Flexspace have helped me turn my little dream into a profitable reality! Being a small business owner looking for premises can sometimes be daunting but Loraine and the Flexspace team helped me with every step in finding the perfect solution for my business and I couldn’t be more grateful.
The team go above and beyond to look after their tenants and nothing is every too much trouble. Premises are clean, well maintained and I always feel extremely safe when I’m at work even on those dark winter nights! I have highly recommended Flexspace to fellow business owners – a hidden gem in Peterborough!
Our offices in Blackpool are easily accessible for the people we support, some of whom are in wheelchairs, there is a ramp to the entrance door and disabled facilities. Our offices are nicely decorated, comfortable and affordable.
Our Area Manager is very helpful and readily available should we have any queries or problems. The public areas are kept clean, safe and presentable. She goes over and above the call of duty for the clients.
Very helpful and easy to get on with
I have enjoyed renting from Flexspace for the last 3 years and hopefully will be there for a good few years to come. Found the staff very helpful and easy to get on with.
Friendly, professional and knowledgeable staff
Excellent service, the Centre team are happy to assist with meeting rooms at short notice. They ensure that repairs are carried out quickly. I needed several new sockets in my room and these were provided very quickly with no inconvenience to myself.
The staff are friendly, professional and knowledgeable and nothing is ever a problem.
The dedicated on site team are always on hand to assist
Flexspace Dunfermline has had a big impact on the growth of my business over the last 3 years. Offering the ability to offer in-house training to clients with the use of the meeting room facilities. The team always ensure that the rooms are set up to the exact requirements I need to deliver the training to my clients. From equipment set up to the supply of refreshments to my delegates.
Having a dedicated team onsite that are always on hand to assist with anything from reception to administration is a real benefit to my business. The staff are always very approachable and nothing is ever too much for them when I ask for their assistance.
Dramatic improvement and investment in the facilities
RDM Group has occupied buildings on the Bilton Industrial Estate for over 22 years and we have seen many owners in our time. In 2007 ‘Flexspace’ acquired the estate and through their resident manager, we have seen a dramatic improvement in the overall operation of the estate together with a continual investment and improvement program into the buildings, security and facilities which makes the estate an extremely good place for our company to be located.
Big thanks to you and Alan for your efficient handling of the whole process.
Giles Turnbull, The Human Voice
Everything has been really smooth and easy
Many thanks for your support in our move into new office space, everything has been really smooth and easy even down to ensuring locks were changed and secure.
The facilities are excellent and spotlessly clean throughout and it’s so helpful for us to have access to additional rooms for booking for training events when we need it. We are so glad we made the move into a really pleasant and well maintained working environment.
Meet Gail Haddon, Centre Manager @ Flexspace Northampton
One of the first things that you notice when you walk into Flexspace Northampton, is how welcoming Gail Haddon, our Centre Manager, is.
Gail took 10 minutes out of her day to talk to me about working at Flexspace and her role as a Centre Manager.
How long have you been the Centre Manager at Northampton?
I’ve been centre manager here for six months and have just passed my probation.
What are your main responsibilities?
Front of house includes housekeeping; making sure that there is a safe and happy environment and that Flexspace Northampton is operating well.
Our customers’ journey with Flexspace begins when they come to view the venue. I always start in a little meeting room, reviewing their requirements, understanding their business’ background then a tour of Flexspace Northampton. I show them no more than 3 rooms; these are normally the one closest to the one they want and two alternatives of slightly bigger options.
Then we have networking events – although the people who work and visit Flexspace Northampton understand what a great venue we offer, I keep close ties with the local community through both networking events and social events for our clients and tenants.
From meeting room bookings and end of month billing to renewals and licence agreements, there is a strong administration part to my work, including fire alarm tests, health and safety checks and maintenance reviews.
I take pride in how welcoming and clean Flexspace Northampton is as a venue which is achieved through our customer service attitude to delivering more than our customers expect.
What attracted you to this job?
