When it comes to starting a new business, one of the key considerations is where to locate and operate your enterprise from.
For many start ups, it’s quite a daunting task to consider rent, rates or perhaps even buying commercial premises in which to begin your new venture.
There is no doubt in my opinion, that unnecessary fixed overhead can be a killer for any business, and in particular for a fledgling enterprise.
In my former role as Ambassador of the BIPC, the Business and Intellectual Property Centre at the British Library in London, I very often witnessed start up businesses convinced that they needed flash offices to prove they were a ‘viable and proper’ business.
This just isn’t true and is a trap well worth avoiding if you are to make your start up a long term success!
We are very fortunate to live in an age and part of the world where connectivity and accessibility to services is generally speaking very easy and relatively inexpensive, unlike the days of having to stop off and use a red telephone box to let someone know you were running late for a meeting, usually because no satnav existed!
Technology can be a distraction so discipline is needed to avoid it becoming a case of the tail wagging the dog, but on the whole the flexibility it gives entrepreneurs today means that now more than ever before, taking on fixed overhead is completely unnecessary, especially in the early days.
By fixed, I mean anything longer than a three month contract. There are plenty of start up ‘hubs’ and flexible serviced office suites and meeting rooms available right across the UK, as well as hot desking and co-working facilities where not only can you save a small fortune on daft rent and rates, but maybe also work alongside some other entrepreneurs who might spark some ideas for you, or even a partnership of some kind.
The car is another great place to make private phone calls and whilst public transport is generally being improved and the use of it encouraged, often your own car can provide a great thinking space, a bubble away from the rest of the world where you can be in your own space, yet amongst everything.
Ultimately it’s whatever works for you as we are all different and work in different ways, but my own view is to think very carefully before taking on fixed costs as your future livelihood will depend on it. It often takes just five minutes to get in to something, and five years to get out.