CENTRAL OR RURAL?: – Consider starting up your start-up outside the city centre.

This article was written by Chris Linn, digital marketing manager with Minicabster, who recently brought you the London Cab Infographic. 

Chris Linn from Minicabster considers the importance of location for a start-up business.


The Telegraph’s Christopher Middleton recently considered the benefits of rural start up locations for budding entrepreneurs and used the particular example of alpaca farming in the West Country. For my part, while I’m not explicitly advocating such a rural location – or, indeed, such a ‘hands-on’ vocation – the idea of moving out of Central London is certainly a pervasive one. Typical business opinion may dictate that a company can never be too central; yet it’s certainly questionable whether such a location is the absolute best choice for a birth of a start-up. Does Central London really offer the business the best chance of surviving its incubation period? Are city-based businesses really more convenient for their customers?

London (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Well, perhaps – but it ultimately depends on your business. While some may need to be based centrally, for most companies it’s no longer the case. For an essential visit, Central London is reachable for a day trip from even the most remote locations. The case for building a start-up outside the city centre is further strengthened by the looming implementation of HS2. And, with access to the internet and a phone number (this, too, can be internet-based, which will remove area codes), most start-ups could feasibly be run from away from city offices. Who would know?

The Minicabster office moved from Central London to North Harrow last year. While not strictly ‘rural’ – being situated on the most Western strand of the Metropolitan line – it’s certainly far-removed from the chaos of Baker Street and Embankment. By occupying office space in a cheaper location – an Microsoft report from last year indicated that Central London is the most expensive place in the world in which to rent office space due to a shortage of new space – MDs might choose to give greater remuneration to their workforces. This can only help to increase motivation, morale and will make it easier to retain valuable individuals in a time when job hopping appears to be at an all time high.

English: Westhall A rural 'small business' centre.
English: Westhall A rural ‘small business’ centre.

That’s not to say it’s recommended for start-ups to go too rural, though; last year’s study by the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) observed that 60% of rural businesses are hindered in some capacity by their broadband speed.

Is it risky to start up outside of Central London? Sure. But, then again, it’s risky to start up anywhere. Wherever you choose to set up shop, careful research is absolutely crucial. If nothing else, in a rural location you’ll probably be able to park your car with greater ease. If not, you can always book a minicab!

“London” – @Doug88888, Flickr (15 May 2010) LINK
“File:Westhall – geograph.org.uk – 364673.jpg” – Stanley Howe, geograph.org.uk/Wikimedia Commons (13 March 2007) LINK
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