If you’re running a small business, sometimes it’s difficult to know when the time’s right to take the plunge and move your company premises out from under your own roof and under another.

So if you’re wondering whether now’s the time for your business to fly the nest, here are a few little signs to look out for…

Your work-life balance is teetering

When the chaos of the family home is rushing around you, it can sometimes be difficult to force yourself back in front of your desk. And when you eventually get there, the odd toy may have found itself into your study and those documents you put by your computer have mysteriously vanished. Little things like this all start to tell you that you need to start thinking about separating out your home and work life. On the other end of the spectrum, working from home can start to feel like a huge burden: knowing that you’re only a room away from that never-ending stream of work that’s always lurking and feeling frustrated at being at home but not able to spend time with family.

You’re becoming a recluse

For lots of small business owners who live and work at home, there’s a real danger of b
ecoming scared of the big bad world that lies just beyond you own front door. In the days of online shopping, it’s easy to get by without leaving the house for a few days without so much as a mouth full of fresh air. This can be really unhealthy and not just for you, but your business too; humans need social interaction to stifle boredom and, more often than not, we’re more engaged in the task at hand when we’re in the presence of others.

Things are starting to feel a little cramped

Hiring your first employee is a big deal. Especially if it wasn’t something you’d ever really planned for; perhaps when you set-up shop in your study or in an out-building at the bottom of the garden way back when, you never really expected your business to grow beyond those four walls. But things are changing, so what now? You can only ask your new employee to take a seat on a piece of plastic patio furniture or borrowed dining chair for so long before it becomes increasingly obvious that it’s time to start thinking about investing in a space that’s better equipped to accommodate you as well as current (and future) employees.

Running your business from home makes you feel uncomfortable

Sometimes it’s not just the issue of space that leads you to conclude that it’s time to move on up. After all, it’s one thing for you to work and live at the same address, but it can feel quite strange inviting someone else to come and work in your home, especially if you have a family. It’s not just employees either – meetings with clients can throw up this problem too and when that happens, you may start to reconsider how professional your current home set-up comes across to outsiders.

You start to want more

There comes a point for every small business when the novelty of working in your pyjamas and being in for deliveries and meter readings wears off. You start to think big and contemplate all the opportunities that having somewhere else to work outside of your home affords: where company letters aren’t mixed in with mortgage statements, where no-one else will ask to ‘use your computer for a couple of minutes’ and where you don’t need to answer the door to those unexpected sales calls. You start to see yourself as a business and not just some freelancer working from home. You start to get excited about the future.

And it’s this instinct of ‘wanting more’ for you and your company above all else that really tells you it’s time to find a new base for your business.

Make sure you listen.