Most Fintech companies start with a few founders, their laptops, and not much else. Saying they have a shoestring budget implies they have money for shoes.
As a result, they often collaborate online remotely to keep the expense of an actual office space from killing their business before it starts. It seems like a logical decision at the time. These businesses are often founded by techies who would prefer to spend all day plugged into The Matrix anyway.
However, is a lack of an official office space going to keep you from scaling your business? It could. And here’s why.
Your Sales Team Will Need Space to Sell
Remote working is fine while you’re building the product. Your core team can collaborate online incredibly effective with today’s tools, many of which are free. You can absolutely create a remote workflow where deadlines are met and milestones are reached. Also, the founders know a lot about tech and not a lot about the different types of commercial leases in today’s marketplace, so they may feel hesitant to jump into that space.
However, once your product is built and there is something to sell, you may have to hire sales professionals.
Even in this hyper-modern industry, a lot of old-world truths remain. A sales team needs a good old-fashioned office, with a boardroom/ meeting room for client pitches and big meetings.
Granted, a lot of co-working spaces will offer you boardrooms. However, that doesn’t always look professional. There is a difference between looking like a hot up-and-coming start-up, and coming off as a company that’s not ready for the big time yet.
Investors Want to See One
This is a young market. However, most of the people with money to invest in start-ups have gray hair. Older investors are more likely to view a lack of an actual office as a lack of legitimacy as a business.
Again, this could portray an image of “not ready.”
A Need For True Collaboration
Go-To Meetings and Slack calls are very good collaborative tools. However, once your team includes techies, sales staff, and a marketing team, you’re going to want these people interacting every day.
Even if it’s not meetings per se, there is real value in one employee going over to another to tag-team a problem or hash out a strategy.
Building a Company Culture
It’s hard to build a company culture when everyone is working remotely and disconnected. At that point, your company culture is abstract. There is nothing really tangible about it.
It can be harder for employees to truly go all-in on your company, which leads to problems with employee engagement and employee retention.
So, do Fintech companies really need an office space? Short answer: No, over the short term. But you will eventually need one or you may find it’s difficult to scale your business. You may find that you’re not able to close major clients or lure angel investors without an actual office space to call your own.
The odds are good that when the time comes, you will know. Remote work will cease to be a money-saver and start to look like a business-killer.