Inward investment organisation Into Somerset offers a tailored business relocation service, helping to make businesses’ moves to the county smoother and more efficient. Rupert Cox, CEO of Into Somerset, explains how businesses could grow their business by changing location.
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 relocation. Businesses can cut costs, access new markets and develop their supply chains by moving to an area with already established expertise networks.
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 thorough planning and ensure that you fully understand the cost implications of the move. Financial issues to consider from the outset include different premises options, rates and service charges, legal costs, IT and set up costs, removal and communications costs and access to funding. Take time to talk to the businesses operating in your chosen location through established Chambers of Commerce and other business networks.
Be clear about your goal for relocating your business. The decision 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? Is your business facing problems for other reasons? It is worth considering what the real opportunities are, because relocating is not the best option for an ailing business. Know your business’ strengths and weaknesses.
A good location is key. Indications of a failing area can include: a lack of local jobs and aspiration; high crime rates, poor educational standards, an apathetic business community and run-down or vacant properties.
Favourable signs include: new shopping areas; major companies setting up in the area; well maintained residential properties; good transport and connectivity links; and an active and engaged business community.
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, recognising that Somerset provides an excellent gateway to and from the South West, being approximately 2.5 hours from London, Cornwall and Birmingham. .
The biggest reason above all for moving to Somerset is its compelling business case. Somerset is very well connected, which means travel to and from the county is quick and convenient, and within easy reach of the South West’s airports, which support over 150 European and long haul destinations. Somerset has business parks close to the M5 motorway junctions as well as to the A303, a primary route through Somerset that runs from the M3 through to Devon. Additionally, the county 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. As a result the company saved a massive 45 per cent on operating costs – and assured employees an excellent quality of life.
Great telecommunications, with 85 per cent superfast broadband coverage by 2014, 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.
Quality of life for families and for employees is one of the most important factors stated by businesses considering a move – and Somerset’s offer is outstanding, with diverse and beautiful landscapes, market towns and villages and 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 and Somerset’s crime rates are very low too – one of the safest regions in England, according to Home Office figures.
For advice and guidance on setting up a business in Somerset or relocating to the county, Into Somerset 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. For more information, call 0845 1222 066 or visit www.intosomerset.co.uk.