Crawl, Walk, Run
I remember when my daughter took her first steps, she had been doing an army crawl for months. Every once in awhile she would try to stand up using our coffee table and I would try to get her to walk to no avail. Then one day while my wife and I were sitting down for dinner, my daughter stood and started walking toward my wife for food. It was the most exciting thing my daughter had done in her young life, in fact, my wife screamed so loud my daughter didn't take a step for another month. My son's story of learning to walk is the same, minus my wife screaming.
Like learning to walk, there are natural progressions you should be going through whether you're a tech startup or lifestyle business, funded or bootstraping. If you go from idea straight to the market, you will fail. There are steps in between like market validation, experimentation, and product development that are very important. The same thing comes to selecting a space, doing neighborhood pop-ups or being in an office with no windows is perfectly ok. In fact, the best businesses started in a garage - Amazon, Apple, Google, Disney, Maglite and so on.
You should select a space and a lease term that reflects where you are as a business. New businesses and high growth businesses need the ability to experiment and pivot. They have to have the ability to expand and contract as they grow. Also with the growth of e-commerce, retailers should be looking for pop-up spaces, co-tenanting options, and smaller footprints. The last thing a business should be doing is throwing financial runway (aka money) away on unused or underutilized space.
Tenants are starting to demand more from their space, they want more options for space, lease terms, and amenities. It's time that landlords take an interest in their tenants and help cultivate them. Not every space has to be short-term or flex space, but by providing options to tenants, landlords will make their space more attractive. In the long run, by providing more lease options and flexible space needs, landlords will be taking an interest in their tenants and will end up growing a long-term tenant that sticks around.