The digital economy has opened up more opportunities for new businesses to thrive than ever before. There are startups that operate out of residential homes, remote farmyards or even from whatever tropical beach their nomadic owner chooses to call home on a given day.
That’s well and good for those web designers, SEO consultants and link building experts who seem to exist only in the virtual world. But it is not a model that suits every business. If you need to work closely with a team, or to meet regularly with clients, there is still no substitute for having an office.
London is home to almost half a million start-ups and micro businesses. And while the areas around Old Street and Shoreditch are the most famous, there are other hubs on the periphery of the city that have all the convenience but offer far more bangs per buck.
For a whole generation, Surbiton became synonymous with suburban life, thanks to the adventures of Tom, Barbara, Margo, and Jerry in The Good Life. You might expect the reality to be a disappointment, particularly after 40 years, but Surbiton still retains its green, open spaces. For a startup, taking office space in Surbiton makes sense on every level. Prices are significantly lower than those more central locations, yet the commute is easier. Trains run regularly into Waterloo, and with a journey time of 20 minutes, there is really no downside to being a little out of town.
Sticking with the 1970s pop culture theme, there are some who associate Wimbledon with some racquet sport or other, but for those of a certain age, it will always be the home of the Wombles. However, this popular and historic district is not just for international sports stars and mythical creatures. All joking aside, the district’s international reputation gives it an additional kudos, a factor well worth considering in an age when image is everything. Transport links into the city are fantastic – the main line will get you into Waterloo in around 15 minutes, or you can take the District Line and be at Tower Hill in about 40 minutes.
Moving north of the river, Teddington is a traditional residential area and has managed to fly largely under the radar, nestled between its more famous neighbors of Twickenham and Kingston Upon Thames. However, offices are starting to appear on the scene, and thankfully, they are sympathetically designed and in keeping with the quiet, peaceful surroundings. Teddington is a fabulous place to work, and an office here is sure to impress clients. Despite the feeling of being out in the sticks, the city is only half an hour away by train.
Brentford is seen by many as marking the boundary between London and the rest of the world. It lies at the start of the M4 corridor, which is populated by as diverse a range of companies as you can imagine, boosted by the fact that it is just five miles from Heathrow. For businesses with an international client base, the location just couldn’t be better.