Choosing the correct location for your business is crucial and, for businesses of any size, being situated in the right location can prove invaluable when it comes to the bottom line. As an independent furniture manufacturer, we need physical space to store and produce our Chesterfield sofas and chairs, so finding the right location was essential.
I have called the North East of England home all my life, so it was a natural fit to set up our operation here. The decision to do so, however, did need some thought because of the undeniable advantages that being based in London holds. We have several clients who are permanently situated in London, so did consider having a showroom in London several years ago, but have always kept our manufacturing firmly here in the North East.
"As a business owner, you also need to think about the impact that your location is going to have on your employees."
One of the reasons we have always kept our manufacturing outside of London is the significantly lower costs which come from operating a business space outside of the Capital. When we were looking for our current location, the range of premises on offer in the North East was excellent. Clearly, our manufacturing and storage needs are very specific – and different to those of many other businesses – but we found a variety of options suitable for us.
As a business owner, you also need to think about the impact that your location is going to have on your employees. The North East offers a lower cost of living compared to other areas, with great transport links and commute times as well. We’ve been able to recruit locally within the community and retain a team of happy employees, which has been crucial to our success.
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Of course, with our clients themselves based all over the country, it’s not always possible for them to see our furniture locally. For that reason, it made a lot of sense for us to make our website our showroom, and thus our key means for driving sales. Closing our showroom in London has allowed us to focus our physical presence in the North East, while working closely with a digital partner to maximise our website’s effectiveness. We also try and cater to our customers’ needs by transporting a sofa to them for them to view in person if they wish.
While I have found many advantages to being based outside of London, that’s not to say I don’t need to visit clients based in the capital from time to time. With some clients permanently based there, I do find myself taking the train down to London and spending a night there almost weekly. This is important to maintain face-to-face relationships, but it is a small price to pay when compared to the advantages we have found with our location in the North East.
I would advise any business to consider a range of locations when setting up a business. Getting to know where your customers are coming from and – most importantly – not restricting yourself when it comes to weighing up different options can help make your business more agile, community-centric and drive genuine cost savings too.