How To Choose An Office For A UK Small Business

Did you know that over 400,000 to 500,000 new businesses start each year in UK? And out of these six-digit numbers, almost half of them will fail or close down within that same year?

So if you are one of those people who comprise the hopeful 400,000 to 500,000 businesses each year, what will you do in order to survive the competition and reality?

In starting up a small business in UK, one of the things you have to prepare would be the office. It is an essential factor that greatly contributes to the success of any business. The great news is, there are thousands available offices in UK. The question is how will you decide which one to choose?

The office is really important. Irene Dickey, a management and marketing lecturer at University of Dayton’s School of Business in Dayton, Ohio, once said that, ‘In the brick-and-mortar retail world, it’s said that the three most important decisions are location, location and location.’

To elaborate, the following are the important factors to be considered when choosing an office.

1. Accessibility

Your selected office should be accessible both to your employees and customers. The likelihood of having a client visit will decrease if your office is not accessible. Has a poor signage or has to be searched thoroughly in Google maps. Surely your clients got no time to do those things.

It’s not always necessary to have your office in the center of town. It is quite possible to locate your office in an out of town area and still serve customers in the majors towns and cities nearby. Take this example of a serviced office near Swindon in the UK, they are located in a small town called Calne but are still able to serve customers in Swindon, Wiltshire, Bristol and even London due to their proximity to the M4 motorway.

Accessibility also covers the public transportation such as taxis available around. You should also think about the most likely commute experience of your employees and clients. Is the area prone to heavy traffic?

2. Attractiveness

Consider if your office is enticing enough for some clients to check it out. Attractiveness, from the word itself implies an external point of view. It talks about how the office would be like from the opinion of the customers, neighbouring businesses, public and government. This includes the;

  • A. View and reputation of the surrounding area. Putting up your business in a place with many episodes of robbery is not really a good idea.
  • B. Neighbourhood. If the office is located somewhere near a residential area, consider if there is a high chance of your business being reported for noise or pollution. This is important since bad comments from them will definitely affect the image of your business. Think if the service you are planning to offer or the products you are planning to sell is suitable with your neighbourhood.
  • C. Foods and entertainment. Consider if your office is located somewhere near of food establishments and entertainments. This will be beneficial to you and your employees and will also be a plus for your customers.
  • D. Proximity to local amenities and emergency services. If your office is close to some local amenities such as parks and shopping areas there is a high chance of you to get some walk-in and potential regular customers. It is important for you to aim of getting regular customers since even a slight five percent (5%) increase in customer retention, could mean an increase of profits up to 125%. And although no one really wants unfortunate emergencies, it will be an advantage if your office is close to some hospitals or fire stations.

3. The Building

The building where your selected office resides is of course very important. If possible, you should be able to have a good conversation with the owner in order to know necessary details such as;

  • A. Their current implemented building securities, drainage system, disaster recovery plan and fire plan.
  • B. The building’s flooding and supernatural incidences history.
  • C. The owners plan, if any, of building renovation. There could be a chance for you to incorporate your ideas or time plan.
  • D. The size of the office. You should know if the area is enough for your planned number of daily customers. Ask yourself if the space is enough for your employees to work on. Does your business layout plan fits within the area of the office?
  • E. The parking area. You should also consider if there will be enough parking spaces around the building.

It is also important that you should clarify if you are planning for a purchase or lease agreements. The rentals fees and agreements should be clear to both parties to avoid any disputes afterwards. You can also try to calculate and create a projected cash flow to know if your business can still be profitable with the given rental fees and if there are some repairs needed.

4. Competition

It is necessary to consider the presence of competitors in nearby places. In fact, competition can either be good or bad for you; the outcome simple depends on how you handle your business.

5. Health and Safety

When choosing an office it’s important to make sure that it offers a safe and secure work environment for your employees. Bryan and Armstrong recruitment advise that employers consult http://www.hse.gov.uk/office/ and perform a workplace risk assessment to reduce the risk to your employees.

According to Greg Kahn, CEO and founder of Kahn Research Group in Huntersville, North Carolina, ‘The best place to be is as close to your biggest competitor as you can be…. By being in close proximity to your competitors, you can benefit from their marketing efforts.’ Mr. Khan furthermore explained that your competitors have selected that particular area based on their research and demographics. He said that ‘Why spend the money when they’ve already [spent it] for you?’ [source]

Note that 89% of consumers purchase from a competitor after a poor experience from another business establishment. Hence, their loss could be your gain. However, your loss could also be their gain. As said earlier, it depends on how you handle your business.

5. Growth and Population

It will definitely not be a wise move for you to have it somewhere secluded with a minimal population and a stagnant growth. Know if the office area is still ideal if your business will grow and need more staff. Consider if there are enough skilled people in the surrounding area that could work as your employees.

No matter what type of business you are planning to have, the start-up phase will always be a challenge, and getting the right office location can lighten the burden and uncertainties of your business. Now, have you decided which office to take?

Rick Lelchuk

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