Being a tourist in London is a series of small but serious descents into bankruptcy. When you’re visiting from a small city or town, the impact on your wallet feels less like a holiday and more like a prolonged mugging.
“HOW MUCH?” you’ll hear an endless parade of northern-English, Scottish and Welsh people say, standing shocked in shopfronts and outside premium-rate galleries. And they’re right – as the process of gentrification continues to sweep over London, prices in the bustling capital are only set to get higher.
The plight of small businesses
But just imagine you’re not simply a tourist – you’re a business owner trying to get your startup off the ground in the city. Moths will be flying from your wallet, your bank account and pretty much any location that previously held your dwindling cash flow.
Unless you’re a high-flying, suited and booted oligarch, the chances of you establishing a meagre startup are pretty small.
Your business won’t just suffer because of higher prices in the capital. London’s higher price range means employers are legally required to pay staff a higher living and minimum wage than the rest of the country.
Added to this is the price of rent. Unless you’re willing to flat share with numerous people, you’ll have to commute into the city from outside the capital if you want to keep costs down.
bTemporary office accommodation has become the norm for some small business. Co-working spaces are also popular for startups who need to cut down on office expenses. In London, new businesses can cut costs by taking advantage of alternative accommodation opportunities.
None of this makes a successful startup an impossibility in London. With thrift and focus it’s possible to maintain a successful business property in the city – you’ve just got to know how to find somewhere on a tight budget.
Smaller agencies, retail outlets and consulting firms can reside outside of London’s hub of big business without risking their finances. After all, areas like Shoreditch are just as hip as the financial sector.
Niche businesses have a greater chance of success in the more obscure parts of the city. After all, people will track you down if you’re stocking a service that other businesses aren’t.
Moreover, it’s possible to hit a sweet spot in property terms, a business location that’s near enough to financially successful locations without having the same hefty price tag. These are the lucky leeches of the property world, gaining business from the stragglers who’ll wander into a less affluent neighbourhood.
The upsides of gentrification
While the process of gentrification is impacting smaller businesses and homeowners, it doesn’t have to drive them entirely from the area. And if you’re able to sustain yourself, the increased affluence of London residents could lead to a surge in profits.
Various letting agency websites carry advice and information on how to gain a commercial property without breaking the bank. You might still yell “HOW MUCH?” when you have to fork out eight quid for a hot dog, but you’ll never again be fazed by property prices in the Big Smoke.