Now that NeoCon has come to a conclusion, it makes me think about all the furniture options that are available for the small business owner. A new space or renovation usually means new furniture and many business owners turn to low quality, low cost providers to fill a space and offer an employee a space to work. There are a couple things that small business owners need to keep in mind when selecting a furniture solution:
- First Time Cost vs Long Term Cost
- Future Needs of The Company
First Time Cost vs Long Term Cost: As small business owners, we need our dollar to reach farther and often we see stores like Ikea as the perfect solution. The problem is that residential grade furniture is not going to stand up to the demands of a commercial environment. By investing in the right furniture solution upfront, you can invest in a solution that is adaptable as your business grows, has a warranty and will standup to the demands of a public space.
Flexibility: Flexible furniture is important because it will grow with the organization, can be reconfigured to meet the needs of any task or worker and will continue to meet business demands. Today’s furniture options are modular, so you have many parts that make up a work environment and they can be changed around or added to as needed.
Aesthetics: Office furniture can look like a snap shot our of the Dilbert comics, or like something from the future. The aesthetic of the furniture should complement the interior design of the space, and your company’s image. Furniture is available in thousands of colors and materials and you need to select what you like and what you feel will support your business the best.
Future Needs of The Company: We touched on reconfigurability and adaptability above, but it’s critical to make a furniture purchase with the goals of your organization five to seven years out. This is the average life-cycle of a rented space, and also the next time you are most likely going to need to add to the investment. By planning now, you can find furniture that will support the technology you anticipate down the road and the types of tasks that will need to be completed in the space. Hopefully you will plan for multitasking to conserve real estate as well.
Warranty: Big box stores don’t offer much of a warranty when it comes to furniture. Often a lifetime warranty is not hard to come by in the commercial furniture world. Confirm that the warranty also covers the labor to make the repair as well, or only the new parts needed will be covered.
Selecting the best furniture solution for your business is critical to conserving working capital. Purchasing the right furniture the first time will save on costly repairs, replacements and safeguard from choosing something that won’t stand the test of time.