Suppliers and premises
No matter what service or product your business provides it is likely to need raw materials, supplies and equipment.
When choosing your suppliers:
- Identify your needs – everything your business needs to function including: raw materials, production equipment, IT, office supplies, utilities etc.
- Research the alternatives - search online and talk to other businesses. Draw up a list of potential suppliers.
- Contact suppliers - get estimates and find out what extras they can offer your business as an incentive.
- Decide on your preferred suppliers – draw up a list based on everything they can offer your business. Remember that reliability and quality could be more important than price.
- Negotiate prices – use your estimate to negotiate the best price and discounts for bulk buying.
- Agree payment terms - get in writing your ‘trade credit’ period (the number of days you have to pay from date of invoice) and any discounts offered for early payment.
- Develop relationships – be known for ordering and paying on time. It will help if you ever need a favour from your suppliers e.g. quick delivery, postponed payment.
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Below is a video to help you find the right premises.
Finding the right business premises in the right location is a key step in starting or expanding a business. Whether you are looking for a small business office space or a multi-story commercial warehouse, a local commercial estate agent is a good place to start.
Consider the following:
- Identify your needs – consider location, size, storage, deliveries and room for expansion.
- Research – search online for commercial properties in the area you wish to trade.
- Visit the properties – what looks good on paper may be unsuitable in practice. Does the property meet your needs? Can you imagine your business running from the property? Does or could the property reflect the image of your business you wish to portray?
- Negotiate – commercial landlords do not like their properties vacant.
- Terms – if you are renting premises, be sure to get in writing who is responsible for what. This includes: business rates, insurance, utilities, maintenance etc.
- Rent or buy? – which suits your purposes better? See video below.
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Growth Hub providers – help with finding premises.
The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) – provide property guides aimed at small businesses with information about buying, leasing, maintaining or extending business premises.
Property Link - the UK's commercial property listings site.