A great place to start up your business

November 24th, 2010 | 5 comments Source: EnterQuest

One of the key choices faced by a new business owner is exactly where to locate their fledgling enterprise.

Traditional advice will point you to a fairly limited range of premises choices, which will vary in attraction and relevance depending on the type of venture you’re aiming to start. These will include:

  • at home.
  • in a business incubator unit.
  • in a managed workspace unit.
  • in commercial premises.

Starting at home has its attractions, but also many distractions and hazards. Starting in incubator units or managed workspace can be at a low or reasonable cost and commitment, but may not be ideal for your plans at the very earliest stages and unless you’re starting a retail shop, café, pub etc, renting commercial premises will be a step out of reach for most new ventures.

But what about having a place to locate your enterprise before you even start trading, while you’re still doing all the planning, preparation and research, and when your only business assets are those in your head and in your iPhone or BlackBerry?

And what if this place was so ideal that when you begin trading for real, you can also base yourself there, for a little while at least, totally free of charge?

Does such a place exist? This can’t be real, can it?

Yes indeed – and there’s at least one based in just about every major town and city around the UK, and most of them are open every Monday to Friday and possibly Saturday as well.

But not only that, in these widely available locations, you’ll also usually have the advantage of the following:

  • Someone knowledgeable on-hand to give you advice and help you to research and plan the start up of your venture.
  • Access to the Internet and databases to help you with finding suppliers and analysing your competitors.
  • A desk to sit at where you can prepare your business plan and get all your ideas sorted out.
  • A wealth of market reports to read, both in hard copy and online, to help you thoroughly research your market.
  • Often a place to grab a cup of tea or coffee and have initial meetings with key business contacts.
  • A range of trade publications, magazines and newspapers to help you understand your sector and develop your marketing plan.
  • Occasional seminars and workshops covering key business skills needed by new entrepreneurs.
  • If you can’t physically get in to these places, you can usually get access to their resources online.

OK, then, so where are these secret, totally under-publicised locations which are a great place to locate yourself before you start trading?

Your local public library.

Every city and major UK town will have a business reference section based in the main library, and sometimes out in the branch libraries as well. Libraries also employ staff whose specific purpose, among other things is to help people like you who are thinking of starting or are already up and running in business.

And if you are based near or ever have reason to visit London on a business trip to meet potential customers, attend a trade show or for general business matters, then you can do a lot worse than drop in to the British Library Business and IP Centre (located next door to Kings Cross/St Pancras stations).

The Business and IP Centre can be used as a convivial yet professional venue to meet your business contacts, and you could also consider joining as a business member upon which you will benefit from access to the centre’s range of information and professional services, which are second to none. There are also fully accredited business advisers on hand to provide you with guidance should you need it.

Now while we may be pushing it a little bit to suggest that you should go into your library every single day, for weeks on end, and stick its address on your business cards, you will do yourself no harm and give yourself a flying start by taking advantage of this very useful and under-utilised public service.

To find your nearest library and whether it has a business section, go to this directory of UK Public Libraries.

To comment on this article please do so below.

5 Responses to “A great place to start up your business”

  • I’d certainly be up for using libraries for meetings (as long as quiet chat is not frowned on). The fact there are so many, nationwide, is a great advantage. The UK public library website is quite useful but from a business point of view it would be really helpful if the branches which are really business-friendly could be identified. Thanks!

    Comment was posted on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 12:39 pm
  • If people who read this are London-based or visiting London – they should also use the City Business Library which is now located in the Guildhall on Aldermanbury. There are no membership nor registration requirements. We offer a range of resources both in electronic and print form; there is free access to the internet; a great place to work in the centre of London plus a huge range of seminars and events to support small businesses – all free.

    Comment was posted on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 11:39 am
  • Newcastle City Library is a fabulous place to work. As well as the public areas and lovely cafe they have state of the art meeting rooms at a fraction of the cost of many hotels, and they’re open 7 days a week! http://www.spaceontap.com/spaces/view/100

    Comment was posted on Thursday, November 25, 2010 11:40 am
  • It’s good to see libraries suggested as possible working places for businesses, with all the reference material that is available. However, for small and start-up businesses in Hampshire, there is also the option of a “Smarter Working Centre” (SWC). These are usually small self-contained offices, equipped with WiFi or hardwired up-to-date PCs, which can be rented by the hour, day, week or month if necessary – at very competitive rates. They are ideal if one is looking for a more formal office environment but without any formal commitment. There are usually meeting rooms available equipped with digital projector, flip charts etc. Registration is free and enables the subscriber to use any of the SWCs.They all can be booked on the internet! Look at the web site: http://www.smarterworkingcentreshiow.org.uk for more details and locations etc. The SWC can also be used to cut down on commuting or even for job search, when they may be used free of charge in certain circumstances.

    Comment was posted on Thursday, November 25, 2010 11:39 am
  • Have to say I found libraries a very useful place to work – particularly in the early days when my kids were small and someone else was meant to be on childcare duty! Nice change of scene if you get fed up being in the same place too.

    Comment was posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 3:40 pm

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