Is Your Location Harming Business Growth?

Expert Insights

Whether you’re an established business searching for a new HQ or are a brand new startup looking to find your feet, the most important thing to remember is location, location, location.

You could have the most unique idea or well-polished business plan, but if you don’t find a location that fits your business model, you’re limiting your potential for success.

‘Serial entrepreneur’ Scott Gallaway has reviewed how location has impacted the success of 'The Four' - the world’s largest tech companies, Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook. Gallaway suggests that all these companies being founded in San Francisco and Silicon Valley are more than just coincidence - the proximity to some of the best engineering universities in the world has allowed each business to flourish.

But it’s not just household names that can benefit from where they’re based, all businesses need to take into consideration the pros and cons of their location. Below we take a look at the benefits of setting up shop in both big cities and smaller towns and what businesses need to think about when looking for new premises.

The benefits of a city-centre location

    1. Desirability

    More people are likely to pursue careers in well-known cities over smaller towns, as more often than not, cities have more to offer its residents. Whether it’s high-end restaurants, up-and-coming bars, a thriving music scene or a cultural heritage, working and living in a big city offers your employees a fantastic work-life balance.

    2. Deep talent pools

    Large cities with established universities are producing fresh graduates every year who are eager and ready to dive into the market. They’re also home to a much higher concentration of businesses from which you can attract game-changing talent.

    3. Networking opportunities

    With a higher concentration of businesses clustered in large cities, networking is a much easier endeavour than it is elsewhere. Working in smaller towns simply doesn’t offer networking on the same scale, meaning a significant amount of travel would be needed to experience what city-centre businesses have on their doorstep.

    4. Greater footfall

    With an increase in digitisation and online businesses, footfall isn’t often taken into consideration as much as it once was. However, for certain industries, it can make or break a company. Retail and hospitality industries thrive on a high footfall and choosing a city-centre location promises a constant stream of potential customers that smaller towns can’t compete with.

The benefits of a smaller town location

    1. Reduced costs

    Business rates, building rent and staff wages are all more cost-effective in smaller towns and can save you a small fortune - essential for small businesses that are just starting out and have limited funding. Business parks, for example, share the cost of communal services such as security, parking and cleaning staff with all the companies within the premises. The cost of living is also much lower than that of city-centre life, helping to attract candidates that are looking to keep their living costs to a minimum.

    2. Less competition

    For most businesses in cities, they’ll find that a dozen other companies are offering the same product or service. In smaller towns, however, a brick and mortar store will be faced with much less competition. This means you’ll position yourself to gain a higher customer base, if not the lion’s share. Unique businesses with a niche product are the ones who will benefit the most from this aspect, as you’re likely to be the first company of your kind in the area.

    3. Closer community

    Although being based in large cities is easier for networking, it’s in smaller towns where you’ll make real connections thanks to a strong community spirit. As a business owner, you’ll form more close-knit relationships with customers and clients, rather than competing in the dog-eat-dog competition of big city business.

    4. Easier travel

    Another problem facing businesses located in city centres is that they can often be difficult for staff to reach. With the morning rush hour and extortionate parking fares to contend with, getting to work in a busy city can cause more than a few headaches. Setting up your business in a smaller town makes travelling much smoother for you and your staff and is almost always free to park on-site. Plus, business parks are usually located within a convenient distance from rail and bus stations, making public transport easier too.

Understand what’s right for your business

John Waddicker from Positive Commercial Finance, an award-winning financial broker for businesses, says

“Finding the right location can make or break your business venture.”

“Make sure you do your research and come up with an in-depth strategy to find the perfect location. Whether you want to put down roots in a bustling city or the close-knit community of a smaller town, make your decision based on what gives your business the best chance at success.”