The second city has always been synonymous with work. Birmingham, since the days of the industrial revolution, has been the engine room of Britain. Though it has been traditionally thought of as an engineering heavy area, in the many decades since the industrial revolution, it has become much more diverse in terms of the business sectors that have found a home in the city.
So is Birmingham a good place to start a business? Well, we believe it is may well be the best place to start a business in the country! It comes with many advantages that set it apart from not only the other big cities in the UK, but also allow it to compete with business-centric cities across Europe and the rest of the world.
Here are a few points you should take under consideration when deciding where to set up your business:
As we mentioned above, Birmingham has a strong history of starting businesses. A lot of businesses and products got their start in the city, and have gone on to global success. It’s unique geography has always helped - situated in the middle of the country, Birmingham is a major gateway between the North and the South. That means it has a large number of major roads and waterways running through it, as well as a major airport in Birmingham International. It is therefore ideally situated for both generating growth and allowing for expansion. So while history shouldn’t be the only factory in a decision on where to open a business, the city shows no signs of slowing down.
Again, thanks to it’s unique location, Birmingham has grown into one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the UK. People from all over the world have ended up here, so the city boasts large Asian and African populations. Having access to such a vast array of people is always going to advantageous to a business, as you are dealing with a large variety of people, instead of dealing solely with one ethnicity.
London, Birmingham’s closest and most obvious competitor, has one distinct disadvantage - it’s huge. While the London Underground system has brought the city closer together, it is still very thinly spread. Birmingham, on the other hand, is rather compact by comparison.
Most of the businesses in the city are concentrated in the very centre of the city, and can be walked to and from with ease. There are a few satellite areas like the Jewellry Quarter, but even these are no more than a 10 minute walk away. This tight circle of businesses means that people are less spread out, leading to a higher concentration of potential customers.
Cheaper than most other cities
London is notoriously expensive, for everything from stock and rent to cost of living. And while Birmingham doesn’t represent a huge drop off, as it is still a busy city, it is significantly cheaper than London. When you’re starting a business, you want to keep prices to a minimum - any expensive overheads at the start can cripple progress. You can always expand into London and the rest of the UK later, but it is more important to establish yourself, whilst making profit, first.
Popular with start ups already
Don’t take our word for it - last year, Birmingham was voted as the best place in the UK for businesses to invest in, and the second best place in Europe, just behind Barcelona. The above factors are already apparent to businesses, both established and new alike, who are moving in in droves. More money and interest is bound to follow, meaning Birmingham isn’t a bubble that is about to burst. This boom also comes with the fringe benefit of meaning there are plenty of start-ups already. These companies are always looking to establish relationships for the future and to build a community that allows them to take on the big corporations. So it makes sense to get started now, so you can be part of that ascent.
For these, and plenty more reasons, Birmingham is about as perfect as a city for start up businesses as you are likely to find anywhere.
But you still shouldn’t make the decision lightly - starting a business anywhere is a serious decision and you need to do a lot of research before investing any money. There are literally dozens of things and scenarios you’ll need to consider - from the type of company, to taxation and health & safety. You may be an expert in your field and very passionate about your business/product idea, but you could still be naive when it comes to the bigger business picture. Getting advice from business people and accountants who work with businesses on a daily basis can provide you with a healthy reality check.
We implore you to read up on everything and get professional advice from business advisors and accountants you can before taking the plunge. Check out this website for helpful tips from the government.