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 Start-up flow chart: Alternatives to buying or renting premises
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Why do you need premises?

A business may need to rent, lease or buy premises for the following reasons:

  • Inherent part of the product or service.
    E.g. Hotel, Distribution Depot or Nuclear Power Station
  • Investment / tax purposes
  • Working environment to house staff and equipment
  • Health and Safety issues
  • Promotional & sales space for clients
  • Storage space

Finding, moving into, furnishing and maintaining premises can be a time-consuming and costly process.

So, while you still have flexibility in your start-up plans, it is worth weighing up the pro's and con's of taking on the commercial property that you have always dreamed of.

Bear in mind that technology has revolutionised the way we can do business and what your staff and customers expect from a business.

If you have spent many years dreaming about your new business, double check to ensure that your dreams are not set in the past.

To put things into perspective, remember that we live in an age where a small team can work in a small office RUNNING a big business that rivals corporations that employ thousands of staff in thousands of square metres of office space.

See: http://www.hitwise.com/press-center/hitwiseHS2004/uk-most-searched-brands-04102006.php

Reducing your business premises requirements

If a business premises is an inherent part of your product or service, or you are treating premises in terms of an investment / tax / financial benefit, you have little choice but to start searching for the perfect property.

Also, you might just want premises because you can afford it and it will make you and your staff happier.

Notwithstanding the points above, here are some solutions that can help reduce the need for premises:

  • Working from Home
    Radical shunning of the need for an extra premises.
  • Working from Work
    Many people have laid the foundations of their start-up business using the facilities provided by their former employers. Those who do so with the blessing of their employers are called "Intrapreneurs". I suppose you'd call the others "cuckoos".
  • Going Mobile
    Take your business to the customer using their office, home or music festival as your workspace and showroom. (Biz Idea for anyone: I was stuck starving in a traffic jam on the M11 for nine hours - so anyone with a motorbike and a hostess-trolley could have charged the Earth for a snack that day.)
  • Short Term Hires - Venues / Studios / Galleries
    Bob Geldof only needed Wembley Stadium for a couple of days :o)
  • 'Serviced Office' Providers
    Save on the cost of furnishings, receptionists, telecom installations etc. and only rent the space that you need from the landlord (who also acts as a provider of useful services).
  • Shared Offices / Desk Spaces / Sub-Letting
    Similar to above but on a more informal/communal basis. e.g. The providers of the shared amenities don't do so as their main line of business. They may be keen to fill spare space or want to work with business people who offer services that compliment their own.
  • Serviced Storage & Distribution Centres
    Similar to 'Serviced Offices' in that the landlord/provider offers more than just the space. Therefore, catering for the common needs of the tenants.
  • Dropshipping
    A novel concept where a mail-order/online retailer doesn't have to source or hold stock. The retailer simply purchases a product after it has been ordered by the customer and the dropshipper fulfills the order.
  • Virtual Office Providers
    Harnessing the modern infrastructure (telecoms, SMS, postal services) to manage common business tasks and reflect a prestigious image of a business. Often saving the costs and hassle of employing staff and renting premises.
    • Mail forwarding address:
      Display a prestigious address on your letterheads. Mail is then regularly forwarded-on to the squalid shack where you really work.
      More information on mail forwarding is available from our advertisers.
    • Use of meeting rooms:
      If your customers / suppliers want to visit your prestigious office address, many providers will be able to offer the use of meeting rooms at the location for such purposes.
    • Telephone answering services:
      If you miss an incoming call, have it re-directed and answered in your business's name by someone who is familiar with your organisation. Messages are then forwarded to you via email or SMS text message. More information on telephone answering is available from our advertisers.
    • Virtual PA's / Secretaries:
      Outsource this function of your business instead of employing a personal assistant or secretary. You would save money on the additional costs of desk space and equipment that a member of staff would require. Thus, reducing your need to rent larger office space.
  • Outsourcing
    Almost any aspect of your business could be outsourced; design, book-keeping, manufacturing, call centres etc.

 



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