Businesses rejecting traditional leases says BCA.
The economic climate dictates that every business must be vigilant and keep an eye on profitability, says JENNIFER BROOKE, executive director of the Business Centre Association.
PROPERTY is a critical issue, when insufficient space can strangle a business's growth and unused space drains the lifeblood.
The result is that businesses are increasingly rejecting traditional leases and moving to flexible space alternatives. Flexible managed space and serviced offices are without doubt a financially viable solution for business. BCA members throughout the country, and particularly in the North East, offer a wide range of space and price options, from workshops and light industrial space to workstations and offices, which can be tailored to the client's needs. Many also offer a menu of support services such as IT, telephony, general business and secretarial support, which once again can be tailored to specific requirements.
Dragons' Den panelist and entrepreneur James Caan is a good example. He has moved one of his businesses into serviced offices, reducing fixed costs and ensuring flexibility for the future. This decision was based on hard business economics, and I believe challenges other businesses to think outside the box.
The most important benefit provided by managed space and business centres is flexibility. Change is inevitable and SMEs particularly need to be in a position to respond quickly to shifts in their market. Our members provide SMEs with the space flexibility they need, as well as enabling them to avoid the huge strain and financial commitment of a long-term lease.
BCA members offer a wide range of service options - from virtual offices and hot desking to office suites for corporate clients, and everything in between. In practical terms, this allows a small business to start up and grow in the knowledge that there is a flexible space solution for them, thus enabling the client to concentrate on their core business.
A modern, well presented business centre relieves clients of the financial and cost burden of fitting out and maintaining the space, which would rest with them in a traditional commercial lease. In some cases, business centres are entirely unbranded, which may also be important to some clients.
In addition to space, BCA members offer the support and infrastructure small businesses need in order to expand, by providing a professional working environment for staff, networking and business development opportunities, as well as creating a sound image for clients.
The entrepreneur has to keep a myriad of balls in the air at one time, and BCA members make it their business to relieve some of that pressure by providing the client with the space, support services and physical environments that will aid their business growth. In addition to a wide range of administrative, IT and secretarial support, many of our members have established business networking opportunities and have an informal cafe or meeting space, so that business centre customers can share their experiences, make contacts, find suppliers and market themselves to potential clients in many instances without leaving the business centre.
Businesses seeking flexible space options use the BCA as a source of information and advice when considering flexible managed space. Our website (www.bca.uk.com) provides detailed information on all our member locations and the services offered. Last year we introduced a code of conduct and best practice, designed to give clients the assurance of sound business ethics and practices as well as a commitment by BCA members to reduce carbon emissions and conserve energy.