Decide where to start your business

Three issues will govern where you start you business: where your customers are, where your suppliers are located, and where your employees live. Added to this set of requirements, you need to be clear about exactly what you need from your premises and the budget you can afford. This guide offers advice on getting the right space, at the right price and in the right location.

  • Location
  • What else do you need from your premises
  • Budget
  • Finding premises

Location

In a perfect world your location would be handy for customers, staff and suppliers - in reality you'll probably have to make some compromises along the way depending on the nature of your business. If you're a retail outlet, location will be your deciding factor; you need to make sure your business is in the right place to attract customers. However, if you're running a manufacturing operation that requires a lot of material and regular deliveries the most important issue will be access to good road and transport links.  On the other hand, if you're just starting up and finances are tight working from home could be the best short term option.

  • Work out where your priorities lie - is it your customers, suppliers or staff that you need to be near to?
  • Look at where your competitors are based. You may think you don't want to be near your competitors, but sometimes clusters of similar businesses can attract more customers (eg clusters of antique, book  or jewellery stores).

What else do you need from your premises?

Start by making a list of your requirements and make sure you cover the following areas:

  • The size and layout of the property.
  • Its structure and appearance inside and out (include any special structural requirements such as ease of access for large loads).
  • Outline what facilities you need for staff and visitors (this could include toilets, kitchens, reception).
  • Work out what utilities you need in the building (electricity, gas, broadband etc).
  • What access and parking space do you need both for deliveries and for customers.
  • Think about how the business may grow over the next two years and allow space for expansion.

Budget

Before you even start looking at premises to buy or rent, set yourself a realistic budget that the business can afford. Don't forget to factor in these additional costs:

  • Any legal costs (g surveyor's and solicitor's fees).
  • The cost of making any alterations (redecorating, fitting out).
  • Service charges.
  • Utility bills (water, gas, electricity, broadband, phones etc).
  • Business rates.
  • Building and contents insurance.

Finding premises

Now you've got a specification for your premises you can circulate it to commercial agents. It's also worth getting in touch with your local Business Link and the Economic Development unit in your local council offices who may also know of suitable premises in your area.

  • Check local newspapers for details of commercial properties for sale or rent and have a look at the Dalton's Business website at www.daltonsbusiness.com.
  • Cross-check potential premises against your specification and then draw up a shortlist of properties to visit.

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