The people at Flexspace. When I met the Area Manager for Flexspace Northampton through my previous job, and saw the venue, I felt that this was the job and people for me.
What do you most enjoy?
This is the best thing I’ve ever done. Every day is varied and it takes good management skills to make sure that everything is planned and done but I really enjoy it.
What are your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenge is to have full capacity of the offices and have those customers renew. This is down to getting the right customer into the right office space and making their experience here at Flexspace Northampton a good one so that at renewal, they want to stay.
What do you think makes a good Centre Manager?
You have to be approachable, organised and definitely calm and cheerful. Being flexible and understanding our clients and tenants and able to listen to their needs. Interested in working with Flexspace? Then visit our Careers Page for more details.
#flexspaceuk #flexibleoffices #flexspaceukjobs #flexspace #flexspacenorthampton
Optimism Reigns Supreme
Despite the uncertainty around Brexit and the wider economy, the optimism of small business owners would appear to be bucking the trend. A majority of them are forecasting growth in 2018.
Flexspace undertook their annual Business Sentiment Survey recently, canvassing over 160 SME owners across the country. The majority of the UK’s small business owners are putting growth on their 2018 agenda according to the survey results.
In fact 80% (128) of respondents expect moderate or substantial growth for their business in 2018 A further 78% (126) expect their confidence in the UK economy to increase or remain the same for the remainder of 2018.
SMEs are Vital to the UK Economy
“With uncertainty around productivity, the UK economy and a changing global landscape, it may be easy to assume small businesses are pessimistic about the future,” explained Lee Maytum, Managing Director of Flexspace.
“Yet this survey suggests the exact opposite. Small businesses are feeling positive with plans for growth.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses, SMEs accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2017. That’s the bread-and-butter of the UK economy, making surveys like this so important. They stop us making assumptions about how small business owners are feeling and instead provide a strong indicator to business sentiment and expectations.”
43 per cent of business owners also said they intended to recruit in 2018. A sizable 32% of those, said that they hoped to recruit four or more employees.
“92 per cent of those who responded to the survey currently employ less than 26 members of staff. The intention to up headcount by four or more is a sign of significant growth for a small business,” added Lee.
A Brewing SME Give Their Perspective
Responding to the results, Flexspace Leominster customer and Partner in Swan Brewery, Gill Bullock, said the positive outlook was not a surprise. This was perhaps, a representation of small businesses, like their Leominster microbrewery, of targeting new opportunities:
“Increasing competition in a static market is probably our biggest concern at the moment. That’s why we’ve put strategies in place to maximise new routes to market.”
Almost exclusively working with local small businesses, the sentiment expressed in the survey is a positive indicator for Swan Brewery. Gill explained: “The ingredients used in our ale are, by and large, from a British source. We use local suppliers and our customers are primarily based in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. There are many different UK-based stakeholders in the chain. Naturally, their mood and income will impact our business too.”
Gill has some advice for other small businesses.
“Anyone concerned about securing growth in the next 12 months. I’d suggest looking for new ways to sell your products. That also helps you stand out from competitors. We always aim to establish ourselves as a brewery that’s big on sustainability. That feeds through to our entire business model and differentiates us in a busy marketplace.”
A Landscaping SME Gearing Up for Growth
Based in Flexspace Tockwith, Perennials Gardening & Landscapes, is approaching business in 2018 in a remarkably similar way. Julia Harker, Company Director of Perennials, explained: “We’ve identified new routes to market and we’re gearing up for growth.
We recently moved into our new Flexspace unit to give us better access to areas where our services are in high-demand. We’ve also focussed more on landscaping as opposed to horticultural services. Landscaping for new builds is proving to be a lucrative and growing market for us, especially with the recent government drive to build more new homes.”
About the Business Sentiment Survey
The Business Sentiment Survey was open to all Flexspace customers from all of the company’s 59 centres across the UK. 98% of respondents stated their business turnover was £5 million or less in 2016.
