Saving seems like the logical thing to do in a down economy. As a serial entrepreneur, I have seen the highs and lows of the bouncing ball we call the U.S economy- a wild ride to the small businesses dotted across the American landscape. This unpredictable climate led me to what I thought was a very wise decision to save money. Instead of signing a 3 year lease, we decided to sublease for a year from a woman we had never met before. This week I learned a very valuable lesson. I was saving at the wrong end. I would never expect bean counters to get animated in a heated office conversation, much less cuss. It turns out these human calculators are just like the rest of us... human. Their emotions and egos get the best of them... just like they do with me. Except this time, I can't do anything about it.
It started to get tense a few months ago. The next thing I know, doors are slamming, the F-bombs are flying and we are treating our interns to lunch, to get them away from this increasingly hostile environment. The contaminated work environment became a diversion. This quality time of year where we are designing new products and gearing up for a flurry of activity in 3rd quarter, became a hazy fog of distraction. Instead of brainstorming our trade show displays, we are gossiping about office politics -- and they aren't even our employees. What made it unbearable is that I was powerless. If it were my own employees, I could call them into a conference room and sort out the issues. But these issues were within someone else's company, that we happened to be cohabiting with.
My lease is up in 60 days. Now I am tasked with another choice: do I sublease again, this time with a friendly photographer for a year or do we bite the bullet and sign on the dotted line for a three year lease for a home we can call our own? An office where we can hang our frames on the wall and not worry whether the electric drill will distract us. (It's true. We have been reprimanded more than once for creating noise). Perhaps we should find an office where we can talk business strategy without the drone of gossip drowning out our good ideas. An office where I can put the red desk I have always dreamed about. I have learned that saving isn't always the right decision. The time is now. It is time to put a stake in the ground for our company, even if it costs double.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and OpenSky, celebrating The Small Business Breakthrough, a national movement to recognize and promote small businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States. For more information on the movement, or to nominate small businesses you love for a Breakthrough Award, click here.