Your Guide To Starting A Business in North London

Workplace wellness
Estimated read time: 5 mins
Published: 12/05/2023

There are 1 million businesses in London. We were surprised, too! Sure, the competition for starting a business in London is fierce. But there are also massive opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to set up shop in the Big Smoke.    North London is an excellent choice for small businesses and startup founders. With its handy transport links, access to a skilled workforce and thriving business community, the area has a strong and growing economy.    There’s so much to consider in the early stages of establishing any startup in any location. But this guide is about North London businesses. So, here’s some of the top things you need to know when launching in this thriving London sub-region and how to set those wheels in motion.  

What areas does North London cover?

Anywhere within the Greater London area north of the River Thames is considered North London. North London covers 19 boroughs, including: 

  • Barnet
  • Brent
  • Camden
  • Enfield
  • Hackney
  • Haringey
  • Islington
  • Waltham Forest

  Did you know? Camden has the second-highest number of startups in the city and has been dubbed London’s startup capital.* Pancras Square, King’s Cross – home of Google’s HQ

Why start a business in North London?

North London businesses are spoilt for choice when it comes to the huge selection of green spaces, eateries and famous attractions in this well-connected area. Not to mention, the place is awash with business support and networking opportunities.    Here’s why starting a business in North London could be the best option for you:

Growing economy  

North London has a strong and growing economy, with several business parks and commercial hubs, making it an attractive location for businesses to set up shop. There’s also good news about London’s economy in general. According to the latest Office for National Statistics data, economic growth in London has powered ahead of any other part of the UK since the pandemic. 

Access to a large customer base  

North London businesses have access to more than 8 million Londoners. Now, that’s a large pool of potential clients to tap into! With easy access to six international airports and a Eurostar hub, North London is an ideal base to stay connected with partners and do business worldwide. 

Skilled workforce  

A North London base can be handy when it’s time to recruit new staff. You’ll have a better chance of snagging emerging talent with many universities and colleges in the area. People from all over the world come to live, study and work in London. So, you’ll also have access to a larger pool of diverse professionals than in other smaller cities in the UK.  

Affordable, productive staff

North London can be an affordable area for hiring staff. The average salary for full-time jobs in North London is £32,500. While in 2022, the median annual earnings in the UK were £33,000 and £41,866 in London. The Statista data also shows productivity in London was 34.3% higher than the UK average – nice!

Supportive business community  

Several business support networks and initiatives like North London Credit Union and North London Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise help startups and small businesses in North London thrive. There’s also trade shows and exhibitions galore in London, so you’ll have all the networking opportunities these present right on your doorstep.    What’s more, London coworking spaces are ideal for startups and give you the chance to link up easily with other business professionals. For instance, we have regular social and networking events for our members here at Work.Life Camden. 

Work-life balance

North London is known for its vibrant culture and lifestyle, thriving arts and entertainment scene, and numerous parks and green spaces. Working here, you’ll have easy access to the West End for its shopping and theatres. Then there’s lively Covent Garden – who doesn’t love Covent Garden? And not forgetting Camden Town, loaded with quirky shops, pubs and restaurants to enjoy.    This is all great for helping you strike that work-life balance, but it helps you attract and retain staff and clients, too! Camden Lock makes for the perfect midday stroll

8 steps to starting a business in North London

Starting a business can be an exciting but stressful time. To set yourself up for success, following a clear plan is essential. Here are eight steps to consider when starting a business in North London:  

Do your research

Identify the industry you want to start a business in and research the market in North London. Understanding the demand, competition and potential customers before opening your doors will give you a strong footing and increase your chances of continued success.   

Decide on your structure

Choose a legal structure for your business, such as a sole trader, business partnership or UK limited company. Your business structure determines lots of important things like taxes, liability and whether or not you can have employees, so it’s crucial to get it right from the start.   

Create your business plan

Establish your goals and develop a business plan that outlines your business idea, target market, marketing strategy, financial projections, and other relevant information. This will be the blueprint for your business.  

Figure out your finances

Determine how much money you’ll need and where to find the funds. Explore different types of financing available, like angel investors and venture capitalists. Once you have a financial plan, keep your finances in order by opening a business bank account, hiring an accountant and using accounting software to help you prepare for growth.  

Establish your brand

Develop a brand identity that sets you apart from competitors, including a logo, website, social media presence and marketing materials. Buy and register your business domain name(s) and set up your social media accounts to secure the handles early on. This will help you establish and protect your brand online and keep it consistent.  

Register your business

You’ll need to register your business so it’s legally registered in the UK. At the very least, this means registering with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to make sure you’re paying the right taxes at the right time. Depending on your legal structure, the process of registering a business varies. For example, if you’ve gone down the route of a UK limited business, you must also register with Companies House.   Be sure to get professional advice to see if you need to register for a payroll scheme and Value Added Tax. Plus, the types of insurance you’ll need.

Find your North London office space

Consider using serviced North London offices or a coworking space, which are often affordable and flexible – perfect for smaller businesses and startups. Our Camden coworking space, for example, comes fully furnished with breakout areas, a fully-equipped kitchen (by ‘fully-equipped’ we mean free coffee and snacks), meeting rooms and WiFi.    You’ll also share the space with other businesses and like-minded professionals – great for networking, and it keeps costs lower for you. Not to mention, everything from utilities to cleaning services are included, and you have an on-site team to take care of it all for you.   

Go for it!

Starting your North London business is exciting. But it can also be demanding, so having a clear plan with detailed steps before, during and after your launch will help set you up for success.    Market your business by promoting it through various channels, including online and offline advertising, public relations and word-of-mouth. And don’t forget those all-important networking opportunities to help get your name out there.  

Final advice: Call in the professionals

If you’re thinking of starting a business in North London, it can be pretty overwhelming. But don’t worry; you don’t have to do it alone! This guide is a starting point but it’s always a good idea to get advice from pros like lawyers, accountants and business advisors. They’ll help you figure out all the legal and financial stuff so you can focus on your BIG plans.   And when it comes to finding a North London office to launch your business, we’ve got you covered. Contact our membership team – we’d love to show you what our office space in Camden has to offer you!    *Camden Business and Employment Bulletin, February 2023 

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