Thinking of Expanding Your Small Business? | Satellite Offices offer many benefits — but the traditional lease may be cost-prohibitive

Satellite Offices
There are many benefits of a satellite office for small businesses looking to expand. Find out how this choice can benefit you.

The economy is at a crossroads at the moment.

The past year has left various industries tending to their wounds and wondering what is the next logistical step for them.

For many, the reality of cutting down on staff, real estate, and perks has been detrimental to business and employee morale.

But now is the opportunity to flip the script and rebuild the cracked foundation of our economy.

This path will be undoubtedly difficult. With software provider Womply finding that small business revenue fell by 12% during the first nine months of 2020, it’s safe to say that cash conservation is a priority for these companies.

However, if you’re a small business eager to bounce back from this challenging time, there are methods to do so without exceeding your budget.

No, seriously.

What if there was a way for you to accommodate your workers in a safe workspace that supports their physical and mental well-being, expands your reach into new markets, and cuts down on overall expenses?

It may seem too good to be true, but this solution can be found in satellite offices.


What Is A Satellite Office?

What Is A Satellite Office?

A satellite office is simply an additional, smaller branch of an existing company headquartered somewhere else. 

However!

This isn’t to be confused with an actual branch office. In fact, it is essential to know the difference between the two offices before setting aside a portion of your real estate budget towards a satellite office.

So what exactly differentiates a satellite office vs a branch office? 

With a satellite office space, your business can:

  • Incorporate more flexibility
  • Choose workspace size and number of staff
  • Accommodate hybrid working arrangements
  • Cut down on real estate expenses

Think of it as a bare bones workspace that is equipped with all the necessary office amenities, without totally duplicating your company’s headquarters team.

A common instance of a satellite office is satellite banking, which is when a bank does not find it feasible to open a branch in rural areas and instead opens a satellite office.

These offices are operated from a bank’s base branch and still operates all sorts of banking operations. These locations sometimes operate on days that the base branch may be closed, allowing customers to have access to the firm’s services more flexibly.

On the other hand, branch offices usually house a full staff, from IT departments and marketing to HR and office managers. Branch offices are usually smaller, yet fully-fleshed outlets for a company in markets outside of the main headquarters.

A perfect example of a branch office is everyone’s favorite fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin Scranton outside of the company’s headquarters in New York City. Dunder Mifflin Scranton features a regional manager, assistant (to the) regional manager, a secretary, sales team members, customer service representatives, and an HR department.

Despite the differences between satellite and branch offices, the two terms are often used interchangeably, which can create confusion during a company’s real estate planning process.

So having a full understanding about the difference between the two can help you properly plan your growth strategies in a way that best suits your company’s operational model, real estate footprint, and budget.


Benefits Of A Satellite Office

Benefits Of A Satellite Office

What exactly does it mean to say that satellite offices provide more flexibility?

Simply put — you get a choice.

A satellite office allows your small business to find the workplace layout that works best for your team, whether that means an open office plan with ample room for collaboration, or private offices for focused work. 

And having a variety in choice is perfect when broadening your company’s horizons.

Even more, having another center outside of your homebase is ideal when trying to connect with more customers and even building a community around your company’s products or services.

For instance, with a satellite office, your customer service can become more personalized and  improved. By having staff on the ground in different markets, workers can nurture closer relationships with clients in new locations.

This is essential when expanding your business, as your reputation with clients will be the factor that sets your business apart from competitors.

Customer service is the crux of any successful company, as research has found that customers are more likely to try other services or products from a company that has provided superior customer service.

Not only does a satellite office provide your business the chance to expand your client base, but it also widens your talent pool. 

Having access to a whole new slew of professionals in other areas is great for any growing business as they can provide a diverse perspective and expertise knowledge of the area and what strategies can help boost business.

Diversity in the workplace means more than just meeting a quota — research from software decision platform Cloverpop found that diverse teams are 87% better at decision-making than individuals.

This also helps keep you from having to relocate current staffers, which can be costly and even hinder employee satisfaction.

