Office Space: Advertise Your Skills
It’s simple – your office space has a direct effect on your client relationships. For instance, considering the economy, it’s an advantage to have clients consider your workspace as being humble. Years ago, this was not considered to be true. However, times do change and so do clients’ perspectives.
I remember many years ago, when I worked as an in-house designer for a mid-size consulting firm, our office space, location, aura and décor were the best of the best: the best office furniture, best building, best golf outings, best holiday parties, best coffee, best carpet, etc. The theory was that we had to impress our clients, key employees, and even potential clients with our office. Being the best meant having the best. We wanted everyone to think that we were first-class, and that meant having the most handsome offices on the block. And, for the most part, it worked.
But, things change. Now, my surroundings are much more unpretentious. Not less creative, but a definite less-thrills approach. No more designer desks, limited edition prints hanging on the walls, or expensive toiletries in the bathroom – just our team in a nice, artistic space. Even if we could afford the best office available, our clients are not looking for that. It’s “hip” to be frugal, especially in dealing with your company’s money. The cost of your office space is directly relevant to how your clients view your billings. The more frugality they see in your surroundings, the more they assume you will be with their money.
Think of your expenses (like your office) as a bottle of wine. I was watching a program on the Travel Channel about he shrinking economy and how it was affecting the high-end restaurants. A head chef stated that his business was not great, but it was still good: people were just switching from the very expensive to the more humble offerings. For instance, a few years prior, everyone wanted to be seen with the most expensive bottle of wine. Now, the same clients might consider it tacky to have an ultra bougie bottle sitting on their table. A good bottle, yes – an extremely expensive bottle, no.
We must realize that even if clients can afford the billings of an expensive agency, most will feel guilty in doing business with them… the same as the bottle of wine. Being frugal does not mean having bad taste. Use good design to help make your office your own, and with very few bucks, you can have a unique space in no time.