In an ideal world, entrepreneurs are growing their business, opening an office in a new city or opening a store in a new location. But in the worst case scenario, the following events coincide with expansion: the business is failing, the office is too small or the new store is unsafe and has been robbed.
Expanding a business is an essential consideration for startups, but it’s also easier said than done. The average small business owner is likely to be contending with a number of regular issues which can delay such grand plans. Furthermore, the ubiquity of startup failure could be enough to dissuade even the most proactive and pragmatic business owners from contemplating such ideas.
But you can avoid startup failure with careful planning and consideration. Here are three tips for making expanding your business more fruitful and fret-free.
1. Security Matters
Earlier this year, two men broke into a Greenwich office, physically abused a worker and stole his £15,000 Rolex. Video footage of the incident is harrowing, and it raises questions about the safety of the average office.
The office where the Rolex was stolen had CCTV installed, and the police used the footage to pursue the perpetrators. But while this is a silver lining, it would be better to avoid the dark clouds altogether.
When you open a new location, security should be near the top of your list of priorities. There are many ways to secure a property. CCTV specialists Carter Security have released a guide covering CCTV for small businesses, how to use it and how to make sure it is effective. One of their tips is to make CCTV cameras visible, so that they may act as a deterrent.
But the best deterrents are physical. Banham recommend access control systems for increasing workplace safety. With an access control system, people have to use a key card, fob or code to enter and leave a building. This allows managers to monitor who comes and goes, and to ensure no unwanted persons get into the building. Video or audio entry systems are another way to control entry, and let people in the building know who is entering. Any kind of entry security system, used in tandem with a burglar alarm and CCTV, can increase workplace security.
Data security is another kind of workplace security that is becoming increasingly important. Cyber attacks are carried out every day, sometimes to bring down an entire company, sometimes for financial gain. The entire US healthcare industry was recently shaken by a huge cyber attack. Expanding your business in the 21st century means more computers, and more data.
If you deal with any kind of important or sensitive data in your work – this could be anything from employee’s details to national secrets, it is imperative that this data does not fall into the wrong hands. The best way to ensure this is to destroy all data on the old computers.
To keep your new computers secure, you need to know at least the basics of cyber security. Thankfully, the government has prepared a booklet on this topic. The small business cyber security guide includes useful advice and instructions on how to keep your business safe from breaches and cybercrime.
2. Think About Workspace Design
Business expansion in its most literal sense means opening up a new office or moving to a larger one. Choosing the ideal location is critical. There are many factors to consider here, and most of them will be specific to your area of business.
If your business is a tech startup, there are several key locations you could base your office for hitting the ground running. But startup or not, there are many questions for you to answer. Are there similar companies located in your new area? Will you have competitors, or will you corner the market? Is this the best place for you to move to? These are all questions only you can answer, and answering them is crucial.
Design is another important aspect of choosing a new workspace. Expanding to a bigger office can actually stifle productivity if the office is poorly laid out. This comprehensive guide to office search and planning from interior designers Open Workspace Design covers the essentials of office design and layout. Your new office needs to be the right shape and size for your workforce, and it needs to meet your heating, lighting and cabling requirements.
For office design inspiration, you may consider innovations such as the Steve Jobs Building. Designed by the eponymous innovator, the Steve Jobs Building is at the heart of Pixar’s main campus in Emeryville, California. The building was specifically designed to encourage chance meetings between employees from every area of the company. Jobs’ theory was that these unplanned encounters would spark unique new ideas and encourage creative collaboration. Jobs’ design creates random collisions by forcing workers to leave their desks and walk to the only set of bathrooms, located in the enormous building’s centre.
3. Be Aware of Business Rates
Business rates might be something you have not considered in your expansion plans, but they are of major importance. The UK is seeing a business rates overhaul under chancellor George Osborne, who is devolving the tax system. By 2020, local councils will be able to cut and raise business rates as they please, making your choice of relocation area more pivotal than ever.
Another of Osborne’s recent changes means businesses rates will no longer be required for properties valued at £12,000 or less. If you were thinking of moving to a small property, worth anything above £12,001, it might be worth bearing this in mind.
Making sure your company is charged the minimum possible business rates is an significant part of handling your business’ tax affairs. Hiring a business rates advisory firm like Gerald Eve or Knight Frank could be the best way to make sure you only pay your fair share and no more.