5 smart investments for London start-upsBy Angelica Malin
There’s a certain school of thought that says the present moment might not be the best one to start a business in London. After all, there are worries about what effect the Russian invasion of Ukraine might have on the prospects of the UK and world economy for the rest of 2022 and beyond – even if it’s also true that recent figures indicate the “hit” caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was short-lived.
One could also argue, though, that ‘UK plc’ has performed impressively even amid other recent times of crisis. Did you know, for instance, that between January and June 2021 – a period coinciding with one of the coronavirus lockdowns – a whopping 340,500 businesses were registered in the UK? And the figures showed that London was strongly represented in that business growth.
Perhaps the main lesson from the above is that even in tough times, business can thrive more than many people realise. However, it also remains the case that funding is tight for many firms right now, and if you are only just starting out – especially in as expensive a location as London – the savvy use of your own business’s resources will greatly aid its chances of survival.
Let’s, then, take a look at five of the things your own London start-up might be best advised to invest in during its early weeks and months, throughout 2022 and beyond.
Given all the work and funding you will need to plough into getting your business off the ground, you won’t want to lose all that you have worked for over what might be a single incident. And rest assured that in those early, fragile days of your start-up business, it really could take just one unfortunate incident for your young company to be effectively wiped out.
Naturally, the exact types of insurance you should be investing in will depend on the exact nature of your business. An online shop might not have to consider the same kinds of insurance as an office-based firm – nonetheless, the likes of public liability cover, professional indemnity insurance, and legal expenses insurance can all prove crucial for many London start-ups.
Even in today’s world in which many businesspeople may expect to more frequently use video-conferencing software for conducting meetings with clients, certain things in the corporate world don’t really change. One of those is the need for quick and reliable transport that also helps to make the right impression when you roll up outside that potential client’s office.
With firms like Car Finance Genie making available very reasonable business car finance deals, you might be surprised by how affordable it is to provide your personnel with professional-looking vehicles that also enable them to get to where they need to be with minimal fuss.
Strong on-site security arrangements
Let’s return briefly to the subject of protecting what you have, because it really is a crucial factor for young businesses.
We could, of course, be referring here to your firm’s cybersecurity arrangements, which also need to be watertight – but it’s no less important to assess the vulnerabilities your physical business premises could have to opportunistic theft, vandalism, or other criminal damage.
Don’t be afraid to turn to a trusted company like Firstford Ltd for advice on the both necessary and affordable commercial security systems for London businesses like yours.
Having a tamperproof CCTV system and sophisticated access control systems installed, for example, could go a long way to protecting the equipment your firm depends on in order to operate, at the same time as maximising staff safety and your own peace of mind.
Outsourced accounting and/or bookkeeping services
You might imagine that as a business owner just starting to give your new company momentum, it will be of paramount importance for you to keep tight control of everything. But that doesn’t mean you will be able to keep an eye on everything, all the time – and when it comes to prioritising tasks, you will almost certainly want to focus most of your time on plotting the growth of your core business.
And sure enough, the fact that – according to a survey cited by the Unbiased website – almost four in 10 small-to-medium-sized firms intended to heighten their use of outsourced accountants, tells you that this is a key function many start-ups like the idea of entrusting to other people.
Doing so for your own London start-up could bring you a host of benefits, including saved time and money, as well as the opportunity to receive expert advice from the accountants you choose to work with.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
We have included this particular investment last in our list, not because it is one of the less important investments for a London start-up to think about, but instead because it is too often wrongly perceived as such.
Of course, in place of SEO, we could have cited another area of branding, marketing, or advertising, such as brand strategy services, or Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing. The principle is much the same regardless; it’s about getting more of the right people to see your brand, and to become aware of what your business does, and how its products or services could help solve their problems.
As the term suggests, search engine optimisation is all about adjusting various aspects of your start-up’s online activity – including its website – to help ensure your brand ranks higher in the search engine rankings, when users search for relevant keywords or phrases. It’s an area of marketing that has only become more important for new and growing businesses as more and more people discover businesses and their solutions for the first time online, rather than offline.
So, partnering with a reputable SEO services provider such as Mr. SEO – a digital marketing agency in Essex & London – is probably one of the first moves your business in the capital ought to make if it is serious about putting in place the ingredients for longer-term survival and success.
There you have it – just five investments that start-ups in London are strongly urged to make during their first few weeks and months of growth. Take the responsible steps with your limited funding now, and you will be thankful for it amid the inevitable business challenges that you face later.