If you’ve been looking for a great spot to start a company in the United Kingdom, Birmingham has been emerging as the UK’s best-kept secret. Consistently ranked as one of the best cities to open a new business, the “second-city” of the UK (behind London) created more than 12,000 businesses as of 2018 — a trend that has bested city rivals like Edinburgh and Manchester for the past 5 years. This growth is thanks to a revitalization of the city, with rapidly-developed new buildings, improved infrastructure, and a wealth of retail outlets leading to a bustling city full of a rich, diverse culture.
Of course, there’s the sprawling Bullring shopping mall, the artsy/ hipster scene in Digbeth, the vibrant business culture of Colmore Row, and the ever-fashionable King’s Heath — all of which make Birmingham a great place to work, live, and thrive. It’s no surprise that the city saw an astounding 38 million visitors, showing that Birmingham is a tourist destination for travelers from all parts of the globe.
Now that you’re aware of why you should start a business in Birmingham, you may be wondering how to do so. In this article, we’ll cover a few aspects of starting a business in Birmingham, UK.
Starting a Business in Birmingham, UK
Starting a business in Birmingham is a multi-step process. If you’re a foreign national, starting your business will require a number of steps.
First, you’ll have to apply for the proper visa ahead of time, which is dependent on your nationality. This process can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months, so plan accordingly.
Second, you’ll have to determine your business’ legal structure. While this process is a bit beyond the scope of this article, most businesses fall under the category of “limited company.” (More info about forming other types of businesses in the UK).
Third, you’ll have to incorporate your business as required. For limited companies, you will need to register with Companies House or have an intermediary do so on your business’ behalf.
Fourth, you’ll have to register for taxes, which may require registering for Corporation Tax if your business is incorporated. (More information on what your tax responsibilities are for your UK business)
However, if you’ve made it this far, there are a number of other considerations to take into account. This is especially true with Brexit, which has been forecasted to make conducting business in Birmingham even more difficult.
[Here is a complete and comprehensive guide to starting a business in Birmingham]
Doing Business in Birmingham without a Physical Presence
As you may have guessed, starting a business in Birmingham (and the rest of the UK) has become even more difficult than it has been in the past. Another consideration to take into account is that even with setting up your business, paying the requisite fees and licenses, adhering to business guidelines and such, your business still will not be able to earn any profit until it establishes a physical presence in Birmingham. This requires its own costs and drain on your resources, which may be out of reach for many entrepreneurs and well-intentioned startups.
However, there is an alternative to doing business in Birmingham without the need of officially establishing your business with the UK government and leasing property in city limits: UK phone numbers.
Virtual phone numbers allow you to route calls to and from the United Kingdom, even if your business is located elsewhere in the world. When a virtual phone number is dialed, the call is instantly routed to another phone number seamlessly. This means that if you’re based in, say, Los Angeles, your business can be put into contact with Birmingham-based businesses and clients instantly. UK virtual phone numbers are identical in function and look to “regular” phone numbers, so the process of “localization” is made much easier. There’s no waiting period for visas, costs associated with leasing property or hiring staff, and restrictions on how your business conducts its affairs.
Simply by purchasing a subscription from a qualified service provider, like Global Call Forwarding (https://www.globalcallforwarding.com/), you can instantly gain access to customers. By leveraging virtual technology – the preferred method of doing business in the 21st century — your business can do business in Birmingham no matter where it is located.
Furthermore, UK virtual numbers are available as a number of different types and functionalities. For instance, to gain a professional look and credibility, UK toll free numbers can make calling your business toll free. Similarly, you can use add-ons like “time of day routing” to ensure that calls made to your virtual phone number are answered by an available operator or routed to an appropriate voice mail. Getting in touch with Birmingham has never been easier.
Author’s Bio: As a former resident of the United Kingdom and frequent visitor to Birmingham’s Bull Ring Centre, Tom Senkus shares his knowledge of how to take advantage of the city’s vibrant economy and culture. For more information about his published work and list of services, visit www.tomsenkuswriter.com