How to start a business in London

Got an idea for a business? Great. That’s the most important step, but turning it into a functioning company can be a lot of hard work. There might be nowhere better in the UK to launch your start-up than London, it’s undoubtedly one of the true centres of commerce and enterprise anywhere in the world.

The strength of London as a place to start your business is hardly a well-kept secret; the city is home to more than 400,000 micro-businesses and start-ups. Here are some tips on how to start your business here.

Understand the benefits of London

There are many reasons why London is a brilliant place for your start-up. Firstly, the UK’s largest city opens you up to a huge market of potential customers. Even if your business doesn’t sell physical products, it’s still great to be based close to such a wide array of clients. There’s also an amazing prestige that comes with having an address in the capital that gives an instant gravitas to your company. It’s also worth noting that you will have access to a highly skilled workforce in London.

Understand the drawbacks of London

Unsurprisingly, running a business in London does mean that you’ll have to deal with additional expenses compared the rest of the country. You’ll pay a premium for office and commercial space in London and equally you’ll have to provide higher wages for staff – even low skilled roles demand more money than you would need to pay elsewhere. You may also find that there is more competition for the services or products that you are offering, given the number of businesses in London.

Do your research

Looking over the pros and cons of choosing London for your base, it’s clear you need to take your market research very seriously to help you make decisions. Even if you have a great service or product to provide, you need to be sure that the market is there for it. When you understand your target audience and how to reach them, you’ll be in a good position to start. To properly analyze your studies and research, you can use the Kano Model template or excel features to segregate the information based on attractive services, must-be features, performance improvement options, etc. Such resources can help you to improve your services and products.

Find a great location

Even if you’ve decided that you will start your business in London, you still need to decide exactly where in the capital. London’s a huge place and there are advantages and disadvantages for locations across the city. Central London, for example, has the largest number of micro-businesses, which may appeal to you if you want to be surrounded by similar companies. However, it also has the highest levels of crime. On the other hand, East London tends to be cheaper than the rest of London but also has the lowest number of graduates and skilled workers. The right location for you will depend on the needs of your business.

Choose the right premises

Getting the right premises can be absolutely essential to the success of your business. Unless you have a serious amount of capital to invest in the company you will almost certainly need to rent your office or commercial space. The cost of buying is highly prohibitive and it can also lock you into remaining in the same place for a number of years, denying you the flexibility to be able to adapt quickly if you need. The London commercial renting market is also well equipped with a huge range of options that are perfect for start-ups.

Get funding

It’s actually very easy to start a business with relatively little capital in the UK. Many places offer small business capital loans as well. Even with limited resources, there are no major costs associated with starting out. However, depending on what your company does, you may need to raise funding in order to get your business off the ground. There are a range of options here – you could potentially look into borrowing money from family or friends, or alternatively seek a start-up loan.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working from home – with aspirations of establishing in a London office. For the information in this post, Mike consulted Stuart Neils – a Chartered Surveyor in London with over 40 years’ experience in the industry.

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