With new business incorporations on the rise in the UK, there are more people than ever taking that potentially life-changing step of starting their own business.
Many of these businesses start in the home. While it is perfectly legal to register your new company at your home address, Companies House does make all registered address details of businesses trading in the UK available to the public, so you risk exposing your home address to privacy issues.
Location can also have a big impact on costs and revenue and can affect the perception your potential clients have of your company and your work, so it’s important to get it right. Here are some key elements to consider in your business location choice:
Understanding the business landscape
The way others perceive us is often, in part at least, affected by the groups with which we affiliate ourselves. Stereotypes, whilst not always desirable, are part of the way we make quick judgements and the same is true of office locations as it is for individual people.
Selecting a business location in the right ‘neighbourhood’ can have benefits for your business as people make quick assumptions about how successful and trustworthy you are.
For example, if you were to use your home address to register your business, those seeking your services might wonder if yours is a legitimate company or more of a back-bedroom hobby business that mightn’t give them the level of service they expect.
In the same way, if you were to choose to base your business in an area that is already well-known for the calibre of businesses there, this can help to boost your company’s profile. Basing your business in the City of London, for example, will say a lot about it, with the area being known for its financial businesses and fast growth.
Try to identify a business location which suits your business purposes and in an area that reflects what your business is all about.
Building a trusted reputation
Having a full and listed business address has long been important in helping potential customers to find your business. Particularly in today’s very digitally-driven business world, it’s important to show your business address in order to build trust with prospective clients and customers.
Have you ever visited a website and gone to their contact page, only to find a contact form and no further information about where that company is based?
It’s not a great image to present because, by omitting your business address details, you are putting the audience in doubt over whether your business actually exists, as well as how relevant it is to their needs and, especially if you’re selling goods online, how quickly they can expect you to service them.
Having a full and non-residential address in your marketing materials and on your website will help to instil trust of your brand and enable you to build a trusted reputation.
The benefits of a non-residential registered address
Even if your business operates from your home, you’re not required to list your home address as your company address when registering with Companies House.
Though perfectly legal to use when registering a company, using a residential address for your business has a variety of implications, which you will likely decide are too much of a risk to your home’s privacy and perception of your new venture.
Companies using a commercial address will likely be perceived much more positively by those wishing to engage with them. Boost the status of your business by selecting an address which best reflects what you do and where you want to go.
Plus, using a commercial address will mean your personal address isn’t shared publicly and can help you avoid a barrage of unsolicited mail or customers turning up at your house when you don’t expect them.
Address options for start ups
As a start-up, investment in an office space can be difficult as funds are limited and you want to be putting more into development of your product or service, and not using all your income to rent a commercial space.
Whilst renting or even buying a space aren’t beyond every new business, you’ll need to consider monthly mortgage or rent costs, as well as any shared services in the building, council bills and so on to ensure you have a full picture of what the space will cost you.
Another option would be to use a shared space. Many companies these days offer hot-desking within their offices to help them generate income and make use of spaces they’re not currently using.
This can be a great option as you can often also use meeting rooms and other facilities within the building, plus you may find new alliances with the companies with which you share, helping you build your business more quickly and providing you support if you’re a new entrepreneur.
Finally, many start-ups, especially online businesses or those seeking a more prestigious address in a city centre, use virtual address services. This is where you pay a much lower amount, as low as £20.00 per month, to rent an address only.
This address can then be used to promote your business and depending on the company from which you buy it, will usually including mail handling and forwarding, meaning all your post can go there too. The only downside is that you can’t use the office location itself for meetings, but there are plenty of business meeting spaces available across the country that you can use.
Your business address says so much about the business itself. Take the time to get it right and you could benefit for years to come.