Assess your business
Before you start rummaging through your garage or pricing desks at an office supply store, sit down (on the floor, if necessary) and ask yourself some questions about your business. Here are some that can give you a clear sense of your business's purpose, its image, and your in-office needs:
What am I trying to accomplish through my business, and how many hours will I spend in my office to do so? If you're in a service profession where minimal time is spent in your office, then you obviously don't need to invest too heavily in furniture. On the other hand, if you're an architect who'll work at least eight hours a day in your home office, you'll want to ensure that your work space is as comfy as a pair of bunny slippers.
Who else will be spending time in my office? If you're going solo, then you only have one person to please--yourself--so if that purple chair strikes your fancy, go for it. However, if others will be spending time in your office as well, you should at least attempt to please the masses. After all, happy employees will help make your business more profitable.
How important is image to my business and office? An office will often be judged by its decor. First, anticipate how many and what types of people will be visiting your office (clients, vendors, job candidates, your young niece, your pet poodle, etc.). Once you've done this, ask yourself how important the image you exude through your office furniture and decor is. Perhaps you're starting a law firm bent on not seeming stuffy, or maybe you're opening a graphic design firm trying to appeal to younger clients.
What pieces of furniture do I absolutely need to operate my business? This is the time to figure out whether you really need that ping pong table. Spend a few minutes jotting down the basic pieces of furniture you'll need regularly to carry out your job duties. How many desks, chairs, file cabinets, and the like? Don't forget communal pieces like conference tables, reception chairs, and kitchen or break room furniture.
Will my business expand in the future? Your plans for business expansion are key in making wise furniture decisions. If you expect your business to expand, you'll want to purchase furniture sets that you can add to or replicate easily.
Once you've assessed your business, you should have a good sense of how much furniture you need as well as how important its look and feel are. Now take a look at your office floor plan to get an idea of any space limitations you may have. Measure work stations carefully to make sure what you choose will fit.