Starting a business in London? Not without these absolute essentials you're not...


London is the economic capital of the UK – the home to many of the country’s (and the world’s) most successful businesses. It’s no surprise, then, that London is the chosen location for more new start-ups than any other city or town in the country. Of course, it should also be pointed out that London is the most expensive place in the country to start a business, so if you’re going to do it here then you need to take it seriously.

Assuming that you’ve already got a business plan in place, you now need to look into the specifics of how your operation is going to run in the British capital. There are some expenses that are absolutely essential and there are others that you can probably do fine without – so let’s have a look at exactly what they are. Here are seven things that you are going to need if you’re going to start a business in London.

  1. Capital

Naturally, starting a business in London means that you are going to need money. London is expensive in terms of everything from hiring staff and renting premises to buying advertising and carrying out other marketing initiatives. That means that probably the most important thing you’re going to need is plenty of initial capital.

This could come in the form of investment – either from your private finances or elsewhere. Alternatively, if you don’t have the money to invest you could set out a business plan and get a loan. There is also the possibility of looking into crowdfunding for your venture.

  1. Affordable premises

One of the most challenging aspects of starting a business in London comes in trying to find suitable premises that fall within your budget. London famously has some of the most expensive commercial and industrial rent rates of anywhere in the world, which can put off many start-ups from attempting to build a business here.

It is important, of course, to make sure that you can afford the premises that you choose. If you opt for an office or industrial space that is too expensive, you can end up at best stifling the progress of your business, and at worst condemn it to failure.

  1. Consistent branding

Building brand loyalty is more important than ever, and businesses in London have excellent opportunities to capitalise on their position. Being in London means that you are surrounded by perhaps the most impressive creative talent pool in the world, so you can have a high quality logo designed for a very reasonable price.

  1. The hard facts

It’s absolutely vital that you should do you research into the market and competition for your products or services in London. Yes, London is well known as the financial centre of the UK – but where in London are you most likely to find success? Is it better for you to invest more money to be closer to the city, or can you thrive on the outskirts?

You might not know, for example, that different boroughs have different levels of success for start-ups. Recent researched showed that start-ups that launched in Bexley, Richmond and Sutton were most likely to survive, while those that launched in Barking & Dagenham, Newham and Westminster were least likely to survive.

  1. A good accountant

Having a good accountancy firm behind you can absolutely be the difference between success and failure. Start-up businesses – especially those in an arena as competitive as London – work on very fine margins. That means that accountancy issues or errors can take you from a decent profit to just barely scraping by.

Make sure that you choose London accountants with start-up expertise. You need to know that the team you are working with has experience working alongside start-ups and helping them to succeed. It can be easy to slip up here as you may be looking for ways to save money wherever possible.

  1. A high quality website

Don’t assume that the fact that you’re based in a prestigious location like London means that you can neglect the other facets of your business. Yes, a London postcode brings prestige, but when customers arrive on your cheap and tacky website, that prestige dissipates very quickly. As we spoke earlier about branding and London’s plentiful supply of skilled creatives, getting a great website put together is quite affordable, so there is no excuse for your site to be a stumbling block.

  1. A reason to be in London

As has been noted above, starting a business in London can be challenging, even for very experienced entrepreneurs. If there is a good reason that you need to start your business in London then this needs to be a major part of your business model.

Could your business be located elsewhere and do the same things? If so, it’s worth remembering considering whether it could be a better idea to start up somewhere else. Plenty of cities have aspirational people with money to spend or small businesses to offer services to, so when everything is more expensive in London, you need a very good reason to start your business here.



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