It’s the stuff of many a dream- setting up your own independent shop or café, filled with brightly coloured accessories and brimming with customers. But sadly, for many it’s a dream that’s short lived and can take years to recover from- we’ve all heard the stories of quaint coffee shops that close down within a year, regardless of how great their brew and pastries. Often victim to large chains and franchises, small business owners have a lot of hard work to do if they want to see lasting success.

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when setting up on your own, but arguably the most important is finding the right premises. Choosing a commercial property that’s not only fit for purpose but in the right location can mean the difference between becoming a community hub and a high street flop. Estate agent in Belgravia, Best Gapp have put together some questions you’ll need to ask yourself before signing on the dotted line:

  • What’s the area like? It’s often said that if something seems too good to be true it usually is, and this is usually the case when it comes to commercial property. If you don’t already know the area well take time to do some research- talk to other shop keepers, visit during the evenings and at night, check out crime rates. Setting up shop in a less than harmonious area can make you out of bounds for cautious shoppers and may result in major costs.
  • Who are my neighbours? Market research is essential when setting up any new business, and taking the time to check out the competition is a must. Unless you’re offering something incredible, it will be almost impossible to compete with a well-established local business with a loyal customer base. If you can find other shop owners who complement what you want to do, even better.
  • How well is everyone else doing? Sometimes a little private investigating comes in handy. Ask around the local area, talk to other shop owners and ask them if they think they chose the right place to build their business. If it’s a struggle for them, you may well find yourself in the same situation.
  • How easy is it to find? This is the big one. It’s pointless having a great shop full of wonderful and unusual things if nobody can find you. A regular footfall and clear signage will make a huge difference if you’re serious about running a successful business- if people can’t see you’re there, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
  • What are the business rates? Another really important question. Every year thousands of businesses fold because they simply can’t afford to keep up with the rates. Some councils charge much more than others, so do your research thoroughly and be realistic in your business planning.
  • How easy is it to park? Lack of parking and accessibility can be a major bugbear for shoppers, so check out local facilities before you commit.

These are just a few of the things you’ll need to consider when you’re buying a commercial property. Bow estate agent, Peach Properties says “Choosing the right commercial premises is a key factor when it comes to setting up a small business. You’ll need to think about everything from insurance costs to how easy it is for delivery drivers to load and unload if you want a place that’s going to work for you.”

As with all big decisions in life, it pays to do your research and think before you make a commitment. If you want to have a successful business and not become just another statistic spend some time doing your research first.


  1. avatar
    Richard Towey