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The Key to setting up a successful business is finding the right location 



Continuing our series on new businesses, today Manjit Kaur-Heer will look at matters to consider when deciding the location of your business and the basis upon which the business will occupy the premises that you choose.

Our initial advice is don’t rush off and buy premises or sign up to a lease without thinking carefully about location first!  The wrong location and/or premises can mean the difference between a successful business and one that has to close for lack of business or staff retention problems!

You will need to consider how accessible the location and premises are for you, your customers and your staff. Depending on the type of business you may need to be central and close to public transport links and/or suppliers that your business might use.  If your business is going to rely on “footfall”, i.e.  passing trade then clearly it ought to be based where people will be walking past so for instance in a city centre, a shopping centre or near offices. If for example you are operating a café you may want to be near offices or shopping centres where people will pop in to buy lunch. 

If your customers are likely to be elderly disabled or otherwise vulnerable think about how easy it will be for them to firstly travel to your premises and secondly to actually enter your premises e.g. is wheelchair access available?  There are legal obligations around accessibility which businesses must consider.

If the business is, for instance, a professional service business e.g. a firm of surveyors, it may not matter that the business is on the outskirts of a city providing car-parking is available on site. Many customers and staff will be happy to drive to you. However do bear in mind that the pool of employees and customers may shrink if driving is a necessary requirement.  Lack of parking is a turn-off for many customers and staff so it is important that thought is given to both the practicality and cost of parking.

For some businesses the environment is very important. Nearby businesses may impact your business. Is it a growing area or an area where businesses are closing down?

If the latter this would not bode well for the future of your business.  If the former it may mean rents and rates are increasing! Rents will be covered in any licence or lease you sign.

Some business need similar suppliers nearby e.g. a business district may have professionals from differing disciplines in the same locality. This can add value in that you may have access to your desired customer base but you do need to be confident of your own ability to compete with the other businesses! Competition can be healthy and motivating but be realistic especially if just setting up a new business.

As regards competition there may be planning or other restrictions on the number of certain types of businesses that can set up in a particular locality.  If you need planning permission or a licence ensure you obtain legal advice about such issues before you sign a lease!

Some new businesses start up in owners’ home. Make sure you can run a business from your home. If you are going to attract vans, customers etc. will your neighbours appreciate that or complain? Will running a business from home attract increased costs such as rates?

It is also a good idea to check infrastructure such as internet, postal, telephone, banking services etc. as they are likely to be essential for any business in this day.

If you are going to run your business from separate premises, i.e. not from your home, then think about whether you will buy, rent (licence or lease) or use serviced offices. Each of these is the subject of different legal considerations. Legal advice ought to be obtained prior to buying premises, signing a licence or lease or a contract relating to serviced offices.

If you require legal advice about any of the above then please contact Manjit Kaur-Heer on 02476 387821 or by email on mkaur-heer@willsonslegal.co.uk