What do houseplants, hip hop, and small businesses have in common? Timing.

“Your best work involves timing. If someone wrote the best hip hop song of all time in the Middle Ages, he had bad timing.” ― Scott Adams

By now it’s pretty common knowledge that 9 out of 10 startups will fail. With this ever-present black cloud above each new company’s head, it’s time to have a candid conversation about how real estate plays a role in a company’s success or failure.

This advice comes from years of working with successful and unsuccessful companies—ones of all sizes and in all stages of development.

Here are the first three vital do’s and don’ts to choose and grow your space the right way.

Do trust the process. Don’t assume you’ll be an overnight success.

One big mistake young companies make is to rush to buy or lease a space. But the most important thing is to not be afraid to grow slowly. Every “overnight success” has taken a lot of work—blood, sweat, tears, beers— and time to get to where they are. Trust the process; it’s good to have goals or the “carrot” in front of you for that dream office space but don’t rush it.

Do stay away from busier areas. Don’t be afraid of locations not labeled as a “tech hub.”

Location, location, location. It’s all anyone talks about. But as long as the space accommodates your talent, location shouldn’t be the main focus in the beginning years. Be open to other locales. A large number of new companies follow the trends and flock to popular areas, often labeled “tech hubs.”

Location is important for recruiting and commuting, but it is not as critical in the beginning as focusing on the business at hand. One alternative is industrial parks, as industrial spaces tend to be cheaper. Another option is old retail locations off the beaten path. Remember, these spaces don’t have to be forever—they are just for now.

Hip and trendy blocks are nice in theory, but with an increased demand comes a limited supply, thus raising the cost for rent and putting a large dent in your budget. Let the business side drive the real estate not the other way around.

Do remain humble. Don’t let your competitors get between your ears.

You don’t need to appear as a sexy business at first. Staying lean—and keeping expenses low— especially when you’re just starting out will pay off huge dividends in the future.

Just because Johnny-from-high-school’s company only took “x” amount of months to get into their permanent space, that doesn’t mean it’s right for you and yours.

Remember, it’s a long term game and investing all your money back into your business is much more important than being flashy. Heck…if your parents are letting you use their basement, use their freaking basement.

If you want to learn more about real estate and choosing the right space, feel free to reach out to me.

Be sure to check back for the other three top Do’s and Don’ts.