1. Find the right location
While London is a well-connected city, choosing your location carefully could help you reap the greatest rewards. Some startups head for industry hubs to make the most of being within a community of similar businesses, while others choose to base themselves near clients, believing that this will give them a competitive edge.
Whatever you choose, unless you’ve got a very generous budget, you’ll need to be realistic about the locations you can afford. Mayfair and Soho are both fantastic locations, but beyond the budget of most startups. Areas like London Bridge and Waterloo on the other hand are still central and more affordable. For the most affordable rates, look for up and coming areas such as Hackney, Bermondsey and the Docklands areas outside of Canary Wharf.
2. Make the most of your London location
You’re at the heart of a thriving and world-leading business scene, with the kind of jam-packed business events calendar that makes regional-based businesses seriously jealous. So make the most it. Make a point of regularly attending networking events; whether formal or informal is up to you, after all, there’s plenty of choice.
Better still, your London location gives you access to niche networking opportunities, whether you want to meet up with coders, musicians or experts in healthcare PR. Take the time to seek out groups which match your business interests and hopefully, you’ll reap the rewards of mingling with like-minded people.
3. Tap into the expertise of others
Accountant, marketer, salesperson and HR manager – when you’re starting out, you have to wear lots of different business hats; at least until you can afford to hire a team. That doesn’t mean you’re alone. Far from it. There’s a whole world of expert business advice out there and it’s easier to tap into than ever before.
From marketing tips to help finding office space, you can find the advice you need by attending real world networking events (see above) or even via social media. As a startup, you may also be eligible to enrol on a support scheme which gives you access to a business mentor. You may be surprised by how many of these experts offer a free service.
4. Reap the rewards of sharing
Heard of the sharing economy? It was big news in 2013 and set to be even bigger in 2014. Sharing offers an effective way for startup businesses to access the resources they need at more affordable prices.
A survey by ZipCar last year found that the most shared business resources among startups were accounting services, office space and technology, closely followed by administrative support, human resources and vehicles.
Being based in London, you’re in prime position to take advantage of the tightly packed network of startups with which you can share resources.
Take office space as an example. Shared offices and co-working both provide affordable options for startups whose budget doesn’t allow for renting a private office. Serviced offices in a business centre offer private offices with shared facilities such as meeting rooms, business lounge, and professional reception area. Central London is home to several hundred business centres and co-working spaces just like these.
5. Remember to take time out
Remember the saying about all work and no play? It applies to startup founders too, no matter how cool your product is.
Working on your startup 24/7 is neither healthy nor helpful. Take time out to recharge your batteries, connect with friends and enjoy the beauty of the city. Take a ride to the top of the Shard, visit the latest exhibition at the Tate or find time to explore the markets and eateries of Brick Lane.
Who knows, you may even discover some new inspiration when you least expect it.
Alec Ryan is Online Campaign Manager and regular blogger for LondonOffices.com.
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