Additionally, setting up a satellite office can allow you to get a recognizable virtual office address in order to make an impression on a new market.

For smaller businesses in rural towns, this is crucial because having a prestigious virtual office address can help you easily tap into large metropolitan areas and attract locals to a neighborhood they may already be familiar with.

It also helps if these locations are surrounded by resources that your homebase may lack.

Having a notable address instantly shows potential clients that:

  • Your company is eager to grow
  • Your company is reliable
  • Your company wants to instill a sense of trust in new customers
  • Your company is a worthy competitor within your industry
  • Your company wants to be taken seriously by investors

Perhaps one of the biggest perks of incorporating one of these offices as part of your company’s growth strategy is the ability to tap into new markets.

Expanding your small business can be very daunting, but having a satellite office can make this process more seamless. In addition to broadening the amount of customers your business will be able to serve, setting up an office can help spread the word and increase brand awareness across various and surrounding cities.

If you’re still unsure if your business will best serve a new market, using a satellite office allows you to dip your toes in the waters and test the viability of this new area.

Much of the time, these offices are provided on flexible-term leases, making it easy to walk away in case a certain market does not end up being the most feasible part of your company’s strategies.

But what if you’re looking to enter into a new market and are still not sure of how much office space you’ll need?

Satellite offices don’t only offer flexible leases, but they also allow you to expand or cut down on space based on your preferences. 

So if you find that your business is doing well in a particular market and want to grow your office, satellite offices make it easy to do so.

Approaching your expansion this way allows you to grow your company and team in a more sustainable way too.

While growing your business is great for revenue growth, it also helps you network and cultivate new, meaningful relationships with surrounding communities. 

When entering a new market, it’s important to establish a repertoire with fellow local businesses in order to build strategic partnerships that can help further your business and contribute to the local economy. 

Spreading your brand across various locations makes it easier to take advantage of opportunities to collaborate.

Slashing Costs And Supporting The Employee Experience

Slashing Costs And Supporting The Employee Experience

Operating a small business can be fulfilling, but managing costs and expenses poses a challenge for many. This is particularly evident as the economy as a whole struggles to rebound from the pandemic’s damage.

Luckily, satellite offices provide a chance for businesses to alleviate additional costs, without sacrificing reputation and service. The flexibility in expenses for these spaces has a profound effect on how the rest of the company operates and can allow your business to thrive.

But how exactly does a satellite office help businesses cut down on costs? 

With a satellite office, your business can take advantage of:

  • Smaller investment than opening a full-fledged new location
  • Decreased operating costs
  • Paying only when the space is actually in use
  • Leaving the office empty and simply using the prestigious address
  • Flexible term agreements that best suit your budget

In addition to cutting down on expenses, satellite offices are ideal for employees, especially if you’re operating with a distributed team.

Research has found that long commutes have been linked to higher levels of stress, which can have a direct impact on the quality of work employees are producing.

By adopting satellite offices, you can help make life easier for your team members by providing them a workspace closer to their homes and shortening their commute times.

Doing so is not only more convenient, but it allows them to take the time they would have spent getting to the workplace towards improving their work process. 

More importantly, cutting down on commute times means a happier workforce, and having satisfied employees is the foundation of a healthy work culture. 

Think about it as a rippling effect:

When employees are satisfied in their positions, they are more engaged with their work. When employees are engaged, they stay on at their jobs for longer and produce higher quality work. 

This means higher revenue, more customers, and most importantly, a healthy company culture.

The employee experience has become an increasingly vital part of a company’s operations in recent years, as it has been found to be one of the biggest factors to a successful business. 

This means more than happy employees — it has a direct impact on how you retain and attract talent, as well as your standing with customers.

Today’s modern customer base largely wants to support companies that are actually nurturing the employee experience and contributing to the greater good for the world.

Research from Gallup has also found that companies with highly engaged teams saw 21% more profitability.

And if that’s not enough to convince you (although it should be), shorter commute times means lower carbon emissions, which can help your company be more sustainable and environmentally friendly, another characteristic customers look for in the companies they support.


