How to Decide What You Want When Searching for Business Premises


Now that you are aware of the different types of small business premises, it is time to consider precisely what sort of property you need. A clear set of objectives will help you search more efficiently. If you know what you are looking for, you will not waste time visiting premises which do not meet your require­ments. A written checklist will also make it easier to evaluate the sites you inspect. Because it is unlikely that you will find exactly what you want, the search will inevitably develop into a series of compromises and trade-offs between the pros and cons of particular premises, but by preparing a checklist you can undertake the process of compromise in a more structured way.

While you are preparing a checklist of priorities it is also worth talking to people in your search area who have a know­ledge of property matters and the state of the local property market. Although you will accumulate knowledge over time, this process can be accelerated by discussions with estate agents, local businessmen, small firms’ advisers (such as the Department of Employment’s Small Firms Centres) and local authority industrial development officers. Check to establish whether there is an Enterprise Agency in your area. An up-to-date list of agencies can be obtained from Business in the Community. These bodies aim to encourage and support small businesses; through their network of local contacts they might have some useful ideas about your checklist and the prospects of finding what you want locally. Many Enterprise Agencies keep lists of property suitable for small businesses.

Business Premises

If you are starting in business for the first time, outside advice can be particularly helpful. The best people to approach are other small business owners who have recently started trading. Compare your checklist of requirements with their experiences. Ideally you should talk to people in a similar line of business to your own, although some will be wary about giving ‘tips’ and ‘trade secrets’ if you are viewed as a potential new competitor.

Among well established companies, and particularly those with some experience of moving, there is a temptation not to give relocation the careful planning it merits. An extreme example of this is a recent case in Suffolk where a small business owner wanting to expand signed a three-year lease on a newly completed 1,500 square foot unit built by the local authority. When he visited them to collect the keys they were more than surprised to find that he had never even been to the unit and he had to ask for a map to find out where it was. This kind of casual approach is not to be recommended! Even if you are already in business it is likely that there will be aspects of the intended move with which you are unfamiliar. Guidance from other businesses, advisory services and local authorities is free and often invaluable.

It is usually better if you approach these groups or individ­uals after you have developed at least a provisional checklist of property requirements. This allows them to offer you more specific advice and it helps to show that you are planning carefully and are serious in your request for assistance.

Given that every business will obviously have its own individ­ual requirements, no two checklists will have exactly the same detailed content, but at a broad level there are certain items which virtually all checklists will need to consider.

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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