Starting up in or moving your business to the nation’s capital city is a daunting task. London is a huge and sprawling metropolis, and it is also a global hub and an international centre of excellence in many fields, notably finance.
So how do you find your feet in such a seething mass of prestigious properties and famous locations? Where will be right for you and your colleagues and provide the prime site for your company to prosper?
There are four key things to consider before making the big move.
Just as you would not venture into the jungle without a knowledgeable guide, neither should you attempt to wade into the London property market without someone who knows the ropes. Not only do they know the areas inside out, but they will also have insider information about places that may soon become available but are not at present. The reassurance of having an expert by your side is something you cannot afford to be without.
It may sound obvious, but it is the critical first decision. The number of employees is the most tangible consideration, and the desk space each will need, and you also have to think about adequate filing and storage facilities. A recreational area is highly desirable as well, with many businesses now providing a cafe area or dining space where workers can relax. A conference room or rooms can be another aspect to bear in mind if you are regularly using them for meetings. If the business is growing, or is likely to, beware of getting somewhere too small that will not accommodate extra staff without everyone feeling cramped. People work better when they feel comfortable in their own space.
As with buying a home, location is key. Most important of all are the transport links. Is there a Tube or railway station nearby? An area known for traffic snarl-ups could affect productivity. A lively area with shops and cafes is appealing for your staff, as they can get out in their lunch hours. If you will have a lot of clients coming through the doors into reception, location is even more important. However, if this is not the case you can save money by going for a less premium location. There is no doubt that the office space London has to offer is more expensive in the central postcodes.
This is another big decision to make. Renting allows you to be more flexible and to move on more easily. It can also be a tax deduction. There are arguments on both sides and you need to be clear before you start to look for new premises. If you do decide to rent, do ensure you are completely familiar with all the terms and conditions of the lease and that there is nothing in it you would regret in future. An example could be paying for window-cleaning, which could end up costing a lot.
photo credit: vasilennka via photopin cc