a particularly good option if you initially have limited space needs, but anticipate a future move based on expansion.

It is a good idea, however, consult an attorney to help you navigate the laws that govern commercial leasing, and to help you make the best decision for your needs.

Even if you rent space from someone you know well, be sure that your lease is in writing. A commercial lease is an extremely important agreement, and a handshake won’t be enough if you and the landlord disagree in the future.

In general, it’s a good idea to research the going rate for space in the neighborhood before you negotiate. The SBA also advises allowing the landlord to make the first offer, and asking for a lower rent than you think you can initially get.

Your lease should cover these essential points:

  1. The amount of the rent. The lease should also stipulate the amount and date of any escalations in the rent – these are generally based on such factors as cost of living indexes or real estate forecasts.
  2. The length of the lease, the date it begins, and the terms for renewal. You should carefully consider how long you want to commitment to the property. If you anticipate moving in the not-too-distant future, a shorter lease obviously makes sense. If you hope to remain in the same location, a longer lease will better suit your needs. The longer you stay, the better your chances for renegotiating the rent or other aspects of the lease.
  3. The specifics of what is included in the rent. Does it cover utilities and water, or will you pay for those items separately?
  4. Whether you will be responsible for paying any portion of the landlord’s property taxes, maintenance expenses, or insurance costs, and how such payments would be calculated.
  5. The amount of any required deposit, and whether a letter of credit will be accepted in lieu of cash.
  6. A description of the rental space, defining square footage, rights of access, available parking, and any other amenities.
  7. A detailed listing of any improvement the landlord will make before you take occupancy. Signing a longer lease may make the landlord more agreeable to making improvements or renovations.
  8. Any representations made to you by the landlord or leasing agent regarding such things as average utility costs, amount of foot traffic, compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act, etc.
  9. Affirmation that the space is properly zoned for your type of business.
  10. Whether you may sublet or assign the lease to another party, and under what conditions. This will be important if you want to move from the space at a later date.
  11. The conditions under which either you or the landlord can terminate the lease, and any potential consequences of doing so.

Continue reading “Leasing Commercial Business Space” »

The Perfect Balance

158_3162327While at lunch some years back, my friend reached into her purse that could double as an overnight bag, and extended a gift bag to me across the table. It wasn’t my birthday or any cause for a celebration. Separating the colorful tissue and ribbon, I peered inside and pulled out a pair of soft, fuzzy slippers.  I looked at her quizzically. “They’re your new work shoes!”  I had recently made the decision to quit my day job to focus on building my own business, strictly from home.

I remember our conversation that day oh so well.  I was already a side entrepreneur, but excited to pursue my desired career more extensively. And, I was equally excited that I was finally going to be able to stop juggling and get organized. The grocery shopping, the cleaning, the clutter, the laundry, the bills – all of those unending tasks that were always almost done, but always left unfinished.  I was finally going to be able to get everything done!

You can stop laughing now.

Working at home has proven to be the biggest juggling act of all. While I no longer pondered every morning what to wear to work, I did think about exactly how I was going to accomplish all of the things I see around me every day that need to get done. Seeing them was the problem.

When you’re working from a home office, it’s tough to ignore the dust on the desk and the bills piled off to the side.  It takes every ounce of self-restraint not to wipe down mirrors, countertops and sinks when taking a lunch or bathroom break. It’s hard not to answer the phone when my wonderful mom, who would do anything in the world for me, calls. “Hi honey. I know you’re working, but…..” That 20-minute phone conversation amounts to more time than that lost in my productivity.  Focus is difficult to maintain when you work in an environment with multiple distractions, and even more difficult to regain. Continue reading “The Perfect Balance” »

Small Business Record Keeping 101

763_3889995Whether you keep your own books or hire someone to do it for you, keeping track of your business income and expenses is a significant aspect of your job as a business owner. The type of records you keep depends on the type of business you own. If you are selling a product, lease office space, and deal with vendors, suppliers and individual customers, your system will be more in-depth than someone who works from a home office selling editing services, for example.

Any recordkeeping system should clearly show your income and expenses. Keep accurate records in ledgers and journals to show a summary of your business transactions. Your books must show your gross income, as well as your deductions and credits. For most small businesses, this information is reflected in the business checkbook. Continue reading “Small Business Record Keeping 101” »

By | November 30th, 2010|Managing People, Running A Small Business, Starting a Business, Taxes|0 Comments