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London Business Matters

February 2017 Your business 33 Starting a business in UK London has been named eighth in a list of the best locations to start up a small business in the UK, according to research compiled by Informi, a website offering free practical advice and support for small business owners. Ahead of last December’s Small Business Saturday, Informi studied information from 65 UK cities on a number of factors that can be important for smaller company survival, including the density of small and medium-sized businesses in the area, the quality of digital connectivity, and house prices. Brighton came top of the list owing predominantly to its superfast broadband penetration rate, low pollution levels and high number of business start-ups. London only made it to number eight on the list; although it ranks in first place for the number of business start-ups and density of SMEs, high property prices, large number of SME closures and relatively moderate broadband speeds push London lower down the list. Other cities in the top ten include Cambridge, Bristol, Northampton and Leicester. Getting real Virtual Reality –VR– was last year’s biggest tech trend. Its use was ramped up across the board: in marketing and media, video games, the arts, engineering, fitness and exercise, theme parks … and even therapy. All too often however VR’s cousin, Augmented Reality is being ignored, even though the recent Pokemon Go obsession showed how powerful it can be. It has the potential to turn brands into viral phenomena and make as much, if not more money than VR. But Augmented Reality (AR) is much more than just a platform to catch electronic rodents. It allows the development of immersive, emotional and memorable experiences in a way that can’t be written down. Access In comparison with VR it has clear advantages, the first one being that it’s cheaper. The biggest challenge of VR is getting the mass market to pay for a really expensive product to use it. On the other hand, to access AR all you need is a smartphone – which most people already have. Desire Secondly, thanks to the huge popularity of Pokemon Go, the public now not only know what AR is, but they want more of it. There is a desire for similar products that bridge the gap between the real and digital world. Impact Thirdly, it’s transactional. Rather than just offering users a memorable experience, AR presents the opportunity to do something that actually has a direct impact on their business. You can send people to your website, let them purchase directly from your shop, or generate leads by getting their contact details. The familiarity of AR is what currently makes it a more attractive investment. It’s more accessible and it has a huge potential market. Lissa Beach is an account manager at Magnetic-London Creative Services www.magnetic-london.co.uk/ augmented-reality by Lissa Beach The highest mover on the list was Liverpool, which moved up 26 places to 22nd, largely due to a fall in the number of SME closures and a reduction in CO2 emissions. Worthing was the biggest faller, slipping 28 spots from fourth place to 32nd, due mainly to a fall in high-growth start-ups being located there. Darren Nicholls, product manager for Informi said: “We are on course to see a record number of start-ups in the UK during 2016, demonstrating that the entrepreneurial spirit is as strong as it has ever been. New businesses can be found across every region and industry, bringing new jobs and prosperity and growth to their local economies. “It is encouraging to see that London is not the only environment where small businesses have the opportunity to thrive. However, for every success story there are still far too many that struggle to get off the ground. SME owners should ensure they take every opportunity to seek out information and support that will help them get the fundamental ingredients of business in place to give their firm every chance of prospering.” www.informi.co.uk Best cities to start a business in the UK 2016 Brighton London Derby Cambridge Aberdeen Portsmouth Leicester Leeds Manchester Bristol Burnley York Northampton Southampton Basildon Reading Coventry Blackburn Aldershot Bournemouth


London Business Matters
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