By: The Social Shop Founding Director www.thesocialshop.co.uk
After noticing a gap in the market for a social media marketing agency for SME’s, I launched The Social Shop late in 2013 after spending 8 years working my way up recruiting for the marketing and advertising agency sector.
Knowing I had 3 month’s wages in the bank to support me whilst I got the company off the ground, my first aim was to make sure I could cover my mortgage. I did what I knew best and used LinkedIn as a new business platform; luckily my first client came in the shape of a well-known restaurant in Camden.
As one client turned into two, then five and then ten, I had to make a decision on an office. My overheads had to increase and in order to be taken seriously, I needed an office space. I moved into a space that my first client owned which was helpful as I didn’t have a clue where to find available office spaces! This first space in Camden was great as I was working alone. However, as I hired my first employee and my client base was growing, I needed to move somewhere neutral so all of our clients were treated equally.
I was paying a lot for this space but had nothing else to compare it to, the 3 month notice period also didn’t seem a problem when I signed up. I quickly realised that as my cash-flow was forever up and down, being tied down to a contract with anyone was a commitment and I couldn’t stick to it for too much longer. Therefore, we went from our own office space to a co-working incubator in Camden by a start-up called ‘Work.Life’. https://work.life/
‘Work.life’ was great; We were one of the first businesses to move into their first office. We were suddenly in a creative working environment with others in similar industries which was quite motivating. In addition, this space came with free tea, coffee and biscuits! Those that know me know I like to eat a lot of biscuits and drink a lot of tea, so the saving alone was fantastic!
We had access to free talks, events and were networking with new companies on a daily basis. However, I slowly realised the flexible work space in London was becoming hugely popular and there were other options that were not only more affordable, but more accessible than Camden. We were only there for 6 months but it supported 5 of us including interns. We met lots of SME’s that were in the same situation as us and the flexibility of being able to cancel our contract with 4 weeks’ notice was great.
We were very close to moving into Work.Life’s second office, a new space in London Fields, Hackney, as this was closer to where I lived. However, the desk cost was the same and contract restrictions were the same which wasn’t beneficial.
Whilst I was looking for a new flexible working space, I attended a networking event at a small incubator in Old Street which had a big personality; It was called ‘Launch 22’ based in Corsham Street. http://www.launch22.co.uk/
This place was just as cool, albeit with less capacity and free biscuits. However, it was slightly more affordable and in the heart of Tech City; A location that adds a huge amount of value to our credibility. Launch22 is a registered charity with 2 branches in Liverpool and London. Since joining we have become part of the family, a group of small businesses looking to grow with free mentorship and support from the large network of people associated with the incubator. The best thing about Launch22 for us is that we can cancel our monthly rolling contract anytime with 1 weeks’ notice. Being a small company, things can change for us on a monthly basis so this level of flexibility being in the heart of the city is awesome!
I have seen the pop up of many new but more expensive flexible workspaces around me over the past few years. I now understand there are office brokers like Loc8 Commercial, who are the best people to speak to about finding a suitable office space for your business. Speaking to office brokers reduces the timeframe and personal stress of finding somewhere new. Loc8 provide a free and impartial overview of the market and is very helpful in the way that they can give us new options that we may not have known previously. Add to the fact they gave us an insight into the workspace industry then it’s a win win.
If we were currently looking to move offices we would want to view the following 3 options from looking at Loc8’s website:
Serviced Office to let: Curtain Road, London
Serviced Office to let: Westland Place, London
Serviced Office to let: White Lion Street,