Brad North had all things a home-based entrepreneur could want: a reasonably healthy business, happy clients, steady work. But he lacked one thing: growth.

North's business, Advantage Business Consulting, has tripled in size since he moved operations out of his house and into CMC Properties Office Center in Mason. A specialized consultant to the self-storage industry as well as a sales training expert, North advises that "the No. 1 reason someone doesn't launch [out of the home office setting] is fear."

Fear that moving into a rented office won't pay for itself. Fear that you'll be locked into an inflexible lease. Fear that you'll be just as isolated in an office tower as in your home's study or basement. All these fears are unjustified, if North's experience is any example.

Working outside the home "has added a lot of quality to my life, and to my relationships with my wife and children," observes North.

"If you work from home," agrees Jim Cohen, "you're never home from work." Cohen, the managing partner for CMC Properties, likens moving away from a home-based business as being a quality-of-life issue as much as making good business sense.

Cohen ticks off the advantages an office can bring to a one or two-person business: productivity, image, professionalism. Beyond that, CMC offers special fringe benefits not found at some other office centers: a unique one-page lease "” "No legalese," Cohen promises "” an intranet connecting all tenants, a wholesale club for purchasing office supplies, a business lecture series, and other innovative programs.

For North's part, it's the business incubator aspect of CMC that attracted him most. "They really do take businesses and grow them." CMC, founded 40 years ago to operate on a strict set of ethical guidelines, was recently awarded a Better Business International Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

"We've got a network of office entrepreneurial parks around Greater Cincinnati," comments Cohen, noting that the network adds up to a million square feet in such diverse locations as Blue Ash, Anderson, West Chester, Springdale and across the river into Florence and even extending to Carmel, Indiana. "The thing that is most interesting is that we house almost a thousand businesses "” 957 to be exact. And it's all small businesses, 500 square feet on average."

Cohen is quick to clarify that some of these "small" businesses in terms of square footage can be entrepreneurs earning millions of dollars in revenue each year.

Cohen points to North as an example of the networking opportunities at a facility such as CMC. "We introduce him to hundreds of other business [tenants] that needs sales," he notes. "We're not just landlords. We understand his success is our success."

North adds that it's quite easy for the entrepreneur in the home office setting to become isolated, clicking away on a keyboard and communicating solely by instant or text message. Having a professional office has created a sense of order.

North says the efficiencies of scale he gained by his move into CMC has created another beneficial side effect: more time to work on yet another side business. "I've built a professional mystery shopping service for the self-storage industry. I pose as a customer and score how (managers) do on the phone.

"CMC took my organization to another level. Having a structure and finding balance allowed me to step out of the trenches and hire a full-time office manager," says North, who adds he plans to hire additional employees to field the new work he's seeing. "If I were still working out of my home, would all this have happened? No."