For an entrepreneurial endeavour, Birmingham is just the right place. If you’re thinking of starting a business but are considering which city outside of London is best, Birmingham may be on your list. It was named the top city outside of the capital to start a new business and was listed as a hotspot for start-ups in 2019. Many business owners even say that Birmingham is better value than London, which is just one of the reasons why so many start-ups opened in the city, so if costs are your main obstacle, that’s a good factor to consider.
So, if this is enough to convince you to open your business in Birmingham, there are a few elements you need to know to ensure success both now and in the future. Here’s a guide on what you should know when starting a business in Birmingham.
The talent pool is big and diverse
Looking for the right talent to help build your team of employees is important, and in Birmingham, there is certainly no shortage of potential candidates. There are three universities for you to tap into, so if your start-up is looking for people with fresh ideas and knowledge of the latest technology, this is the place to find them. The main challenge may be getting to them before other companies can scoop them up.
Access to talent is an important consideration when opening a start-up business. Invest in a strong team of professionals to back your brand and work together to attain company growth. You won’t run out of professional talent with graduates from Aston University, University of Birmingham, Newman University, and Birmingham City University. The excellent transport system also links to the city, allowing you to easily hire employees.
The networking opportunities are endless
Running a small business means having to hustle to make a name for yourself. The best way to do that is through networking, especially when first starting. Adding networking to your marketing strategy helps to widen your business contacts, keeps you up to date with how the local business world is operating and can help bring in more customers or even help find partners. You can join one of the Birmingham-based business networking clubs or attend one of the many networking events that are hosted on a regular basis.
Digital marketing efforts are important
In addition to networking, your start-up needs solid digital marketing efforts to help build up your customer base. The most critical element of any digital marketing plan is having a quality website for people to get information from and make purchases. Your website should factor into your marketing efforts rather than being overlooked or an afterthought. It should be well-designed and make the customer’s purchasing journey simple, including a clear call to action. Taking on the website build is a huge task, so if you don’t have the bandwidth or the right skills, it may be better to work with a web design and development agency.
There are ‘alternative funding’ options
For many start-ups, the traditional route of securing funding through high street banks isn’t realistic due to the bank overdrafts and loan facilities. Fortunately, there are some alternative funding options emerging – perfect for small businesses and start-ups – which include:
- Equity-based crowdfunding
- Reward-based crowdfunding
- Peer-to-peer lending
- Pension-led funding
- Invoice trading
- Private investing
Don’t ignore offline marketing strategies
Even with the digital technology, offline marketing strategies still play a crucial role in promoting your brand. Take a look at the following examples of offline marketing strategies you can consider for your business:
- Branded merchandise: Print your company logo on your preferred branded items, such as custom lanyards, mugs, t-shirts, pens, and bags. Branded merchandise can be used as freebies, contest prizes, event giveaways, and tokens in corporate events, trade fairs, and other marketing activities. Also, you can capture your prospects’ attention using branded items and post photos on your social media pages for online brand exposure.
- Direct mail marketing: You can broaden your customer reach by implementing direct mail marketing, in which you can directly send mailers to your target audience without buying a mailing list. All you need is a good mailer design and content, such as postcards.
Community tie-ups: Partner with other local businesses for win-win outcomes. For instance, you can partner with a local marketing agency if you’re into printing services.
There are also some government initiatives to look into, including the Start-Up Loan Company, where each person can apply for up to £25,000. A number of grants also exist to help new businesses get off the ground.