If you have a great idea and are planning to start-up a small business in the UK (or are already the owner of a successful SME), one of the very first decisions you need to make is about the location in which you plan to base your enterprise. Which city is best for you?
Depending on the industry, some entrepreneurs will automatically choose to start their business in a location close to home – after all, assembling products in your parlour may have been where you got your start, and now you may feel compelled to keep your business near to your beginnings. With that said, in order to truly grow, thrive and make it past your next important milestones, you might need to relocate a few miles – or a few hundred miles – away.
Moving further afield or staying close to home: read ahead to learn about the factors that may affect your decisions.
Factors that may influence your decision to move your small business
As a rapidly expanding small business owner, you probably have many complex issues and challenges on your mind; even if this is the case, you should ensure that you set aside some time to plan for your growth and potential relocation. Here are some of the myriad factors that may influence or even completely change your decision to move your business to a new city or county.
- Access to necessary resources – If your small to medium sized business relies on a natural resource or material that is more readily available in one part of the UK than another, you might find it a boon to your business to move close by. Some good examples would include someone who uses fresh seafood, woodland materials or quarried stone from specific regions.
- Proximity to a transportation hub – Are you located smack in the middle of the country when your business relies on shipping and international exports? While Birmingham and Nottingham are lovely places to live and work, they may be a hindrance when it comes to getting your goods and products on the necessary freighters and international transport for your success. Depending on your industry, pay keen attention to where your competitors are located; this may be an advantageous place for you to relocate your business.
- Location of your target demographic – If your product or service is aimed at young urban professionals, then London or Glasgow may be your best bet; however, if you are keen to attract a client with a surfer vibe, then St. Ives is more appropriate. Paying attention to the location where your desired clientele is located is smart business sense – you will be well located to the pulse of your brand.
- Support of family and friends – Does your mum or your brother give you countless hours of free or discounted labour out of the kindness of their hearts and a desire to see you succeed? If you answered yes, then you might want to consider staying put for the time being (unless you can afford part time help and the benefits of moving outweigh the impact of this free labour).
Where should you move? Some top UK cities for start-ups
If you are planning to make your move in the UK, here are some cities that you should be looking at. They can each boast an attractive mix of business savvy, transport connections, enticing business markets and other attractive factors that will make a move worth your while.
- Hull – While Hull may not offer the most thrilling local cultural scene, it is increasingly becoming a desirable location for start ups around the country owing to its affordability and ports. Offering excellent transport connections and ferries directly to Ireland, Holland and France, one would be remiss to discount Hull as a great place to do business.
- Milton Keynes – Tech start-ups can rejoice: Milton Keynes was designed just for you. This technology hub is known throughout the world as a brilliant place in which to do business – after all, it was designed as a so-called “New Town” for exactly this purpose. Home to many successful UK corporation headquarters such as Argos, Domino’s Pizza, Marshall Amps and Mercedes-Benz, this town was deliberately built near London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge, yet the cost of living and doing business is substantially lower than in any of these major centres.
- Liverpool – With the low cost of living in the Midlands, a bustling port that can rival London and a unique cultural history of its own, Liverpool is attracting businesses large and small to its thriving start-up scene. Home to dozens of business hot spots, work space hubs and businesses of all sizes, Liverpool hosted the Festival for Business in 2014 and is set to host again this year. Perhaps Liverpool is your perfect locale?
- Bristol – Recently voted the number one place in the UK to start or operate a business by the Start-up Cities Index 2015, the West Country city of Bristol is simply a brilliant place to live, work or visit. Known for fantastic transport infrastructure, one of the busiest ports in the UK, Bristol also boasts a huge new business regeneration project called the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. Well situated in relation to London, the South and Wales, Bristol is fast becoming an economic force to be reckoned with in Great Britain.
There’s no place like home
No matter where you decide to relocate for business reasons, you might ultimately choose to keep your headquarters close to your home – and the place where you founded your brand. International success stories such as Lush Cosmetics and Cambridge Satchel Company have grown to reach huge success around the world, but have chosen to maintain their headquarters in otherwise small towns (Poole and Cambridge, respectively).
Whether you choose to stay located in your hometown, make the move to the capital or settle on a business friendly locale in between, doing research and choosing the best city for your unique brand is always a good idea.