Every business has to graduate from the kitchen table at some point and so when you decide to find a property that suits your business needs, it is important you’ve done your homework.
Chris Pitchford, founder and managing director of Real Response Media, has spent plenty of hours channelling his inner Phil Spencer fromLocation, Location, Location and chatted to us about how he secured the premises for his company.
How long did it take you to find your office premises?
It took me a week or two to find our office (St. Mark’s Studios, Holloway Road) and it was actually quite tough. The internet, obviously, is the easiest route or you can walk around your preferred area which sometimes highlights a better understanding of what you want. We were going to be in Kentish Town at one point and it was only when I came across our current location – with the Victoria Line and Piccadilly Line nearby – that I realised what a great position it was to be in and how easy it was for our staff to commute.
What advice would you give to someone looking to take their first office?
It’s important to keep these three rules in mind:
One – Make sure to sign a short-term lease as you don’t want to be tied down to a long contract. You don’t know how well your business will do (or not do) in the first twelve months, so make sure you stay flexible.
Two – Look for where it is situated. In London, you’ve got to make sure it is easy to get into the city centre within 30 minutes (we’re ten to fifteen minutes here) and you’ll not be paying the rates you would be if you were situated more centrally which is important for a start-up.
Three – Look for the ability to grow within the office space. So, if things do go well, how easy is it to move into your next office? We’ve been able to move four times already in St. Mark’s Studios which shows the importance of growth and planning for growth.
And if things don’t go well?
Look, it’s all about moving in the right direction, but it’s important you can move in the opposite direction should you have to shrink your business quickly. The worst-case scenario for us is one month notice and so we’re in a good position, however, you have to pay for this type of lease: the shorter the lease, the more expensive it becomes.
Any final thoughts?
Always look at the amount of notice you have to give the leaseholder, the ability to grow and where your staff come into because without your staff you don’t have a business – and let’s not forget that point.
Our end goal is to own our office and be lease-free as we believe owning a property lends the business a stronger better base to build from. So, if you are ever in the position to lease or buy, I would suggest to buy.