If you’d like to join other optimistic SMEs at our 59 Flexspace locations across the UK, please get in touch on 0800 033 4444. We’d be please to discuss our various introductory deals for new clients.
Business risk for smaller operators or startups is found in many forms. It is often created when a startup actively looks for business premises to work from, for example.
All too frequently, suitable workspaces are sought which will only fit the business plan as it currently stands. The trouble with this approach is that the best-laid plans of SMEs tend to change in the short and medium term.
Sometimes, the business grows much more rapidly than expected. During these early stages, your business model needs to be flexible and adjust accordingly.
Fortunately, Flexspace offers two types of contract, a shorter licence for flexibility and a longer lease for those who want more certainty in their planning.
Below, we take a look at various risks to your business, including your overhead or business premises risk.
The cost of business premises is one of the more significant but inescapable overheads that a small business will face. You should focus on it to reduce this risk to your long-term financial health as much as possible. Aim to sign a contract for a premises which suits your business today and tomorrow.
Flexspace are experts at recommending what type of contract will be best for your business. You should be looking for a space that suits your current requirements, yet have the flexibility to change if needed.
If you need to upscale later, then ensure you are not tied down to a longer-term arrangement than you need. Again, Flexspace provides the sort of flexible agreements which offer shorter arrangements that can change as your business needs evolve. Essentially, flexible agreements remove the threat of several risks but – most importantly – those that come from excessive overheads.
Obtaining the right staff is key to many small business managers who rely on a dedicated team of employees. Always take your time to obtain the best people that you can.
Don’t offer a job to a candidate you are not fully certain about. Re-advertise, if necessary. Keep newcomers on a temporary contractual arrangement until you are sure they fit the bill. Removing permanent members of staff from your employment who do not work out can be costly, stressful and time-consuming.
Nearly all startup businesses operate with a certain level of debt that they need to service. Few SMEs get up and running without borrowing to some degree, in order to handle their inevitable startup costs.
Borrow from a respectable lender who understands the business plan and who can see the longer-term vision of what you are trying to achieve. In addition, it is wise to ensure loan repayments, local business tax and rent are the priority over other business debts, such as supplier invoices. Of course, flexibility from your landlord will allow you to reduce your exposure to longer-term business debt, as previously mentioned.
Should you fall behind with any repayments that are due, then it is better to be upfront. Inform creditors of any short-term cash flow problems you may be experiencing. Work out a payment arrangement with creditors from the outset in order to catch up. This is certainly much better than waiting until they lose patience and call the debt in via the courts. Such action can damage your reputation as well as your bank balance.
Some SMEs will face particular business risks that only relate to their sector, such as companies who have seasonal workloads. However, all smaller businesses face risk from debt, overhead management and staffing. Get it right in your handling of these three and your business will succeed. Conversely, if you don’t keep your eye on the ball, then you could be placing your enterprise at a greater risk than it ought to face.
Flexspace pride themselves at helping SMEs flourish. Why don’t you get in touch on 0800 033 4444 and see what flexible deal they could offer you.
With 59 sites across the UK, there’s bound to be one that fits the bill.
What do we mean by a mixed use business park?
When we talk of mixed use business parks, there’s two different ways of looking at this. At one end of the scale there’s a variety of white collar business (you know the type; slick looking business parks with manicured landscapes and impressive looking modern architecture) housing what is essentially a variety of office spaces.
And then there’s the older, mixed use business parks (frequently found on industrial estates). Here, the differences between tenants is greater. The range spans light industrial through to storage to workshops and office and clerical.
Really, there’s no hard and fast rule as to which scenario is better for networking. Although logic would suggest that the wider the range of tenants, the greater the chance that you might find benefits to any cross fertilisation. All we would say is- try to meet your neighbours. Then find out if you can help them and whether they can help you.
Networking as an attitude
When networking its only natural to think ‘what can I get out of this interation’ Thinking this way, paradoxically, means that its unlikely you’ll gain any advantage from any interactions.
