by Thomas Hawk
Starting a Business in London
Starting a new business in any large city is going to have its own set of challenges and excitement compared to a smaller town, and London is no different. With a sprawling metropolitan area and a number of large suburbs all within the M25 circle, London is arguably the best and the most rewarding place to set up a new business. Making sure you have a realistic set of goals will ensure that setting up a new business in the capital will be both successful and profitable.
London mayor Boris Johnson said last year at a Business Link event that small and medium sized businesses will help to pull London out of the recession, while the government has also commented that small businesses and entrepreneurs are to be helped towards setting up their own businesses and achieving their potential. Mr Johnson pointed out that tourism is probably one of the most influential sectors in London and that with the Olympics just around the corner, this can only continue to grow.
These findings were backed up by the Barclays Business Regional Impact Index, which showed that London is the region where small businesses can make the biggest impact on the economy. The survey looked at profitability, growth projection, employment and innovation. London led the way in all of these categories.
So, it appears that on the surface the capital is one of the best places in the country to set up a new business. It has a large population, a diverse culture and a steady stream of people coming and going from its central area. But what might the potential challenges of setting up a business in London be?
One of the most important aspects to bear in mind is the overhead costs associated with working in a large city. Rents will be more expensive and it may be worth considering working from home if at all possible. Taking advantage of virtual office space in the central city area will still allow you to present a corporate image without having to spend money on full time premises.
Having staff is also more expensive than elsewhere. Living costs in London are generally more expensive and travel costs to the capital can be prohibitive, so employees come at a premium. You will usually have to pay a London supplement to your staff members.
Travel costs and logistics in London will also be a costly factor. Simply transporting your goods from one side of the capital to the other, let alone across the country or the World, can be hugely expensive. You need to consider both the congestion charge and the heavy goods vehicles charge. These costs will have to be passed to your customers.
One of the benefits of starting a business in London is that there is a wealth of information available to you from a number of agencies. You can try the London Development Agency, the City of Westminster website or Business Link for good practical advice on starting a business in the capital.
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