Online retail has brought about a new norm for brick and mortar office and retail requirements. There are many online retailers that operate out of their home or a small, single desk office space, and are very successful. The question for many online retailers is; when do I need office space, and how much will I need? Where should I locate to?
To help you answer these questions and figure out what is best for your business, we’ve provided some insights and tools.
Locating to Detroit
There are many reasons to locate your business to the Detroit area. Especially as of lately, with all of the development and infrastructure that is being built within the city. The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) has outlined many of the incentives to relocate or start a business in Detroit. As well, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has a list of incentives to locate a business in Michigan. Between the two of these organizations, there are an unbelievable amount of incentives to locate to Detroit. Here is a quick list of reasons as the DEGC has them listed:
- Creative Corridor Incentive Fund – designed to attract creative sector businesses to locate in the city of Detroit.
- D2D – Detroit Business to Business – designed to grow investment in the city by connecting local buyers to local suppliers.
- Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA) – designed to to promote the revitalization of environmentally distressed and blighted areas within the boundaries of the City of Detroit, Michigan.
- Detroit Food and Ag Network – (DFAN) – Enhance the capacity of Metro Detroit’s food and agriculture industry by providing support services and technical assistance aimed at alleviating barriers to growth.
- Green Grocer Project (GGP) – designed to help create competitive, sustainable grocery offerings in Detroit while improving fresh food offerings for residents.
- Renewable Energy Detroit Initiative (REDI) -designed to attract and grow a Detroit-based cluster of energy-related component manufacturers, and industry service providers.
- REVOLVE Detroit – designed to foster the evolution and vibrancy of Detroit’s neighborhood business districts.
- SmartBuildings Detroit Program (SBD) – designed to assist in the installation of energy saving improvements for commercial, institutional and public buildings in downtown Detroit to optimize the performance of city real estate.
How much office space do I need?
Planning is the key to the office space strategy. Too much space can be costly, too little space can be counterproductive. Here are some questions to ask when calculating your office space:
- How many people will be in the office space?
- Do I plan to add employees? And over what period of time?
- Does each person need an office, desk, etc?
- How does space coincide with my company culture?
- Will I need any storage space?
A common way to estimate office space needs is to go by the number of people you will have in the office. Depending on your type of work, you may need from 125-300 square feet per person. Think about how much desk space each person will need. Will you need a few computers and monitors, or just a laptop? Will you share any common devices such as printers? How about file cabinets?
Beyond the individual space, you may want to consider some common space for a break room and a conference room. Some smaller companies may be able to get away with one of these, or none if there is no need for conferences. Make sure you consider having a space for conference calls or virtual meetings.
You can achieve much flexibility with the use of shared office space, also known as co-working space. A shared office allows you to have a dedicated desk or shared desk at a facility with other businesses. There are other shared amenities such as conference rooms, whiteboards, projectors and screens. Some shared spaces even have coffee bars, or snack bars as well. Not to mention cleaning and maintenance is the responsibility of the landlord.
Sharing office space with other businesses might sound unattractive at first, but will surely save you money and time. It is also a great way to meet other businesses and entrepreneurs that may be good connections or customers.
In Detroit, there are a few shared office spaces available. You can contact our DeFI team to find a space that works for you. Or visit our DeFI partner Bamboo Detroit to setup a time to tour their space.
Do I need a physical storefront?
Even though there are more and more e-commerce stores popping up all over the world, don’t rule out a physical storefront. Some products sell better if they are able to be physically touched as opposed to just looked at online. Some retailers are providing their customers with a non-traditional user experience, and reeling them into their stores to demo products. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering a retail storefront.
- Can I offer a unique experience to demo my product(s) with a physical store?
- What kind of costs does this bring to my business?
- Are there other ways to get my products in front of potential buyers?
- What advantage does a storefront provide my business?
If you would like more information on incentives for opening a storefront or operation in Detroit, contact the DeFI team. We work closely with the MEDC and DEGC to bring new business to Detroit, and to help existing businesses grow in the Detroit market.