Why might this be? When networking, the most successful are the networkers who have the attitude – ‘what value can I bring to this interaction’. This is because this mindset is open to any opportunities which might present itself during the conversation. I suppose this reflects another truism: seek first to understand, then be understood.
Who should I be networking with?
Quite simply, anyone and everyone on your mixed use business park. Your greatest obstacle will be your (frequently incorrect) assumptions. Will this neighbour be a suitable individual to network with.
You need to get past that and recognise that just because (for instance) your business is white collar and some of your neighbours are involved with light industry, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to help one another.
Remember, networking is all about the connections that individuals have – its their networks you are trying to tap into at the end of the day.
The joys (and benefits) of cross fertilisation
The beauty (and benefits) of interacting and meeting tenants who own wholly different businesses from you can throw up some surprising benefits. At the very least, the potential for direct competition will be low, by definition.
But there is something quite special about finding a solution or opportunity right on your doorstep. So what are you waiting for?
Why not resolved to make this week the week to meet your neighbours, or better still, why not ask your landlord to arrange a ‘meet and greet’ networking meeting on your business park. Who knows what future productive connections and relationships will come out of this.
Flexspace Really Means Flexibility
Flexspace may be part of our brand name, but what do we really mean flexibility? In other words, in what myriad ways are we flexible?
Certainly the thing that drives us, and permeates all aspects of our business, is the focus we put on our customers. That manifests itself in the many different ways we offer flexibility to our tenants.
What Exactly Do We Mean By Flexibility?
There can be little doubt that many businesses claim to be flexible. However when you look beneath the surface, they often turn out to be quite intransigent in certain aspects of their operations.
At Flexspace, we really take flexibility seriously and this is borne out in everything we do. So if we say we offer adaptable spaces and variable arrangements which are tailored to individual needs. You know, we really, really mean it. Let’s take a closer look at each of our flexible customer proposition.
Your terms and contract length is one key feature of any flexible business premises. Many of our clients are going through rapid expansion. If you need a contract which offers you a secure and solid base. No problem.
But how about if you need something to fit in with your growing demand for space, too. There again, some start-ups simply don’t have the capital to begin their operations, so seek individual deals like free introductory offers to get them up and running.
For others, it is a rolling contract that is most desirable because this can fit in with their changing plans at the drop of a hat. Every client is different and at Flexspace we recognise that.
Whether you’re looking for a location within the country which puts you near to your customers or your preference is for proximity to a motorway or an international airport, you’ll need a base of operations that fits the bill.
Thankfully, we have 59 locations across the UK to choose from so every business need can be met in terms of its whereabouts. Many offer superb communications and are already established commercial centres where your business will immediately fit in.
Depending on the nature of your venture, you may need offices, workshops, storage facilities or even industrial units. At Flexspace, we don’t just have a good supply of each type of unit, but we frequently provide a mix of each for enterprises that require more than one unit type.
Every Flexspace unit has a dedicated manager who is willing go the extra mile for all our customers.
They take the time to listen to you, and understand your needs fully. This means they’re equipped to make your business environment work for you. In a way that is conducive to growth and promotes your success. Just talk to us to find out how flexible our business services can be.
Flexible Fit Outs
We can kit out your flexible business premises for you so its ready to meet your needs from day one. When you move in, you may want particular partitioning arrangements or certain networking infrastructure in place.
Subject to agreed charges, such ‘Plug and Play’ arrangements can be made so that you hit the ground running. Remember that we offer mixed use units that can meet a wide variety of commercial needs on many of our sites.
Your Flexible Future
We welcome start-up enterprises and offer favourable rates to help get tomorrow’s business leaders off the ground. Given that we’ve the scale to handle anything up to multinational organisations as well, the your next productive move is closer than you think. We want to be your trusted partner during your journey from start-up to market leader. Our scale and set up allows us to help you every step of the way.
When you’re seeking flexible business premises, it pays to select the provider who offers true adaptability across multiple factors.
