Relocate your business for growth

Rupert Cox CEO of Inward Investment agency, Somerset 3DInward investment organisation Somerset 3D offers a tailored business relocation service, helping to make businesses’ moves to the county smoother and more efficient. Rupert Cox, CEO of Somerset 3D, explains how businesses can relocate for growth.

 

  • Does your business base need to be located where it is now?
  • Is your client-base shifting?
  • Are new markets developing in other locations?
  • Are your costs increasing and squeezing your margins?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, it may be time to consider relocating your business.

Relocating is a great way to grow your business. Businesses can cut costs, access new markets and develop their supply chains by moving to an area with already established expertise networks.

To ensure the move is successful, it is vitally important that you know your business’ strengths and weaknesses. It also helps if you are clear about who your competitors are, where your marketplace is and that you make time to do the basic groundwork of research and planning.

The decision to relocate needs to be made with specific reference to the future of the business – can the business maintain or improve its viability if you decide to move, and would relocating help or hinder you if your business is facing problems for other reasons? It is worth considering what real opportunities there are, because relocating is not a sticky plaster for an ailing business.

It’s important not to be under any illusions, relocating a business is complex and can take a long time. We would advise allowing at least six months of planning and ensure that you fully understand the cost implications of the move. Financial issues to consider from the outset include whether to choose freehold or leasehold premises, the rates and service charges of the property and the different ways businesses can access finance – whether that is through a high street bank, a high-end business bank, an investment angel or a private investor.

In our experience, we have found that favourable signs for a healthy business location include:

  • New shopping areas
  • Branches of major companies setting up in the area
  • Well maintained residential properties
  • Good transport and connectivity links
  • A minimal number of vacant premises
  • An active and engaged business community

Conversely, we have come to view the following as danger signals for areas in which to avoid setting up a business:

  • Lack of local jobs and aspiration
  • High crime rates
  • Poor educational standards
  • Declining sales and industrial capacity
  • An apathetic business community
  • An abundance of run-down or vacant properties, both residential and commercial

In Somerset, we have identified four key reasons businesses relocate to the county. One key factor that is unique to Somerset is the new nuclear build programme at Hinkley Point C, which brings great opportunities for businesses to become part of the supply chain for this once-in-a-generation project.

Another reason for relocating is regional expansion, where businesses already have an office or warehouse in the South West and choose to open up an additional base in Somerset – an example of this is the luxury leather goods company Mulberry. The designer brand already has a presence in Shepton Mallet and has recently started building a new factory in nearby Bridgwater.

Quality of life for families and for employees is one of the most important factors for businesses considering a move – and Somerset offers an outstanding lifestyle for both. Somerset has a diverse landscape, including the rolling hills of Exmoor, the Mendips and the Quantocks, as well as laying claim to 30km of glorious coastline. Delicious locally produced food and drink are vital elements of traditional Somerset life and the 8,500 farmers and food producers based here make up the largest cluster in the UK. The educational opportunities in Somerset are first-class, with more than 96% of parents achieving their first choice of state secondary school, compared with just two-thirds in London. Somerset’s crime rates are very low too – it is one of the safest regions in England, according to Home Office figures.

The biggest reason for moving to Somerset though is its compelling business case. Somerset boasts numerous exciting and unique opportunities for existing companies, entrepreneurs and investors. Somerset is very well connected, which means travel to and from the county is quick and convenient. It is only two hours from London and is within easy reach of the South West’s airports, which support over 150 European and long haul destinations. Somerset’s business parks and industrial estates are in key locations close to all five motorway junctions as well as to the A303 at Wincanton, Yeovil and Ilminster. Additionally, Somerset has a network of unique, high-quality rural business developments, many of which are located in the grounds of historic estates.

Businesses that relocate to Somerset can significantly cut costs by making substantial savings on commercial property, which tends to be at least a third cheaper than London and the South East. IT industry giant IBM moved its maintenance and repair centre from Uxbridge to Highbridge, near Bridgwater and the M5 corridor, and as a result IBM saved a massive 45% on building costs – and assured employees an excellent quality of life.

Great telecommunications, a high quality work/life balance, an entrepreneurial culture, a loyal and committed workforce and affordable property prices are all to be found in Somerset. It is a highly attractive place to live, work and enjoy an unbeatable lifestyle.

With around 20,000 people relocating to Somerset every year, and with such a wide range of projects and prospects here, there’s no better time for businesses to get involved and make the most of the exciting opportunities that Somerset can offer.

For advice and guidance on setting up a business in Somerset or relocating to the county, Somerset 3D provides a bespoke service to help inward investors understand the opportunities available, offering support to ensure that the process of setting up or moving a business to Somerset is as smooth as possible.

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