Posted: Thu 8th Aug 2019
If you're ready to take the next step on your entrepreneurial journey and find premises for your business, Nila Khan, buusiness advice manager at ICAEW, shares advice on what to look for.
If you've reached the stage in your business where you've outgrown your spare room or decided to venture from online retailing into having a physical trading spot it pays to be considered when choosing business premises and not taking the first property you see.
Pop-up shops, such as the Enterprise Nation Clicks and Mortar campaign, can be a great way to test the water and see whether a high-street location can work for you.
Once you've decided to take that next step there are a number of issues you should consider when carrying out your search. Here is a checklist of items to think about:
Does the property have enough space for your business needs?
Can deliveries be made?
Are there canteen facilities or is there a café or shop selling food nearby?
Parking: Is there enough space for staff and customers? What are the parking costs?
Access: Does it meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act?
Availability of services: reception, kitchen, toilets, cabling for computers, etc.
Is the location convenient for you and your customers?
Local transport facilities: How will staff and customers get there?
Are there shopping facilities nearby for staff?
If selling to the public, are there sufficient numbers of potential customers passing by?
Crime: Does the area have a high crime rate? It could affect your insurance.
Brand: Will the location enhance the business image with existing or new customers?
Lease terms: How important is stability, or is flexibility more important?
How much are the costs associated with the premises - business rates, water rates, utility costs, maintenance or management fees?
How long before a rent review is scheduled?
If the property needs fitting out of refurbishment, is a rent-free period available?
Would serviced accommodation be a better solution?
Would a temporary solution be better until the business is better established?
Would another business be prepared to rent some of its free space?
It pays to be flexible when looking for business premises.
There are a range of financing options with property from buying, leasing or sharing with another business. Buying is a long term commitment, leasing can also be for a relatively long term.
If the business is new or the cost of the premises requires a significant increase in sales it might be prudent to test the product in other ways first such as on a market stall or by using a pop-up shop.
Before signing a contract to buy or lease a premises you should take legal advice so that you fully understand the commitment.