How to Attract Investors and Employees Alike
We know what you maybe thinking:
Your startup enterprise requires great vision, superior marketing, endless hours at work, plenty of coffee and Red Bull, and a suitable office space to execute your plans.
Obviously, a few deep-pocketed investors would also be useful, and your design choices can help you draw in those investors – or drive them away.
It can get lost amid the other startup challenges, but the design and layout of your office space can be a critical factor in your success.
You must balance high functionality with low cost while maintaining your image in the process.
Investors are already aware that you need money (“startup” usually tips them off). Don’t reinforce the point with office décor including folding chairs and milk crates. Instead, show the investors how wisely you use the money that you do have.
Inexpensive and whimsical décor is fine if it matches your corporate persona. Cheap and cheesy is never acceptable. Can’t tell the difference? Seek help from a design specialist.
There is nothing wrong with being both a brilliant entrepreneur and design-challenged. The first step is admitting that there is a problem.
While a design specialist can steer you in certain directions, he or she can’t design your system from scratch. You must provide input on the following areas.
For the meantime that is why we are here to help with this informative blog to bring awareness to making your office fun and investors intrigued!
Does your furnishings give the wrong impression of your company to employees, investors, or customers? If you haven’t given any thought to your corporate identity besides “selling stuff and making money,” now is the time.
You should be able to sum up your identity in less than 5 seconds (without speed-talking). When you can, you will understand the proper balance between cost and projected image for your venture.
Start with eye-catching entrance signage and an engaging, pleasant lobby, as this is the first and most powerful impression you will make on customers and investors. Blend this design into the more functional areas.
This infographic is a great reference of solid companies who know what their company culture and identity is, and how they tie it into their office environment
Startups undergo rapid change by definition (if not, they become shutdowns). Today’s open workspace may be tomorrow’s meeting room, prototype gallery, or snack bar. Which is most likely to happen in your case?
Keep your design as flexible as possible within your corporate identity and functional needs. An overall open structure with easily modifiable spaces shows both investors and employees that you are thinking ahead.
The brands we represent through our relationship with the HNI Corporation allows us to offer Start Ups amazing products that can support fast growth and beautiful furniture at a great cost.
Here are some examples from Allsteel’s Collabortive Products
Your goal is to achieve office flexibility without your furnishings looking like they were designed that way. Modular systems can be more than drab cubicles, so consider your options before sinking money into more permanent fixtures. Savvy investors will appreciate your sense of planning and balance.
Ergonomically correct desks and chairs are a necessary investment. If you expect your startup staff to spend long hours in the office, you had better provide comfortable working spaces as well as areas to decompress and relax.
Individual working spaces must match the style of work required. The amount of open desktop area, filing and storage space, and surrounding area and furniture sends a subtle message as to how much time you expect employees to work in that space, and whether you expect them to congregate there.
Proper lighting is a given, but a workspace that takes advantage of natural light and supplements with energy efficient lighting with area shutoff sensors saves energy and shows investors a sense of responsibility.
The starting block of having a healthy ergonomic office is investing in a good chair for your team to sit on.
For Startups a chair we recommend that offers great ergonomic comfort at a reasonable price is the 9to5 Vault Chair.
Set a productive mood with interesting but non-distracting color schemes and accents. Walls that are painted in the bright pink color used by prisons to calm down incorrigible convicts are not likely to help your productivity – unless, of course, you selectively hire incorrigible convicts 🙂 .
Below is a color palatte example of how you can include a nice splash of color into your furniture and office layout.
Companies that rely on innovation must focus on their collaborative areas. What type of environment motivates your employees to bounce ideas off of each other?
Does a formal meeting room work better than a large open area with places for laptop computers? How about a pool table? How about a table next to a pool?
Do you hate traditional meetings? Consider meeting rooms with standup desks or other unconventional gathering places. Make it easier for attendees to be engaged and interested and harder for them to clandestinely play Candy Crush on their phones or fall asleep.
Do whatever works for your employees and fits into your corporate culture and budget. The only rule is that you make both employees and potential investors happy. Know the habits and preferences of both. If you succeed there, customers will follow.
Express this identity through the artwork you choose to display as well as in your furniture. What makes your company unique, and what is the best art form to express it?
Commission simple pieces to complement your message if you can. Supporting your local artist community is a great way to build your image and promote civic pride in a cost-effective way. Otherwise, find relatively inexpensive pieces of art that blend with your vision.
Classical art implies a more traditional approach; modern art suggests a more exploratory and innovative style. “Dogs Playing Poker” suggests a lack of concern about your image.
Our Final Thoughts
Take the time to set up a comfortable and practical office design that meets employee needs and impresses potential investors. Think “frugal, yet stylish.” Spend the amount of money that is appropriate to suit your employees’ needs and get your message across – no more, no less.
We leave you with this final thought: if your office environment looks like a total afterthought to investors, they may wonder what other factors you haven’t considered.