There really is no place like home for budding entrepreneurs in the UK. Rising office rents and business rates have forced many to set up shop under their own roofs, with more than 2.9 million registered companies operating from kitchens and living rooms across the country.
Around 70% of new businesses now start off in the home, contributing £300 billion to the UK economy. But that’s just it, they’re started at home. As businesses grow, there comes a time where working from the living room is no longer a viable and effective way to run a company. However, the prospect of moving out can be daunting, not to mention financially draining. So how do you go about spreading your wings expanding your business seamlessly?
Move out of the house
The first obvious but not necessarily simple step is actually leaving the house. Your home office just doesn’t have the facilities your small business needs to continue to thrive, but you may not have the funds, or indeed the staff, to make a permanent office viable. Fear not, there are affordable options available.
The increasing popularity of flexible work arrangements has spawned a rise in coworking spaces, where numerous small businesses share a single space and the facilities that come with it. Coworking spaces are often favoured for the culture of networking and collaboration they promote. Another option available is a serviced office, where fully furnished office space can be acquired without becoming tied in to inflexible long term contracts.
Increasingly small businesses look for a combination of both. Landmark Workspace provide serviced offices in London that offers the best of both worlds; communal spaces that encourage collaboration, but also private and professional office space that feel altogether more grown up than coworking spaces.
Partner with other businesses
The advantages of flexible office space leases are not just financial. Most of these modern office spaces come fully equipped with high-speed wifi, furniture, kitchens and receptionists, plus the chance to integrate with other businesses has been linked to increased productivity, creativity and happiness in employees.
Building relationships with other businesses in your field is something that is far harder to do from the isolation of a home office. The more people and businesses you build relationships with, the more opportunities for collaboration will arise which in turn helps to boost brand awareness and affinity.
Collaboration between companies is also a prime opportunity for learning. Forbes list five ways you can start effectively networking with other budding small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups. This includes sharing decks and pitches, making sure collaboration is mutually beneficial. They also underline the importance of regular communication, explaining that sharing ideas and opinions with people from outside your industry, and outside the startup community in general, can be just as helpful as insight from those in the know.
Make sure you have a digital presence
Moving out of the home office and into an actual professional work space will give your business the important physical presence you need. But having a digital presence is just as important – what is the point in paying for office space if people do not know who you are and how to find you.
Consumers use the internet to find services and products like they once used a phone book, so having a good website with clear contact information is vital to give your business the legitimacy it needs to attract clients.
But there’s more to gaining a digital presence than having a website. With over 270 million Twitter users and 1.2 billion Facebook users, social media is a powerful tool for brands of any size. Startups and small businesses need to be leveraging social media to engage with both customers and others in your field. An effective social media strategy can help to build your brand, an important step in transforming your home business into a flourishing startup.