Gareth Jones, Property Manager at the Welsh enterprise support specialists, Business in Focus, explains why start-ups have never been in a better position to find the right premises for their new venture – and what entrepreneurs need to consider before moving in.
We all know thriving businesses which started out in a bedroom, from a laptop on a kitchen table, or from a market stall, before moving on to grander surroundings. There are any number of inventive start-ups who are, as we speak, hot-desking in a shared office, or leasing a room with a view in an historic site. In short – there has never been more choice for start-ups when it comes to finding premises that are the perfect fit for them.
On average, accommodation accounts for around 20% of a business’ operating costs, so the decision on whether you need business premises at all, and if you do, exactly what you need, is an important one for a new business owner.
Start-ups are becoming more knowledgeable about what they need in terms of transport links, good rental terms, and extra business services, but here are some key considerations if you are hunting for the right commercial premises:
- Where does your business need to be sited? Will you rely upon passing trade, will people travel to you by train or car, do you want to be near your main suppliers, where will your staff travel from?
- Draw up a list of what you need from your premises, including its size, layout, facilities for employees and visitors, parking, access for deliveries, any special requirements. You might be happy in a smaller unit, or welcoming clients into an impressive building might be a key selling point of your business.
- Work out your costs carefully.. Remember, you may need to factor in fitting out and decoration, or alterations to meet health and safety or fire regulations. You will have to consider your overheads including utility bills, insurance, broadband and business rates.
- Unless you have a compelling reason to buy, renting is less risky and allows you to focus on your business while the landlord focuses on the property. If you decide to rent, what kind of rental agreement will suit you? More and more landlords are offering flexible terms and it pays to shop around to find an agreement that works for you. Flexible workspace providers will often provide packages that include running costs, utilities, Wi-Fi and a staffed reception, as we do at our popular Cardiff Bay
- If you don’t know the area you are considering locating in, go and spend time there. Talk to other business owners nearby, ask them what the positives and negatives are and talk to your own potential customers about whether they would be happy to travel to the site.
- Remember – businesses grow and change, so your needs may shift in time. Part of your business planning will be the development of credible forecasts to assess your future needs regarding premises. Choosing a premises with flexible terms may help you adjust to future expansions.
For our part, Business in Focus owns seven sites across South Wales and we manage a further eight on behalf of private and public landlords.
We care for over 300 tenants, all with varying needs and business objectives, many of whom benefit from our flexible lease terms of one month’s bond, one month’s notice, and have access to free impartial business support provided under the contracts we run.
To find out more about the accommodation on offer via Business in Focus call us on 01656 868545 or email [email protected].