That’s why flexibility is part of our name and a driving force of our brand ethos. It clearly states what we live and breathe everyday.
So make 2017 the year to make Flexspace – your new, flexible business partner.
There are many concerns when planning a new business venture – commercial property being just one. Renting for the first time, how much or little space do you actually need. And how that space requirement might change over time.
The cheapest option may be the smallest available unit that accommodates your milling machines and lathes. Or the most modest unit for your computer workstations. After all, with any new start-up finance is always a primary consideration. But how about a year down the line? Five years further on?
Flexible Terms are a Major Commercial Property Consideration
Three months, six months, or twelve months down the line and business is brisk, with new orders and clients beating a path to your workshop door. You need another lathe but don’t have the space. Material and stock storage space is running out, and you could do with another workstation in an already crowded office.
Luckily, companies like Flexspace have considered all these scenarios. They offer commercial property for rent to start-ups and small to medium businesses across the industrial, commercial and service sectors. You don’t have to commit yourself to a long lease, leases run from just 12 months. Attractive rental holidays are available to allow you to settle in and get properly organised. But more than that, with Flexspace’s ‘business units’ that extra space you suddenly need may be just a wall’s thickness away.
Flexibility is what Flexspace is all about. Flexspace appreciates empty units don’t earn rent, and to that end they provide new and existing tenants as much help as possible. Spread across the country on prime commercial sites close to major trunk roads and cities, they offer mixed units where you can operate your manufacturing business alongside your offices. Or you can set up shop on a purpose built industrial estate, or a modern business park
The Time to Expand?
Do you operate from the Midlands, but find an increasing amount of orders have to be delivered down south or up north? Is the increasing use of courier companies or ever increasing fuel bills beginning to eat into your bottom line? Relocating your whole operation is a costly and time consuming business. Perhaps the answer might be to open a distribution centre closer to your biggest customer base.
Have a chat with Flexspace. With nearly 60 sites of commercial property for rent they may have just what you require. Flexspace’s range of small, medium, and large units have excellent parking facilities for both staff and clients. With their willingness to go the extra yard to help accommodate new and existing tenants, you can probably arrange advantageous terms while you prepare your unit for its new role as a distribution centre.
Thinking Outside the Box
For years commercial letting agents had one aim, charge as much rent as the market could stand. Flexspace is not just another commercial letting company. We do try to operate differently by trying to clearly understand our customers’ needs and provide for them with a degree of elasticity.
If you’re looking for your first unit, or indeed looking for additional units to expand your existing business, you would do well to give Flexspace a call. We’ve the reach and scale to provide a large choice of unit types and sizes.
With our highly competitive rents, and genuine concern for the success of our tenants. This could be the beginning of a beautiful business relationship.
Happy New Year! If your resolution is a change of scene, then we’re on hand to help you consider your options. In this post we cover some of the advantages in securing a new, flexible business premises.
We explore what effect this change might have on your business and importantly, on the outlook and motivation of your workforce.
The telltale signs that you need to move business premises
This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, but it should flag up if a move would be good. Ask yourself, and be honest, are you experiencing one or more of these factors:
You are so far from any meaningful transport links that its affecting (or starting to affect) your business.
Your current premises require considerable maintenance (either each year or as an ongoing cost).
Your current premises has some key facilities lacking – and this omission, in particular, is having an impact on the efficiency of your operations.
Your business would benefit from some geographical consolidation.
Your customers or your clients are having difficulty actually finding you.
You literally can’t fit any more workstations into the business space.
If any of these are relevant, then you need to move, but when would be a good time to make that move?
Changing premises early on in the calendar year has the advantage of giving you a natural fresh start and run up to the new year. It would be particularly timely if the following factors were also present:
Your lease is due for renewal
This often is the trigger for a lot of tenants to begin the process of looking around for a new, better or bigger base. Naturally, its always preferable to start this process in good time, so you have as much wriggle room as possible when negotiating a new lease (either with your old landlord, or if you do decide to move – with prospective landlords).