What To Consider When Choosing A Satellite Office

What To Consider When Choosing A Satellite Office

There are numerous reasons to consider incorporating a satellite office as part of your company’s operational strategy, but most do in order to expand their business.

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As a business owner, you understand the tenacity it takes to continue growing your brand and reach out to a new market.

So what approach works best?

Oftentimes, companies look towards using flexible spaces to serve as their satellite offices. Sometimes referred to as managed offices, these workspaces are managed and operated by a third-party company, but provide your team a totally dedicated space that can even feature your branding.

While you may think this requires you relinquishing control over how your company is run in some instances, adopting one of these spaces means you can focus on other areas of your business that need to be improved.

Using a flexible workspace as your satellite office means your business won’t have to worry about:

  • Furnishings
  • Utility Costs
  • Office Management and Maintenance
  • Technology Infrastructure

The everyday annoyances of having our physical office are no longer on your plate with a flex space and are totally taken care of by a third party.

Even more, many of these facilities offer countless other amenities such as collaborative areas, unlimited refreshments, on-site gyms, cafes, and a sense of community that does wonders in improving a workers’ wellbeing and job satisfaction.

Not only is having a healthy work environment like this ideal for a motivated, engaged employee, it is also essential for a company’s bottom line.

And the pandemic has taught us that employee engagement is the heart of the workplace. Without it, your business could risk hurting their reputation, revenue, and ability to compete with other companies within your industry. 

Think about this:

According to Gallup, around 17.2% of the workforce reported being disengaged in 2017, and with burnout numbers on the uprise throughout the pandemic, this number is probably higher.

Even more worrisome, employees who are not engaged cost their employers $3,400 for every $10,000 they make.

With the median weekly earnings in the U.S. coming to $984, or $51,168 annually, that means a single disengaged employee making the average could cost you around $17,397 each year.

Gallup also reveals that disengaged employees tend to spread their apathy or discontent about their position and the company they work for to their colleagues. 

So multiply that number above by 100, and this could have disastrous repercussions for a small business.

If you’re running a smaller business, you understand that you cannot afford any additional costs that could hinder your company’s growth. That’s why one of the best places to start improving is keeping staff engaged, especially as hybrid and remote working becomes more of a mainstay and employees work from various locations.

Looking to mitigate your costs even more?

In addition to these workspaces keeping your staff engaged, having a managed office as part of your arsenal cuts down on overall real estate costs as well.

Because most flexible office operators do not require you to sign onto long-term, expensive lease agreements, you are able to easily expand your organization without a potentially risky commitment. 

The third-party operator takes care of the costly management needs required by an office, such as internet connection and other equipment, and helps you keep your expenses down while you work to expand your company’s brand across various markets.

You still reap the benefits of any other office, including having a branded office that is built exclusively for your employees, without running your budget dry.

If you’re interested in adopting or renting a managed office space outside of your company’s base market to serve as a satellite office, check out Allwork.Space to find a new location that suits your small business. 

Location, Location, Location

Location, Location, Location

So you’ve decided that a satellite office is for you. Now you’re faced with the next challenge — deciding exactly where you want your satellite office.

Choosing the right city and neighborhood also has to be a top priority when you’re planning your company’s expansion.

This is overwhelming, understandably, since you have countless options to choose from.

However, doing individual research about which markets could best use your business’ products or services can help narrow down your decision.

It may seem like choosing a large central business district in New York City or Los Angeles should be the obvious choice, understanding where demand for your services are located and how your company can stand up to other competitors is crucial.

Another factor to consider is that recent data has indicated that the pandemic is causing many professionals to migrate to secondary cities and suburban areas. 

This is due to both new remote workers preferring to stay home in suburban neighborhoods rather than make their usual lengthy commute to the big city, as well as those who escaped city life to seek lower costs of living and wide open spaces. 

Overall, it is safe to say these areas are seeing a huge spike in growth.

For instance, payroll processor Gusto found that 400,000 roles left large cities and 175,000 of those shifted to being based in the suburbs.

That’s why it is essential to do research about the best location to move your business into since we are undergoing new trends in the economy.

