Harder still, in addition to paying the rent, your lease may leave you responsible for utility bills, maintenance charges, and other fees. This isn’t ideal for a growing company that wants to scale up or relocate as it develops.
Thankfully, there are cheaper and more flexible options available. Below are my top tips for securing a non-traditional location for your business:
1. Move in with another business
One of the easiest ways to reduce the costs associated with housing your business is to rent space from another, more well-established organisation. Renting space from other businesses is far cheaper than it would be to rent, furnish and buy equipment for your own office, store or salon.
Another advantage of this arrangement is the host of networking opportunities it provides. Not only will you be working closely with another company and meeting new business contacts, but it’s likely that some customers of the existing business are likely to become your customers – especially if you offer complementary services, such as manicures in a hair salon.
2. ‘Pop up’ in different locations
Once you have an idea of the general area in which you want to set up your business, keep an eye open for any store locations that have been empty for several months. The landlords of empty properties are likely to consider renting the premises to you at a reduced rate, or for a shorter period of time.
A short-term arrangement leaves you free to test your market, either product-wise or location-wise. It also allows you to experiment and trial a range of products. You can then use the sales data to decide which products to sell on a long-term basis when you relocate to a permanent store.
3. Arrange an exchange
There are many different ways of collaborating with other local business so that both companies benefit from the arrangement. For example, if you were planning to teach an art or craft class, you could arrange to teach it from a local coffee shop or cafe in exchange for a percentage of your revenue.
It’s also likely that some people from your class would stay afterwards and buy more coffee, whilst some of the coffee shop’s customers might sign up for your class – a true win-win situation. Try and be as creative as possible when pitching this type of arrangement to another business and make sure you have adequately prepared and researched your suggestion beforehand. This would be a big step for them, too.
4. Hire community facilities
Community centres and halls can often be hired inexpensively, either on an hourly or daily basis. A flexible arrangement like this is particularly good for businesses that only operate for a few hours on certain days, such as training courses, workshops and exercise classes, as it means you won’t need to pay rent for times when you don’t need to use a large venue.
5. Take your business on the road
Mobile businesses such as food trucks are a huge trend at the moment, and it’s easy to see why. With a truly mobile operation, there is no need to worry about showrooms, stockrooms, months of upfront rent, or full-time staff. Whilst there are still costs associated with this model, they are drastically reduced when compared to launching a traditional brick and mortar-based business.
Technological advancements such as iPad-based point of sale give you incredible flexibility, and mean you can start your business with relatively little capital. Using cost saving measures such as this, it’s feasible to establish an entire company with as little as £20,000… or even less.
So explore your area and be bold. Don’t let location become a barrier to getting your business up and running!
Jason Richelson is CEO of iPad payments service ShopKeep
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