Although it shouldn’t be, London is often the barometer of success for many industries. Here’s how to successfully kickstart a London branch.
1. Office space in London is the second most expensive in the world, according to a Cushman & Wakefield survey released in February. In the West End, rent is around £75 per square foot, and in the City ,they’re about £44 . If the thought of paying rent in London is going to burn a hole in your pocket, you may want to consider serviced offices.
If you’re still set on your own office space, the suburbs are sometimes a cheaper option – though they are “a mixed bag and difficult to generalize,” says James Merrett, who specializes in London retail for Cushman & Wakefield. (Desirable outer-London locations such as leafy Chiswick or Wimbledon Village can cost nearly as much as central London.) One place to consider: Stratford, the up-and-coming area is home to a new town center complete with high rise office towers dubbed “Stratford City”.
2. Don’t underestimate how much time (and money) you’ll need to budget for transportation. Links between northeast and northwest London are particularly poor and tend to require either travelling all the way into central London to travel back out, or multiple buses. Your office may be close to a London Underground stop, but clients may need to be educated heavily on how to reach you.
All of this can mean journeys of an hour, especially as the Tube undergoes frequent engineering works. How bad can it be? Getting to work late because of Tube problems is a widely accepted fact of office life in London and merits sympathy (as opposed to reprimands) from most line managers. However cycling is very up-and-coming in London, so it might be worth investing in a road bike over an Oyster card.
3. Unless you’re going to bring your entire workforce with you, the local labour pool will be of significant interest to you. London is a big city with a population of almost eight million residents. This number is considerably increased each day by the extra half a million or so commuters who come from areas outside of London to work. Because there are excellent transport links within London and surrounding London (despite what the above post may make you think), many skilled workers are willing to travel in to work. So, no matter what skill set your business requires, there’s an excellent chance that London can provide the workers you need.