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Can Businesses Succeed Out of London? – Thoughts from Buttercrumble 

Our most recent Disruptive Minds webinar discussed the oversaturation of businesses in London, and how we can do more to encourage people to open up businesses in other regions. 

Taskforce members, Abigail and Chloe Baldwin, founders of creative consultancy business, Buttercrumble, provides us with their thoughts on feelings on this subject, and tell us how their experience with running a business outside of London:

Whenever we take Buttercrumble abroad, strangers ask “where are you based?” When we respond with “the UK”, most people assume we’re based in London. If we answer with “Leeds”, we sometimes get blank faces! Yet, is the Capital the be-all and end-all?

It shouldn’t be! For instance, the Capital of Australia is Canberra. This city was chosen as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne (to settle a debate). This neutral hub allows the rest of the country to dazzle.

Specifically, within the creative industries, there seems to be a bias toward London-based organisations. After all, historically it has been the global epicentre for art, design, theatre, fashion and music! Surely anyone who’s anyone is based there? Not necessarily!

Consider your neighbours

It is a misconception that London is the base for all large headquarters. There are many household names based all over the UK. For instance, Channel 4 has moved its operations to Leeds to join the likes of Asda and Jet2. Newcastle is home to Tommee Tippee and Greggs. There are credible opportunities wherever you go.

Celebrate digital tools

COVID-19 has accelerated remote working, and many have moved away from dense cities. The masses have realised that location doesn’t always matter. For us, designs can be produced digitally, and feedback can be exchanged over the power of the internet. This realisation has opened doors and is evident from our close partnerships with US clients. Please don’t let location be a barrier to collaboration. Use social media, video calls and email to your advantage. 

Make connections wherever you go

To strengthen our visibility – at home and abroad – we have adopted a satellite base in London. This mix of studio and remote working allows us to distribute more advantages and creativity to our network. It allows us to be agile and soak up influences from various locations, leading to more inspiring outcomes.

Yorkshire (specifically Leeds) will always be our home base, and we will continue to nurture our lovely relationships here. Moreover, we can pass learning along to any other locations we visit. When we visit London, we act as proud advocates for the North and urge others to do the same for their homes.

Our top recommendation is to think global. Then, the differences between cities within the UK are minuscule. We can all support one another as a nation and positively impact the rest of the world.

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The overrepresentation of SMEs in London is a topical debate considered by the Disruptive Minds initiative — a programme we are delighted to be involved with. It’s generously facilitated by Vodafone Business and the Great British Entrepreneur Awards who are keen to support SMEs across the UK.

Read more about this topic here and watch the full conversation.