Growing Your Business in London? Sorry there’s not Enough Room

business in londonIn an article for Rob Kerry, founder of Made Contact, pointed out a very real problem for London’s entrepreneurs – sorry, there aren’t enough rooms.

The Set Up  

Old Street, the Google/Government funded centre of new technology start-ups (aka Silicon Roundabout), has an abundance of great initiatives to cultivate new ideas, including a lot of logistical infrastructure. Importantly, it provides desk-space for entrepreneurs who need space to work, but can’t afford to add office leases to their overheads bill.

This is a great service and it is fostering creative entrepreneurs, enabling them to start up innovative new businesses. But a bit like being a student at University of London, once you are out of your first-year halls, you either have to pay twice as much for the same kind of space, or bumped all the way out to Deptford or similar. Once your business has outgrown sharing a communal office-hub, you’ll want to get your own office.

The Problem

You want to move out of your start-up hub environment, but not just to move into another shared office space. And this is where demand far outstrips supply. You want independence from the tiring courtesies of a shared space, but not at the isolating cost of working from your living room.

Essentially, there aren’t enough affordable office spaces for small businesses. Once you’ve outgrown Google Campus (or wherever) there is no affordable intermediate between that and ‘IT Crowd’s Reynholm Industries-style monoliths. Places like London Executives Offices offer rentable desks and event rooms, and projects like  Shoreditch Village Hall are designed to provide some extra free space, but what you are really after is your own office; somewhere you can play Radio 6 out loud, order pizza when you have to pull an all-nighter and have a mini-fridge.

Some Solutions

  1. Move Out to Deptford (or similar)

It may not be ‘where the action is’, but if you are already large enough to consider getting your own office space, then you have probably made all the contacts you need to make while growing up in the hub. Moving away might just made the most financial sense

  1. Communal Projects

Addressing the need Kerry pointed out, some projects are trying to tackle this very problem, though admittedly for a fee. Some communal work projects, like Hoxton Mix also offer enclosed spaces for small businesses; giving you privacy but not isolation.

  1. Treat it like Flat-Finder

Your small business might only take up half of an office you would like to have. But there may be another small business, populated by people you could get along with (maybe even grow to like!), in exactly the same situation. Just like if you were looking for a new flatmate so you can move into your dream home, you might try and find a new office-mate to clinch your dream office.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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