Your business’s address may seem like a minor detail, but it matters far more than you might think.
Every company in the UK is required to list their address publicly on Companies House, so that the information is easy to get hold of. This is true whether you’re a huge multi-national, or whether you’re a one-person business based in your home office.
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when starting a business is what address to use to register your new company with Companies House.
Here are 4 top tips to help you choose the right business address for your startup.
Working from home
Many new businesses today start life in the back bedroom or home office. It’s a growing trend that gives entrepreneurs the freedom to work from the comfort of their own house and not be restricted to certain working hours or environments.
It is a legal requirements when registering your business with Companies House that you provide an address for your business to be registered at. Though you can use your home address for this, there are some implications to be aware of if you do.
One such implication is that of privacy. Companies House makes all registered address details of businesses trading in the UK available to the public, so you risk exposing your home address to privacy issues if you register your business with it.
Another implication is that registering with your home address means all business mail will be sent here, and you may find yourself hit by a barrage of unsolicited mail - not ideal!
Worse still, exposing your home address as your business’ registered address can lead to unexpected customers turning up at your door when you’re not prepared for them. Even if you don’t list your home address details on your website or in your marketing materials, the fact it is listed by Companies House makes it easy to find and therefore open to being used.
Consider investing in a non-residential address for your business - even if it’s a virtual address that you use to register the business and you continue to work from home. You can purchase virtual addresses from various companies in the UK, and pay a monthly fee to use an office address and, depending on who you buy it from, you can also have mail sent here. This means you can register your business at a prestigious city centre address without incurring rental fees or having to give up on your plan of working from home.
This can also have an impact on how your customers perceive your business. When they see a non-residential address listed, especially one in a well-respected business area, it can tell them a lot about your business and instil more trust that a residential address would.
What your location says about your business
Your business address can say a lot about your business, as people’s perception of you is often affected by the area in which your business resides and the businesses that reside near it.
People will make assumptions or understand certain things about your business based on where it is located.
For example, if your business address was in the City of London, your business might be assumed to be in the financial sector and quite a high growth company, given that this is the style of business most often found there. If it was in a renowned creative area, it would likely be perceived as more creative itself.
It’s worth selecting an address that is in an area that reflects your business and what it’s all about.
Listing addresses online
With many entrepreneurs electing to start their business online, address becomes ever more important. Even when setting up your website, you’ll need an address with which to register it and thereafter, displaying your business address on your contact pages is important in instilling trust in your brand.
Omitting address details from your website can confuse customers and cause them to question your legitimacy and trustworthiness, as they worry that your business isn’t real or that it won’t be able to service their needs. Especially if you’re selling goods online, your business can really impact how quickly they can expect you to fulfil their orders too.
Be sure to list your business address on your website to help position your company as one which is real and trustworthy.
Understanding your options
Starting a business, exciting as it is, can also be an expensive undertaking and it’s important that any decisions you make on location also consider the cost implications.
If you do choose to rent or buy a premises, factor in monthly mortgage or rent costs as well as any shared services in the building, council bills and so on to ensure you have a full picture of what the space will cost you.
Another option would be to use a shared space, where you take a desk or room in an existing office and share it with the business(es) already in residence. “Hot desking” is a growing trend amongst businesses looking to generate additional income so keep an eye out for those opportunities in the areas that suit your business. You might also find you benefit from the relationship with the businesses you share with, especially if they offer services or products which compliment yours.
The most cost-effective option is often to use a virtual office, paying a monthly fee to use an address to register your business and receive your mail, but you don’t actually work from it or visit it yourself.
There are lots of companies who offer this service, from as little as £20.00 per month, meaning the cost to you is far lower than renting or buying. Your virtual address can then be used to promote your business and depending on the company you buy it from, will usually including mail handling and forwarding, meaning all your post can go there too.
Your business address says so much about the business itself. Take the time to get it right and you could benefit for years to come.
By David Weiner, business development manager at Company Address