Longer leases generally mean a cheaper overall rent, but sometimes companies prefer more flexibility in return for a slightly higher premium.
Or you could save yourself considerable time and choose Flexspace. We offer flexible business premises with the added advantage of a significant introductory discount (sometimes as much as up to 3 months’ free). Go on, search for a new office or workshop, we have a wide range of locations and sizes.
Your company undergoes a significant change in shape or size
That can range from broadly positive changes like a period of rapid and sustained growth through to challenging periods where an active phase of downsizing is required.
During these times, as your business premises is one of your highest overheads (with perhaps the exception of payroll), it makes sense that this business critical factor is reviewed and revisited on a regular basis.
However, don’t forget to consider the impact of moving
There are obvious costs (time and money) of going through a premises move. And unsurprising, at the top of this list needs to be placed the financial cost of moving.
Not only that, what is the true cost of this decision in terms of everyone’s time, the costs of moving and the set up costs of setting up your company within a new premises.
All of the above needs to be considered carefully.
Leave it to the experts
One things for sure, when you are looking to move to a new, flexible business premises, it does pay to leave it to the experts – Flexspace.
We have over one hundred locations, big and small across the UK. With a range of mouth watering deals for new tenants, so don’t be shy and give us a call on 0800 033 4444.
Your new, exciting, uplifting premises are closer than you think.
Part II of a III part blog series
As we’ve mentioned in an earlier blog, where you decide to put down roots is one of the most momentous decisions you can take as a business. So it pays to give it sufficient consideration and to find a flexible business unit to rent.
The first blog covered the physical and tangible factors which influence where you choose to situate your business.
In the second of our three part blog on choosing a flexible business space, we’ll now take a look at the ongoing considerations: specifically those that impact on your running costs.
The ongoing considerations of where you move your business to
The running costs for small business rentals
These encompass the business rates and other running costs like your utilities (electricity, gas, water etc), but don’t forget other aspects particular to a location (like congestion charges and car parking charges). Some landlords directly charge business rates together with the unit rental, with others, the business rates are separate.
There are many more potential running costs dependent upon the unit you may be interested in, but those are the main ones to ponder. Look carefully at ones which have variable costs, such as for phone calls or photocopying – make sure the fees are fair and transparent.
Last but by no means least (in terms of the factors affecting your decision) are the legal considerations. Ignore or skim over at your peril! What is the length of contract term? Are there any break clauses? You need to be sure that you are not tied in for years without any option to cancel or move.
Hidden clauses and restrictions on use of a building
Any business owner needs to ensure that the business you are renting is suitable for your business, not just today but also for tomorrow. For instance one possible disadvantage might be whether there are any restrictions for access, particularly for members of the public.
Or, for example, if you are running a workshop, are there parts of your work which are not fully covered by the terms of the contract or insurance. You need to be sure that if an accident happens, it is fully covered.
Are additional licences required based on the nature of your work? For instance whether materials you have on site are considered hazardous. Are you able to subcontract, or do you have cover for freelance or contract workers.
Naturally, fire and health & safety flow from this, as well as whether the premises are suitable for all staff, for instance if any disabilities need to be catered for.
Can you rent this office on favourable terms?
The site needs to suit you and your customers,not just today, but far into the future, so beware of tying yourself too firmly to a contract which lasts longer than it needs to.
Most business leases are for 2-3 years with various break clauses, usually at an annual basis. These days, increasing numbers of property companies (Flexspace included) favour auto renew – essentially a rolling contract which relies on the tenant canceling. This provides both flexibility and longevity for both parties.
But look out for contracts which run for years, they can seem really attractive, but what if your business shuts or grows. What seemed like a good deal last year may seem like shackles to you today.
Those, in a nutshell, are some of the key on-going considerations when looking and assessing your new or first business premises.
