Posted: Wed 24th Jul 2013
If you're moving your business out of home or looking for better premises, Â there are plenty of factors to consider, from location to cost. In the first of a series on choosing the right premises, Cathie Sellars, head of marketing atÂ WorkspaceÂ considers the importance of location.
If your business is outgrowing the spare room or home study, then the time may have come to start looking for larger, more suitable premises ,Â writes Cathie (left). There are many reasons why small enterprises choose to venture out of home - you may be taking on employees, for example; or perhaps you need adequate space to meet with clients. It could be as simple as avoiding distractions at home.
In any case, the decision to move out is a sign that your business is doing well. And moving into premises for the first time can be one of the most important growth steps for a small firm. But how do you go about finding that ideal first office space to enable you to thrive and aspire to be the best you can? The first consideration is location.
Location, location, location
Although spacious office space is not a necessity to get a business off the ground, it can provide you with the impetus to broaden your horizons, expand your business plans and take on new staff that can add a new dimension to your overall operation. It is important to create the perfect working environment, not only for yourself but for your workforce, too. The premises need to be within easy reach for staff as well as customers and clients, and they also need to benefit from nearby amenities and internal facilities that can breed professionalism and improve efficiency.
"The premises need to be within easy reach for staff as well as customers and clients, and they also need to benefit from nearby amenities."
Identify your customer base
Whether or not you are moving into a town or city you are familiar with, it is important to ascertain who your customers and clients are and where they are located. Although the advent of the internet means that businesses can be available and contactable 24/7, a visible presence within your target demographic should never be underestimated.
Research the local community
Before deciding to set up camp in a particular location, make a point of investigating the wider community. "¢ Note the success rate of local businesses. The last thing you want is to be situated within a host of boarded-up, empty premises. "¢ Research the surrounding area and its nightlife. If there is a particularly active social scene in the community, be aware as this may pose additional security risks. "¢ Liaise with other small-business owners in the district and pick their brains about the pros and cons of the area to give you the overall picture.
Pinpoint the competition
This particular task carries varying degrees of importance depending on the type of business you are. It is less important for internet firms to worry about the locality of their competitors, but for retail and service-orientated companies a competitor analysis is crucial. Is there an opportunity to acquire business space that provides you with a competitive edge? Particularly if you are moving into an almost-saturated market, it is imperative to have sufficient resource to make a name for yourself.
"It can be very easy for new business owners to get carried away and search for flashy, trendy office space that is far too expensive for a fledgling company."
Vanity vs suitability
It can be very easy for new business owners to get carried away and search for flashy, trendy office space that is far too expensive for a fledgling company. Rather than focusing too much on vanity, find the right balance between image and practicality. In London, for example, it can be hard for new businesses to get a foothold within the right business community because of expensive lease rates and high demand in central London. Nevertheless, there are many attractive, modern commercial properties that can be found on the fringes of leading business communities that still provide strategic business advantages with more affordable rates. Cathie SellarsÂ is head of marketing at Workspace, one of the UK's leading providers of commercial space, offering new and expanding businesses with attractive premises in prime locations throughout London. This post is taken from the Workspace guide 'Taking the plunge', which is available as a free PDF in the Workspace Help Centre.
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