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How can you use your location to start a business or grow your existing one?

3 minute read

Whether you’re starting a new business venture or looking for ways to grow your existing one, location is one of the key things you should be thinking about. Even if you don’t have a physical office space or retail store you can still use your location to get the most out of your local customers. From choosing the best place to start your business to fulfilling local demand and showing online customers where you are based, we explore how you can utilise your location.

Where’s the best place to start a new business?

A recent analysis of over 150,000 Google search terms and 50,000 national business listings revealed the top locations where customers are demanding local services and where their needs aren’t being met. Spanning over 45 of the largest cities in England, the research takes a look at 10 key trades showing where the opportunities are for your business and where you can best attract online interest in your trade, whether you’re setting up your own hairdressers or starting out as a handyman, in a interactive map. 

Oxford tops the list when it comes to being the best town in the UK to set up a business:

The best town to set up a business in the UK – 2017:

  1. Oxford
  2. Cambridge
  3. Durham
  4. Salisbury
  5. Portsmouth
  6. Winchester
  7. Hereford
  8. Norwich
  9. Salford
  10. Chester

However, it is Cambridge who are calling out for cafes and Durham residents seeking more personal trainers.

This doesn’t mean that these are the only cites where keen entrepreneurs should start establishing new businesses, untapped potential exists all over the country.

What does this mean for small businesses?

There are gaps in the market:

If you can identify there is a need for your products or services within your proximity the demand for your business could already be there. For example, if the local hairdressers has a two-week waiting period and the closest alternative is a bus journey away, a new hairdressing business venture could prove very popular with local customers straight away.

Customers still want local businesses:

Don’t be daunted by bigger, more corporate businesses; it’s not uncommon for smaller local businesses to be more trustworthy and you could reap the rewards of word-of-mouth recommendations quickly. According to a small business survey 49% of customers prefer to support small businesses over large ones when possible. Many customers enjoy finding unique products through local businesses and choose businesses that offer services close to home to avoid unnecessary travel costs.

Businesses need to be easily found:

Local customers need to be able to find your business online. The internet has had an enormous effect on how customers find local products and services and has presented new opportunities for businesses to reach customers within their local area. Make sure your business appears in location searches, for example [hairdresser near me], by submitting your business details on Google Maps, Apple Maps and Bing Maps. After all, with 94%¹ of UK internet users now searching online to find local business you need to make sure you’re visible.

You can maximise your business by being online:

Even if you only want to target local customers you can still maximise your business by being online. With 84% of people trusting online reviews as much as a personal recommendation even just showcasing what your regular customers say about you can improve your sales. If you offer a service, you could share pictures of your work with a gallery on your website to encourage and reassure new customers. Who knows, you might even be able to grow your business outside of your local area in the future.

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Don’t be afraid to start a new venture:

With customers still seeking small businesses and a demand for more trades in local areas, now is a great time to start a new business venture. If you have a business idea, why not start to draw up a business plan or conduct some market research? You can find some more things to consider in our blog post here. If you have already started a business, you could look to explore ways you could grow, perhaps your local area is calling out for a service that fits naturally with what you already offer. Or maybe you could research your local area in more detail and find if there are any opportunities to target a new market that you haven’t looked at before.

Location can be an influencing factor for start-ups as well as businesses looking to grow, and how you utilise where your customers are based will be different for each business. You may find that people in your local area are crying out for a handyman and you could fulfil the demand as a part of your maintenance business, or you could look to target local customers with a special discount to get your new business off the ground.

¹The Consumer Barometer Survey / Google 2016

Zoe works as a Content Marketing Executive at the UK Domain. Previously working in advertising and the sporting industry, Zoe has over four years experience in marketing.

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