By Geraint Evans, Sales and Marketing Director, Avanta Serviced Office Group
It’s no surprise that ambitious entrepreneurs and growing businesses want a base in London. The UK’s capital city is a buzzing powerhouse; generating 22% of the country’s economic output and is home to over 800,000 businesses, all of whom recognise that its central location in the world, time zone and currency is beneficial to businesses of all sizes.
However, for all these reasons, setting up an office in London can be a daunting, and expensive, task. To help those that are ready to make the move, we’ve put together a list of 4 key points to consider.
Location – where to set up?
So you know that it’s got to be London for your company, but the next question is where? As with all major cities, there are numerous areas, some of which may suit your business and requirements more than others.
First up has to be practicality. Choosing a location close to strong public transport links is key – you want to be able to recruit and retain good staff, and ensuring that their daily grind to the office is as straight forward as it can be certainly helps. Also, don’t forget that local amenities such as post offices, banks, cafés and perhaps even a pub all contribute to a happy and motivated work force.
Another factor to consider when thinking about specific areas is the kind of businesses you want to be surrounded by. London is large enough to accommodate a number of different districts which have become synonymous with specific industries for either historical or practical reasons. For example, the ancient Inns of Court have meant that the area around Holborn / Chancery Lane is known for its ties to the legal profession and is therefore home to most of London’s ‘magic circle’ of law firms. Conversely, the initially favourable business rates has meant that the area around ‘Silicon Roundabout’ (Old Street EC1) has more recently developed into thriving hub for tech start-ups which now attracts likeminded businesses from across the globe.
What kind of office space do you need?
You want your office to reflect your business, after all, first impressions count. Any business who meets clients at their office will want a professional, clean and preferably manned reception area, and will probably need use of a meeting room. For these reasons, and to keep costs as keen as possible, many small businesses choose to use serviced offices. These are managed by a centre team, on hand to help meet and greet guests, as well as having meeting rooms available to hire as and when you need, rather than you paying for additional, and rarely used, space. Serviced offices will also come with cleaning, IT and telecoms, refreshments etc. included, all of which allows a business to concentrate on what they’re good at, rather than the running of their office.
Are there any financial incentives from the government for setting up in London?
When starting a business, it’s likely that finance is the number one concern. Even with sufficient backing, small businesses must take advantage of every incentive and piece of support available in order to succeed. The good news is that there are plenty of government grants, loans and tax breaks for small businesses with 118 available for companies setting up in London, all of which could help give your business a competitive advantage.
How do you network with similar businesses in London?
One of the great advantages of setting up in London is the sheer number of other entrepreneurs and small businesses- both inside and outside your own industry. The theory of ‘agglomeration’, a central part of Andrew Marr’s London vs. The Rest series, suggests that London is a hub of innovation and success because it’s full of entrepreneurs who share experiences, ideas and advice.
But, where do you start? While national organisations such as The Federation of Small Businesses run regular networking events in the Capital, there are hundreds of other events, many unique to London and industry specific, across the city throughout the year. Avanta Serviced Office Group has first-hand experience of the benefits this kind of event can bring, having set up mingle., its free client networking and events programme, in early 2014. Available to both office and virtual clients, the mingle. events bring together businesses from all different industries over a beneficial business talk and breakfast, giving them the opportunity to share, collaborate and hopefully work together.
Working in London can open a multitude of possibilities for a growing company, and can provide a platform for true business success. With the right support and advice, any business can find the right location and space in London to meet their needs.