In the eighth episode of the Startup Series, Pip Murray, founder of all natural nut butter brand Pip & Nut, talks about the perks and pitfalls of finding the right workspace for your business.
From the kitchen table to her own branded offices, Pip Murray recommends you always match your workspace to your business income.
Pip founded Pip & Nut four years ago after identifying a gap in the market for a brand of nut butters which focused on all natural ingredients but catered for younger tastes. Pip & Nut’s creations, which include Coconut Almond Butter and Chocolate Coconut Hazelnut Butter, are now stocked online and in 2,300 stores including Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Lakeland. Pip has expanded her product range with a line of specialist nut milks and nut butter squeeze packs.
Pip’s has grown her workspace with her company: “During the journey of Pip and Nut, we’ve worked in various different spaces. Initially, it was just me in my kitchen and my laptop when I was just starting up.”
Read on below for Pip’s advice on how to match your workspace requirements to the different stages of your company’s life:
1. Look for a dedicated workspace only when you need it
Tempted by that smart, flashy office? Pip recommends that you don’t rush into signing a lease when you’re just starting out.
“I always believe you should keep your overheads as low as possible,” she says. “When you haven’t got that much cash in the business, there’s no point spending it on a fancy workspace.”
2. Find a co-working space for maximum flexibility
Co-working spaces offer owners the flexibility to run their businesses where, when and how they want. They’re also a great way to beat the feeling of isolation that can go hand-in-hand with starting up on your own.
“Just before launch of the brand, we moved into a co-working space,” explains Pip. “The great thing about co-working spaces is that they’re incredibly flexible. You can hire as many desks as you like, as and when you need them. You can keep your overheads super low without having to commit to big leases and big deposits.”
3. Reap the benefits of working with like-minded business owners
Co-working gives you more than just flexibility and company. Another big plus is that you get to pick the collective brains of other business owners.
Pip says: “The other advantage of co-working spaces is that they’re filled with other small business owners that you can share knowledge and tips with, or just go for a drink with. It’s incredibly sociable.”
4. Plan ahead for growth
Taking a longer term view is essential when it’s time to scale up and take on more space. Moving too early might mean taking on more space than you need, which can increase your overheads and cut your profits. Leaving it too late could mean you miss out on opportunities to grow your business.
“Whenever you’re approaching scaling up into a larger space, you have to think about how long that space has got to last you,” says Pip.
“With our current space, we’ve got it for five years. You have to mindfully think, ‘Well, where do I want to take this in five years and how big are we going to be? Therefore, how much space do we need to acquire?’”
5. Create a physical extension of the brand
Signing a lease can give you and your team the space to really live your brand. You can create surroundings and an atmosphere which reflects your core values. For example, if you’re brand has ‘fun’ within it’s values, you could add bright artwork, computer game stations or a pool table. Brands which have healthy living at their core could add an office fruit bowl, an area for yoga sessions or a stand up desk.
“The great thing, when you’ve got your own space is that gives you a real opportunity to create an extension of your brand in a physical space. It’s really important for the culture of your company that you create an environment that reflects your brand.”
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