Are you and your business ready for London?
Whether you’ve chosen London as a launchpad for your startup, or as the target location for your latest expansion, it’s easy to see why. London has an excellent ecosystem for starting or growing a company. To begin with, it ranks third only behind Silicon Valley and New York City for startups. In 2017, VC investments in London topped 3.3 billion in 2017. Not only that, but the city has developed its infrastructure to support all of this business growth.
There’s no doubt that London is ready for your business. The question is, ‘Are you and your business ready for London?’ Keep reading for some top quality advice on starting and running a business in London.
Establishing your London business
To run a business in London, you have to first establish a legal, business entity. Assuming you are based elsewhere, you will generally have two choices. The first is to establish your company as a branch of your existing company. The second is to create a subsidiary. The second is treated more like an independent business.
Understand that this is an important decision. Whatever you choose, be sure that you have sought out appropriate advice before making that decision.
The next steps are very important. They are also very detail oriented. Again, this is the part of the process where you will want to get experts involved. You will need to obtain everything required of you so that you can pay taxes appropriately. If you have staff you are bringing onboard from other countries, you will need to navigate the process of obtaining Visas for them.
Finally, you will need to obtain the business insurance that you need. Depending on the nature of your business, whether or not you have employees, or the type of business you’re in, you are mandated to carry certain types of insurance coverage.
Marketing: finding your audience and selling your products
One of the first things to do is truly establish yourself as a London business. Get a local phone number, address, and website. People prefer to do business locally, and doing these things will help. You’ll then want to analyze your competition and make some decisions about the prices you will charge.
Just like you would anywhere else, you want to create your target, customer personas. Who are they? What are their demographics? What interests and concerns them? Where are they on social media? You will need all of this information to establish a marketing plan.
An important part of every sales and marketing effort is making sure that you can communicate with your target customers effectively. If you operate a business in London, or choose to expand to nearby countries, this will include ensuring that you are prepared to serve customers who don’t speak your language. London is an international business hub. In addition to this, there are many non English speaking communities in and around the city as well.
The Word Point is a translation agency that offers services to businesses working to establish or grow operations, and develop relationships with people who speak different languages. They will be able to assist you with tasks including localization, translation of advertising materials, social media, and more.
Finding a base of operations
Before you set out to find real estate to buy or rent, you should take an inventory of your needs. Obviously, you want to ensure you have enough space. You’ll also want your business to have the equipment and infrastructure it requires as well. The best place to start is with a series of lists. This should include:
A list of your employees and the workspace each will require (office, cubicle, etc.)
Whether or not you will need a dedicated room for servers or printers and the relevant details
A list of furniture you require
The number and size of conference rooms if any
A list of deal breakers
Bear in mind that this is another area where you may butt up against regulations. You may also find yourself well outside of your expertise. Again, use a professional to help.
If you are simply setting up operations with plans to move somewhere permanent later on, you may be happy with whatever you can get at a reasonable price that meets your needs. If you are choosing a more permanent place, you want to bring on a decorator as well as a real estate agent.
It’s not difficult to see why so many people choose London as a base of operations. The city has a stable economy, and has clearly earned its place as a startup hub. You will find no shortage of investors, and all of the resources you need to get your business started there. When you do, be sure to reference the guidelines here.