Of course, you could always save a lot of legwork by coming to the experts – Flexspace, and let us do all the hard work. We have a range of business premises across the country close to major arterial connections, together with some very favourable terms (up to 3 months free for some localities).
Many of our sites have additional amenities like on-site cafes etc. So next time you are reviewing your next location, consider contacting Flexspace. We’ll try to make you an offer you can’t refuse!
Flexspace: Managed workspace for the modern business. Call 0800 033 4444 or complete the form today!
This topic will be in 3 blog parts for simplicity:
The physical factors used to determine your business location (part I)
The on going costs which determine your business location (part II)
How you should actually go about searching for a business location (part III)
For business owners, where you decide to put down roots is one of the most momentous decisions you can take as a business so it pays to give it sufficient consideration.
Maybe you’ve started off in a bedroom or garage, or are just looking for a new place to operate from. Whatever the key drivers are which underlie this decision? We outline a list which hopefully will act help you consider carefully all the important factors which will impact your business.
As mentioned above, in this first blog, we’ll tackle the physical factors influencing your location decision:
The physical factors determining where to move your business to
Workplace flexibility needs to be front and centre
Any location needs to enable you to operate as a business as efficiently as possible without excessive costs. These costs can be a drag to growth at any stage of a business cycle, but are most critical in your business’s early stages.
One of the prime considerations should be flexibility. What do we mean by this?
Well, the length of any lease needs to be carefully considered. Also, whether the building itself lends itself to mixed usage which can be changed as your business grows and develops.
So really, one guiding principle should be finding somewhere that has room for growth and facilitates your evolution as a business.
Understand the physical working space
Try to visualise what the business space will look like and how the space will be configured once you move in. What will it be like to work in?
All those visible and tangible considerations are one of the biggest factors influencing whether you sign on the dotted line or not.
Below are some of the considerations to be thinking about. Its not meant to be exhaustive but should give you some thoughts :
Appearance of the site: do you need to impress customers? How easy will it be for your clients to get find you and park?
Size and layout of the space: think about desks, communal areas, storage and equipment
What amenities does the unit contain: is there a kitchen or showers? Is there a cafe on site?
Is the building suitable for mixed use: do you need to both have office as well as working areas? How will you separate? Are there any noise considerations?
Are you allowed to alter the setup: Will your lease allow it? How accommodating is your landlord? Do you need some form of permission?
Transport links: Are there car parking facilities on site or nearby? Is it close to train or bus stops? Is there a local taxi firm?
Health and Safety considerations: check fire equipment, fire exits and PAC testing etc.
What is the energy efficiency of the building: single or double-glazed? Are utilities included? If a workshop or industrial space, will it retain heat?
Factors in the area around your new workplace
Any location has a particular set of factors which are going to influence your decision about whether you will consider the property seriously or not. And the old location, location, location adage is as true for commercial property as it is for residential.
But there are other considerations which are very different to the residential market. Here are some of the factors you need to be looking at when it comes to the area your business is located in:
Where is the office, workshop or industrial unit located? Is it with other businesses, and does the area support smaller enterprises well?
What is the overall rental cost? Even taking into account that cities are generally more expensive than out of town locations, is it on offer for the ‘market rate’ and are there any hidden charges?
How much passing trade does it have? Will moving make a noticeable difference to your overall custom
What’s the broadband connection like? All businesses need to be well connected, make sure you have enough bandwidth to help you grow
Are there any local grants that come with this locality? It is always worth investigating as there are often startup grants and discounts available. Definitely look into Rates Relief and other forms of small business support. Councils do want small businesses to move into and succeed in their local area and might provide help
So there you have it – a very quick sift through some of the physical considerations when deciding on a new premises for your business. Of course, you could always save a lot of legwork by coming to the experts – Flexspace, and let us do all the hard work. We have a range of business premises across the country close to major arterial connections, together with some very favourable terms (up to 3 months free for some localities).
