Location, location, location, the old saying goes. But is that really the case anymore? 

When we take into account the effects of COVID-19, remote working, and the steady rise of e-commerce, a lot of business owners are beginning to wonder just how important location is. 

In an attempt to answer this question, we’ll be covering these topics:

  • When does location matter?
  • Insurance
  • Business rates
  • Marketing
  • When does location not matter?
  • The effect on talent acquisition

When does location matter?

We should start with an obvious point – some businesses need a physical location. For example, any kind of hospitality industry like bars, restaurants, or hotels will always need a location.

Whether you need a physical location for the reasons above, or you choose to have one, it’s crucial that you consider these factors:

  • Insurance
  • Business rates
  • Marketing

Remember, when it comes to a physical location, you should still have a dedicated website to complement your physical storefront or office. 

Insurance

Owning or renting a physical space for your business means you’ll probably want to invest in some insurance to protect you from any damages that happen to, or on, your property. 

If you do use property for your business, you might want to consider one of these insurance policies: 

  • Public liability insurance – if your business comes into contact with members of the public.
  • Business buildings insurance – covers the cost of repairing damage to the structure of your property
  • Business contents insurance – protect the contents of your business premises, your business equipment, and tools.
  • Stock insurance – If you hold any stock, whether on your premises or in storage.
  • Business interruption insurance – If your business is disrupted by material damage caused by an event such as a flood or fire.

Business rates

Business rates are property taxes, paid on non-domestic properties like offices, shops, pubs, and warehouses. Basically, anything property that’s not somebody’s house.

Each building’s business rate is set annually, every April, but payments are made every month. They are used by local authorities to help fund local services.

Though it differs slightly in each region of the UK. The process for calculating involves a lot of the same steps. 

It’s a simple calculation using these three figures:

  • Property valuation
  • Multipliers
  • Discounts

When you know all these figures, you can calculate your annual business rate like this:

(Rateable value x multiplier) – relief discount = annual business rate

Property valuation

Business rates depend on the value of the property in question. In England, Scotland, and Wales, this is called ‘rateable value’. In Northern Ireland, it’s called Net Annual Value (NAV). The value is determined by assessors based on the rental value of the property on the open market. 

Multipliers

The next step requires different multipliers. It’s a small figure (usually around 50 pence), but will be slightly higher or lower, depending on the size of your business. Multiply this figure by your property value to get your basic business rate. 

In Scotland, the multiplier is called ‘poundage’, but it means the same thing. 

In Northern Ireland, the multiplier is found by adding the non-domestic regional rate and the non-domestic district rate. 

Discounts

Finally, you can apply for discounts on your business rate. These are called ‘reliefs’. There are a lot of different reliefs available for each region of the UK. Some common examples of business rate relief include:

  • Small business rate relief
  • Rural rate relief
  • Charitable rate relief
  • Enterprise zone relief
  • Hardship relief
  • Retail discount
  • Local newspaper relief
  • Exempted buildings and empty buildings relief
  • Transitional relief

For more information about business rate relief check out the HMRC website. Or, for more information about business rates in general, check out Countingup’s article, ‘What are business rates?

Marketing

Access to your store

At the very basic level, the location of your business will affect the public’s access to your store. For marketing purposes, this will have a huge effect on:

  • Your target audience – how many people in your area will actually make use of your business?
  • Local competition – how many other similar businesses already exist in your area?
  • Foot traffic – how many people will see your business on their everyday walking routes?

Geolocation advertising

Geolocation advertising is a form of marketing that lets you target potential customers based on location. You can use it to send customers special offers, ads, or even just nudging messages.

There are three different ways you can advertise through geolocation::

  • Geotargeting 
  • Geofencing
  • Beacons

Geotargeting

Geotargeting lets you identify where IP addresses are logged in from, so you can tailor adverts and messages depending on where they are.

For example, you might notice this when you take a long flight to a new country or region. When you connect to the local Wi-fi, you’ll normally get a message like, “Welcome to (wherever you are)”. 

Geofencing

Geofencing detects devices using their GPS, so you can target users based on their precise location.

The idea is to build a virtual perimeter around certain geographical locations (like a fence) and trigger automated messages to users when they enter or exit that perimeter. 

So that everybody passing through will be aware of your location and possibly receive incentives for visiting.

It’s great for attracting foot traffic and reaching new demographics that may never have heard of you before. It’s also perfect if your store is a little out of the way or not immediately visible.

Beacons

These are the smallest in scope but they’re accurate in terms of targeted marketing. Beacons are small devices that connect to any nearby devices via Bluetooth. 

These are mainly for use within businesses. As soon as a customer walks through your door, they can connect and receive relevant information about your business.

When does location not matter?

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that not every business needs a physical location in order to succeed. 

In fact, many businesses found themselves doing just as well without the need for all those extra expenses like rent, insurance, and business rates. It’s easier than ever before to build and maintain a professional website and operate entirely online. 

The move to online business is referred to as e-commerce, and it’s made possible with content management system (CMS) software. CMS software, or website builders, are used to create and manage e-commerce websites. 

Sites like Squarespace, WordPress.com, WordPress.org, and Wix are some popular examples of website builders. If you’d like an in-depth comparison of the most popular website builders, check out our article. 

The effect on talent acquisition  

Remote working has had a huge impact on talent acquisition. Beforehand, businesses with physical locations were limited in their search for staff. They could either recruit from their local area or ask applicants to relocate. 

Now though, businesses can recruit from all over the world, allowing them to cast a wider net than ever before and find the best people for the job. 

In larger cities like London, where wages are generally higher due to the higher cost of living, this is a huge bonus. London based businesses can now recruit the ideal candidate without having to pay them a padded salary. 

Manage your finances with a simple app

While location is important for some businesses, proper financial management is necessary for everybody. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.