Do I Need a Business Premises?

Alan speaks to Ashley Dabson who runs the Property Management Course at Henley Business School to discuss whether getting a premises is worth it or not.

Note: This transcription has been generated with AI and there may be errors present. 


So one of the first things that startup companies that come on our courses to talk about building their business, the first thing they think about is the space they’re going to operate in, where’s my office, where’s the shop, and all of those different bits. And there’s a lot to think about when taking on real estate and property. So I’m Alan Donegan from the pop up business school. And I’m here today with Ashley Dobson, who runs the property management course for Henley business school to talk about property. So when people are starting up ash, what should they be thinking about,

they should be thinking about their core business, they should be thinking about sales, they should be thinking about all things they need for that business. And I have to say, at that stage, real estate is an end product designed to support their business, rather than something they should be worrying about. To begin with, when you are starting a new business, the whole thing you need is flexibility. One of the big problems of real estate is that unless you’re very careful, you lose your agility, by committing to long leases, or whatever. So the key thing you’ve got to remember is that real estate is there to support. And it’s not there as a primary need for your business. In fact, I only buy real estate or only lease real estate, if it’s absolutely critical.

So what are the options, if we’ve got a brand new business, that’s thinking I want to set up I want to get going, if you’re saying don’t go for a lease, don’t take on commercial property, what are the options stay flexible.

And I would really start to think using your own accommodation that you have is number one, using somebody else’s accommodation. And by the way that can be clients accommodation to where you don’t have to pay for it. This is the start with this is right at the beginning. And then beyond that, I would start looking at things like the sort of deals you can get from service offices, from pop up offices, from all of the accommodation that you can get where the terms are highly flexible. Think about it, your business is going to be it’s going to change. Whatever you start with, it’s based on a lot of assumptions, your cash flow forecasts are really actually a figment of your thinking actually, that’s they just I think certain about No, so don’t commit. And you know, only commit when you have some certainty, and you know exactly what you need and exactly what you’re doing. Because almost certainly when you start, what do you think you need and what you actually need maybe two different, they are completely different things when mistakes at that point, can be extremely can kill your business.

So one of the questions we did want to talk about Ashley is the dynamic of real estate and technology and how those two play out four businesses. You mentioned there’s between the two, there is

think of it I mean, the obvious ones are think of technology has really opened another channel to market for retailing, you can start your retail business on the web, you don’t need space for it to start with not all but a lot of retail businesses. And frankly, if you can’t make it work on the web, I hesitate to work on the heist. I doubt it. I mean, there are always exceptions, always exceptions, but I mean coffee bars and things where you do have to consume on the premises. But generally that that’s true. Think of it in terms of offices, what’s technology than their flexible working for one, you know, I mean, at its crudest debt sharing and that sort of thing. I mean, it’s way more than that. But it actually, when you look at it like that, you realise that technology is impacting on real estate, in a very, very significant way. And ask yourself one simple question, what does this mean, not just for my business, but for the space that I’m likely to acquire as

it does. So if you had one last piece of advice for our audience about thinking about property and business, what’s the key thing they need to consider? Before thinking property

for brand new business for a startup? I would think I’m really stressed you should be thinking of your market, your sales, and your likely cash flows before you end up with real estate. Only. Only take real estate if it is absolutely critical to your business. And start with no real estate and justify every bit of it as you go along. It’s that justification. And don’t forget, for a lot of small businesses, your key advantage is agility. Flexibility, it’s being fast on your feet, it’s being able to respond and real estate if you’re not careful can hold you up on that. So be very careful when

And you don’t need an office to come and do a video. You can just come and hang out by the canal. You can come

out and hang by the canal as long as you’re fine that’s why we’re awesome.