Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sharing space

     Free daily tips, information and advice for small business
     from personal experience starting-up, growing and expanding my own small businesses.

     Previous write-ups have covered businesses owned by two or more partners. Less formal arrangements can benefit small operations.

     Small businesses can share the costs of space and expenses. This arrangement works best with businesses that don't compete with each other but target the same or similar markets.

     Example: Dr. Smith is an ophthalmologist. He wanted to move into larger office space, and at the same time he decided to partner with an audiologist. They maintain their practices entirely separate, but they share the expense of common areas and a receptionist who serves the two.

     A spillover of clients and referrals can occur when two non-competing medical practices come together at the same location. Think chiropractors and nutritionists, podiatrists and massage specialists, dermatologists and psychotherapists. 

     Example: Artists and artisans can find it too expensive to afford a working studio that is open to the buying public. But a jewelry maker and a fiber artist can share space without getting in each other's way. By coordinating schedules, one or the other is always on hand to handle phones, customers and sales. Some take it to the next level--with jewelry, several different artists can share a single studio; and with potters, several different artists can share the space and the kilns. More importantly, they target the same market, drawing a more diverse buying public than if done alone. 

     Example: Massage therapists, nutritionists, hypnotists and holistic practitioners can benefit by coming together in a shared located. I know of instances in which these types of operations were only an interim step, growing eventually into full-fledged spa operations. See previous write-ups on this phenomenon. 

     Example: Tradespeople (plumbers, electricians, etc.) do most of their work at the work site. Having an office seems a needless expense. But if these specialists come together to rent space, it can be beneficial to future growth. 

     You need to carefully think through the benefits and drawbacks of such arrangements. No matter your particular business, you should be able to share space--and perhaps a receptionist--to the benefit of both operations.

     You can be very creative in figuring out ways to get into business and then grow the operation. Sharing space is only one avenue. See my previous write-ups for more ideas.



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