Some of our sites have additional amenities like on-site cafes etc. So what better time to contact Flexspace, and see where we can make an offer you can’t refuse. Flexspace: Managed workspace for the modern business. Call 0800 033 4444 or complete the form today!
There’s a Thriving Small Business Space
The first in our series of blogs focusing on the stories behind the business spaces, we interview some of Flexspace’s unique and varied customers. The perfect small business space!
This month we highlight a flourishing business in Flexspace’s Swindon site: All About Flowers (http://www.swindonflorist.co.uk/) , and interview the founder and owner, Margarita Kurova.
Tell us a little about yourself
“I’m originally from Estonia, and trained in a very different environment. I studied and graduated as a chemist and worked in my native Estonia for a large industrial chemical company for one and a half years.
I liked my colleagues and made some good friendships but realised that working as a chemist wasn’t sufficiently fulfilling for me. The work had some variety for me but as I was quite young at the time, spending the whole day in front of a computer screen I found was too constraining. The problem was, I knew what I didn’t want to do but I was yet to find out what I really wanted to do.
The other thing which I wanted to move away from was the incredibly cold winters we have in Estonia. Most winters the temperature can drop as low as -30 and snow can stay on the ground for half of the year. Or at least it feels that way!“
From Chemist to Florist in ‘one easy step’ then?
“No, not at all (laughs). I decided to do some travelling as this is such an interesting world to be a part of. As I studied German at school I went and lived in Koln for a few months. I enjoyed the experience but realised it wasn’t for me.
So then I got a job on a cruise ship for 8 months and decided I’d try England – despite knowing and speaking no English! I landed in the beautiful city of Bournemouth and whilst there decided to study floristry as I’ve always had a creative side and a love of nature. I also studied floristry in Russia and Holland so I was certain I’d found something that I love.”
What is it about floristry that that you love?
“To be involved in something that nature created is a beautiful thing. I just love the creative side of the businesses as well. And to be involved in a business where there is so much happiness, is a wonderful thing.
You can’t beat the feeling of seeing the bride’s reaction on seeing her wedding day flowers or the touching messages of love that people send to each other. It’s really special.”
Creating a beautiful song, one note at a time
“I like to think that working with flowers is like composing a beautiful song one note at a time. And it’s not just flowers which provide the notes. I also use foliage, fruits, seed heads, sticks and catkins. Fabrics and ribbons also play a starring role in our creations. So maybe it’s more like a symphony than a song!
I never tire of that feeling when you create something wonderful which is appreciated by the customers. It still gives me such a buzz.”
Where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
“I take my inspirations from everywhere. The world around me, magazines, travels, gardens, markets. Anywhere really. You never know when an inspiring idea can hit you.”
When did you decide to start out on your own?
“A couple of years ago, I decided to take the plunge and set up my own business.
It’s a wonderful feeling being in charge of your own future but it’s very hard work, with lots of early starts.
Once I’d secured the empty workshop premises for my business with Flexspace at a reasonable rental, I decided to take the plunge.”
What makes All about Flowers unique?
“I think the thing that sets us apart from other florists is that we really take the time to try to understand what our clients want – whether it’s a final send off for a loved one or the theme of an extravagant wedding, we take the time to understand deeply what the customer is looking for – even if they aren’t completely sure of what they want at the time, we can help guide them.
“Plus I’ve a great team around me so it’s no surprise that business is continuing to grow.”
And for the future?
“I’d really like to do more competitions – if time allows. So far I’ve been an RHS Chelsea Flower show finalist and won a medal at RHS Hampton Court flower show! It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your skill, creativity and expertise and learn a lot in a short space of time.”
How have Flexspace helped your business ambitions?
“One of the great thing about being a Flexspace tenant is knowing that as my business grows, I can, with relative ease, match that growth to my business premises.
Plus, their spaces are really versatile – the units can be kitted out as workshop, office or studio.
The Pembroke Centre also has meeting/conference rooms – really useful for booking special events like my Christmas Wreath Making Party on the 10th December 2016 at 1pm.
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