Home Business Insights & Advice How to start a successful business in London in 2021

How to start a successful business in London in 2021

by John Saunders
26th Aug 21 4:16 pm

If you’re looking to start your own business in the British capital, you’re not the only one. Records show that a record number of new businesses were formed in the UK over the past 12 months, with more than 400,000 being registered.

As the epicenter of the UK economy, a large number of these new businesses will be opening in London. There are obvious reasons to start your entrepreneurial journey in the Big Smoke; the city has a dense network of funding opportunities, a wealthy and spend-happy local market, and opportunities for expansion that do not exist in any other city in the world (except for maybe New York).

However, there are also downsides. With more than 1 million small businesses and counting, competition in London is more intense than anywhere else in the UK. No matter what type of business you launch, there are likely to be ten competitors in the city who are vying for the same customers as you.

However, this is no reason to despair. With the right know-how, you can make your London business venture a success. Here are some tips for making it as an entrepreneur in the British capital.

1. Know your market

As we have mentioned, starting a business in London is to throw yourself into a highly competitive market. The dominant industries in Central London are dining, the arts, entertainment, and nightlife, so if you are entering these customer-facing sectors you can expect especially brutal competition.

That’s why it is essential that you understand your target market like the back of your hand. Which slice of London’s diverse populace are you targeting with your business? Figure this out before doing anything else.

2. Catch their attention

Across London, hundreds of thousands of businesses are jostling for the attention of 8 million residents. That’s why you need to do something truly attention-grabbing with your opening. The best way to do this is by investing in some freebies to give away. One good example in this regard is the online casino industry, which is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the UK’s entertainment industry.

Many competitive platforms make use of the so-called casino no deposit bonus, offering free cash to play with and free rounds on top games to customers as a way to lure them in. While those with a tight startup budget might balk at giving away freebies like this, you should consider it an investment in future success.

3. Location, location, location

Anyone who has spent time navigating London’s punishing housing market will know that location matters more than anything. The same applies to your business. Every part of London has a distinct character and its own unique characteristics that you should take into account when deciding where to open your business.

For example, you might struggle to run a successful produce store near the Square Mile, where nobody really lives and where few people would venture on a Sunday. Know your neighborhoods and use this knowledge to your advantage.

4. What gap are you addressing?

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of assuming that they will succeed in London just because it’s London and there are so many potential customers. This would be a fatal error. Londoners are a highly discerning and fickle bunch.

They loathe spending money on any product or experience that is not offering something genuinely enriching or novel. Consider if there is an actual local demand for what you are offering and if there is a gap in the market that you can meaningfully address. If so, you’re off to a very good start in this city.

5. Be prepared for hidden costs

You probably already know that starting a business in London is not exactly a cheap undertaking. After all, commercial lease rates for property are higher than pretty much anywhere else in Europe. However, that’s not all there is to it. In London, you should note that most commercial landlords operate on a quarterly basis, meaning you can expect a hefty rent bill every three months.

In addition, the Council for the Borough you are in is free to impose business rates at their discretion, which can often be eye-watering. Meanwhile, you may want to consider paying for a lawyer, as business owners have a wide-ranging array of legal obligations that they must fulfill in order to operate lawfully. When running a business in London, always budget for the unexpected.

Running a business in London is a daunting prospect, but the payoff can be immense. Follow these steps to get your London business off to the best possible start.

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