Thinking of Starting Up or Expanding?
W hereitsatlondon.com aim to become a portal for a business owner to get access to information and services that are relevant without having to seek it out and spend ages researching. It will give you the information you will need in a manner that will not be tedious. Here is how we hope to achieve this...

In our quest to find out what exactly is out there for Londoners who are employed, self employed or thinking of becoming self employed, we embarked on a mission to ask the questions: what is out there, where is it available, who is offering it, and how do we access it?

When embarking on the road to setting up, consolidating, or even expanding, the greatest drain on time and resources before the actual process of making money is in research. Knowing your market and knowing your business. This is the first step to writing a business plan.

The changes in technology and the ability to get the word out there about your business through use of social media has become a cornerstone of good business practice, especially for small businesses with tiny marketing budgets.

Trying to get one’s voice heard in a noisy room is impossible if you’re trying to communicate with someone on the other side. It’s far easier to talk to a person stood next to you.

The way forward is to start small and deal with those in your immediate vicinity, and in time one will talk to another and another and so on.

Councils have resources, they have departments that deal with all aspects of our lives; they’re huge organisations with huge amounts of money to spend. The issue has always been how best to spend the money that they have in the most effective manner possible.

This is however not an easy undertaking, it’s even more difficult given the nature and scale of the cuts that they are facing. The squeeze on budgets across all aspects of government, business and household spending is a reality not unknown to everyone in society.

We set out by first thinking about how to start up a business. We are a startup business and our own questions began to come to the fore. We asked the questions we need to know and then we set about a process of passing that information on.

It’s not scientific, nor is it the textbook way of approaching a startup situation. It’s arguable that organisations such as banks, councils or investors will look at them and think this is amateurish… our point is simple. Everyone has to start somewhere, the questions if you have them should be asked, from then on it’s what you do with the information once you receive it.

We set out on February 2014 by emailing every London council the same questions. We accessed the contacts via their respective websites. Given the different ways in which they all present their information we have tried to drill down the questions in order to facilitate a response that is relevant (in our opinion) to a small business or entrepreneur trying to access assistance in starting up or expanding.

We have left the councils to answer in their way and their replies are published with links to the relevant pages for you to explore.

The questions we set out are as follows, the answers are as we received them. If it helps you in making a business decision we have achieved our aim. Starting out in business is a life changing decision. Such a decision should be based on relevant information being at your disposal. We wish you well.

You may have noticed that not all councils have answered, as of yet, we will publish their answers as soon as we receive them. Links to the answers and onward links to resources are at the bottom of this article.

Questions

1. What is your organisation doing to promote small business and enterprise in your borough?

2. Where can entrepreneurs access frontline services to business advice, guidance and support immediately?

3. Have you got a policy for encouraging start ups? If so, please elaborate?

4. Are there any empty retail spaces that could be accessed to provide discounted market testing for start ups?

5. Do you have a rent or rate free period to attract new business to your local high streets?

We will make this information available on our platform for our visitors/readers to access and request you provide this information as soon as possible. Please see what is available on a council by council basis in our dedicated boroughs section

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