Picking a 4000 foot BPO office before you have the clients!

Yes, one of my clients on 123outsource.net did exactly this. He was an American who never expected that he would end up in the Call Center business. He went to India and he just knew that if he got a large call center, the customers would come. His attitude was just like in Dubai: build it and they will come. Come they did, but not at the rate that he expected. His philosophy changed. Now he believes you should have the customers first and then get a large office. But, that is not so easy either.

It’s either too big or too small
No office is just right. It is either too big or too small, unless your office is made of rubber. If you are lucky, you can rent a trailer and create office spaces in those. That way you can rent by the week when you need elasticity. Or you can outsource to people who work at home. In India, they prefer squeezing people. Indians are born in cramped compartments. In actuality, if you had a huge room and twenty Indians, they will likely all put their desks crammed together in one corner of the room rather than spreading out. It is habitually engrained in their culture. Even with web forms, Indian programmers make the boxes two inches wide — it is so small, you can’t even see what you wrote in the box!

Being versatile
But, if you can be versatile and adaptable, you can deal with changing office situations more easily. If you had a team of twenty, and all of the team works from home one day a week, if you run out of space, just have everyone work from home two days a week! Or have everyone squeeze. On the other hand, you could have people work different shifts so you are not all on top of each other. In call center work, people are expected to be in the office, but some people do work from home if their home is quiet enough.

What would Google do?
Google invented a tiny work-pod. You get in and it is only a few feet wide, and circular of all shapes. You can space them out or squeeze them together. Many companies have workers work at huge tables in open workspaces that have no walls. Personally, I need my space and can’t stand noise, so that business model is out for me. But, others thrive in this environment. Having an overflow strategy is critical. If you can get some space in the building next door when you need it, that is perfect. Then, there are places that rent office spaces by the week as well. Renting a cubicle by the week is a great way to meet new and exciting people. I actually rented an office space by the afternoon twice and loved it. But, I went during the weekend when it was quiet which I loved all the more!

My advice?
Think positively in your business. Assume you’ll grow even if you have no reason to assume that. Our thoughts seem to precede reality according to the yogis, and I have found this to be true. However, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Perhaps get an office that is 25% more than what you need. If your business is slow, then you will have comfort, if you grow, you will have a year or so to find some extra space or move the entire operation. The trick is to have the exact amount of extra margin — know where to draw the line! Or you could visit Japan and see how cramped their life is. Once you return to your country, however much space you have will seem like an unheard of luxury.

Other than that, have fun and enjoy your work!

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