David Saul, managing director of leading serviced office operator Business Environment explores ways to help our UK businesses
The current state of the economy is never far from the headlines. National newspapers are filled with articles on the first double-dip recession in recent memory, reports on the recession not being as deep as feared and forecasts predicting a return to growth.
Former Prime Minister John Major recently took to daytime TV to speculate that the worse might be over and the economy is on the road to recovery. I certainly hope that is the case, but I’m also very aware that many businesses are struggling and in need of additional advice and support in order to survive. I believe it’s crucially important to bear this in mind, because without strong and thriving SMEs, creating jobs and paying taxes, there’s little hope of building a strong economy.
It’s for this reason that the lack of bank financing for small business is a cause for concern and it remains to be seen whether various government schemes, such as a state-backed business bank, will meaningfully improve accessibility of financing for SMEs.
This result of this is small and medium sized businesses need to find ways to preserve cash and keep costs down, simply to keep their business afloat.
It’s essential for businesses to find savings wherever they can, whether this is office rent, IT systems, or office equipment.
At Business Environment, we’ve been looking at how we can save SMEs time and money by meeting their needs in these areas. We now offer office space around the UK that can be up to 60 per cent cheaper than a conventional office lease, with no hidden charges and IT equipment, phone calls, internet, a professional front of house team, and just about everything else included.
We’ve long recognised that many start-ups face an unacceptable Catch-22 – they are finding it hard to get their business off the ground because they don’t have a professional office and they’re finding it hard to pay for a professional office because they haven’t been able to get their business up and running.
Our response to this has been to create a low-cost office package targeted at start-ups, with no deposit, no upfront fees and no long-term contract.
The package is designed to remove the barriers that prevent businesses from creating a professional image that can be so vital to gaining clients. For start-ups at their earliest stages, a a professional front of house team on hand to answer calls using their business names, giving the image of a larger and established business, can prove vital.
We’re proud of the package but we don’t want to become complacent – we’ll continue striving to improve our understanding of our customers’ needs, aiming to create the best working environment we possibly can. Of course, supporting SMEs makes good business sense because our success is dependent on our customers’ – for us, a failed business is a lost customer. Against the current economic backdrop, supporting SMEs is good for the entire country too.
David Saul is Managing Director at Business Environment