5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Start-Up Office Space in London

30 Aug

In this languishing economy, at a time when start-ups struggle more than ever to find their footing and go on to success, it has never been more important to sweat the details before hanging your shingle. Every aspect of your new business must be perfect in order to give your venture a fighting chance of survival, and there are few more important considerations than the location of your office.

London, naturally, is a coveted location for any new business. As one of the world’s most vibrant, important and well-connected business centres it’s the perfect place to establish a base. However, setting up shop in London can also be a risky move without proper planning. The often extreme costs and inconveniences of establishing an office in the city could potentially outweigh the benefits, so it’s vital to consider the realities before taking the plunge.

To help you on your way to success we’ve come up with five simple tips to help you find the perfect office space London has to offer…

1. W11 or SE21?

As you’d expect, London office space was not created equal. While a Notting Hill location wouldn’t leave you much change from £1.5 million if you were to buy outright, a property in a less desirable neighbourhood could save you hundreds of thousands. This is your first (and perhaps most important) consideration, and the frustrating catch-22 that all businesses face. The best and most convenient office space will always be the most expensive, and you’ll need to carefully weigh up the costs and benefits of any location you consider.

The key consideration here is this: does your start-up rely on passing traffic? Do you need a convenient location for customers and clients to visit? If not, it makes little sense to pay a premium for expensive real estate when you might get much, much more for your money in a location on the city fringes.

2. Transport Links

It isn’t just your customers who need to find your office. You also have to consider the convenience of access for yourself, your employees and your suppliers. London is well connected by public transport, road links and airports but the city centre itself can be a challenge to traverse, and especially so during the seemingly endless rush hour.

As such, your office should be conveniently located to take advantage of public transport links such as the Underground. A location within easy walking distance of a station will cost extra, but in the long run it will almost always pay dividends.

In fact, it may even make sense to locate on the fringes of the city to avoid the problems of London congestion altogether. Office space in the London periphery benefits from its proximity to the city, but avoids many of the problems associated with a large metropolis.

3. Size Matters

With rental prices per square foot higher than most other cities on earth it can be tempting to cut corners when leasing office space in London. However, when inadequate space leads to problems with running your new business effectively it can quickly become clear that skimping on space is a false economy.

Before leasing a property you need to consider your needs carefully, both for the present and the future. Think about your storage needs; the comfort of your employees; parking facilities; local shops and services, and your possible expansion in the years to come. Your new office should satisfy all of your needs and allow for the growth you’ll need to achieve in order to thrive.

4. Be Prepared

Something that often trips up start-ups on day one is the difficulty they find in securing any office space at all, no matter how poor the location or overpriced the premises. Landlords know that start-ups are prone to failure and early cash flow problems, and they almost always prefer to lease their premises to established companies with a proven track record.

To avoid disappointment you should give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the financial hardships of the early days. Landlords may demand a much larger deposit, a longer lease and more onerous penalties for breaking it than they would an established company, and the only way to tackle that problem is to make sure the cash is available to lay down straight away.

5. Shop Around

Finally (and this should go without saying), when searching for office space in London it’s vital to consider as many properties as possible. Never accept the first option, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box during your search. Work with estate agents, of course, but also speak to business partners and friends. Walk the streets and ask questions. With a little luck you may find a hidden gem in just the right location at just the right price.

Like most things in life, it just takes a little hard work.

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