When choosing a new location, it is also important to keep in mind how accessible working in a satellite office will be for employees.

Consider the following:

  • Will there be a lot of traffic in that area?
  • What type of amenities are available around the office?
  • How easy is it for your workforce to commute?
  • What are the public transit options?

You’ve probably heard that “location, location, location” is vital when looking for new real estate, and it’s more true than ever today.

The pandemic has led employees to totally reshape their frame of thought when it comes to what they need from their workplace. While it may have once been catered lunches and the like, demand has become increasingly health and wellness focused.

And in order to accommodate these new desires from employees, it’s important to provide them a workspace that is surrounded by amenities that make their work-life balance easier.

For instance, see if the satellite office you choose offers discounts for members on local gyms or dry cleaners. Doing this makes it so workers can still achieve a healthy balance between work and home responsibilities that they have been able to experience over the past year.

It’s also worth noting that working closer to home can do wonders for employee mental health and energy levels in the workplace.

Once you’ve addressed all the various considerations of having a satellite office, you can choose the best location for your company.


Operating Your Satellite Office

Operating Your Satellite Office

One of the biggest takeaways of the past year has been the importance of communication between employees from all levels as people work from home.

And the same can be applied to your home base and satellite office.

Making sure there is a proper streamline of communication between headquarters and satellite offices helps ensure that all staff stay on the same page, as well as continue to collaborate on big picture work and maintain company culture.

This is absolutely crucial, as 86% of executives and employees have said that poor communication and collaboration are the reason for work-related failures.

It will take tweaking, but learning the best methods that make your business function seamlessly across all markets will set you apart from the competition.

Establishing a foolproof operational policy isn’t just essential for today and the year following, it will help guide your business and all of its locations for the foreseeable future.

So find ways that help you maintain consistent branding across all locations, and make sure this is maintained so you don’t lose sight of your focus as you continue to grow your company even further.


Ready To Open A New Satellite Office?

Ready To Open A New Satellite Office?

Deciding your company is ready to expand is a courageous step, and having the right resources in tow will help you on this new adventure.

Whether you’re a small business in a rural town that wants to provide your services to city dwellers, or a company who wants to better accommodate flourishing suburbs, a satellite center can help you make this move.

Finding the right market to grow into is a daunting task, but using a flexible space as your satellite office makes it simple to test out the waters of how your business may fare in this new area.

And the good news is you don’t have to think about:

  • Buildout costs
  • Incorporating connectivity, technology, and other office amenities
  • Furnishing the space
  • Hiring managers to maintain the office

All the overwhelming details of running an office are handled by a third-party, so you can hone in on making sure your business and its products or services are the best your industry has to offer.

Luckily, we’re entering an era where distributed teams are becoming the norm. So finding a satellite office that can accommodate everything your employees need for the best workplace experience possible has never been simpler.

Not only is finding the right space for your team easier now, it’s also cheaper. Instead of taking out an expensive, long-term lease during these uncertain economic times, you can take advantage of a workspace that actually reduces your overall expenses.

Best of all, having one of these offices outside of your homebase helps grow your branding in a more personable way, allowing you to connect with the local community and other like-minded business owners.

Building community within a company means employees are engaged, and when employees are engaged, that guarantees success for your company and its future.


FAQ

  1. What is a satellite business?
    • A satellite business is an operation that is an extension of a company’s main headquarters, which is more flexible than a traditional branch office and intended to grow branding.
  2. What is a satellite location?
    • A satellite location is the city or neighborhood your company decides to open a new satellite office. This can range from large metropolitan areas with big populations, or suburbs where many recent remote workers have migrated to in recent months.
  3. What is a satellite center?
    • A satellite center is the space your office will be located in. Many of these centers feature traditional office amenities, such as furniture, connectivity, and more, and allow companies to take advantage of these resources.
  4. What is a satellite bank?
    • A satellite bank is an extension of a bank’s main headquarters, but does not feature all of the frills of a full branch location. Oftentimes, these locations operate during off-hours for the bank, making it more accessible to customers.
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