You don’t have to wait until you need space to assem­ble your team. It takes time to find the right peo­ple to help make you suc­cess­ful. So start putting your team together as soon as you can. You’ll prob­a­bly need the following:

  • Bro­ker: to help you find you space
  • Banker: to help finance improvements
  • Insur­ance Agent: to help you pur­chase the right insurance
  • Architect/Interior Designer: to help you design your space
  • Con­trac­tor: to con­struct ten­ant improvements
  • CPA: to help you fig­ure out how much you can afford and the tax con­se­quences of your decision
  • Attor­ney: to help you nego­ti­ate your lease

You’ll first start work­ing with your bro­ker to help you find your space. You should also start putting some of your team into action. They’ll help you fig­ure out what to look for and how much you can afford. If you need space designed to your needs, you can engage your archi­tect in help­ing you fig­ure out the design and size of your space and help you fig­ure out what per­mits you might need. You can talk with your CPA to help you fig­ure out how much you can afford and how long of a lease you might need. If you’re going to need financ­ing, you can talk with your banker. You can also require the owner to engage envi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tants to con­duct an envi­ron­men­tal assess­ment (All Appro­pri­ate Inquiry) of poten­tially con­t­a­m­i­nated prop­erty or request a copy of the report if the owner already con­ducted the AAI. You can also start look­ing for a contractor.

It’s not a bad idea to let your attor­ney know that you plan on leas­ing space. Then your attor­ney can start draft­ing a lease that’s tai­lored to your needs. The land­lord often has her own lease and will want to use it. But if you have nego­ti­at­ing power, you can insist on using your form. The advantage of using your form is that you can start the nego­ti­a­tions with a tenant-favored lease rather than a landlord-favored lease.

Once you’ve found a space, you may con­sider writ­ing a let­ter of intent stat­ing your terms. Once the let­ter of intent is signed, it’s time to start negoti­at­ing the lease.