BUSINESS INSIGHT // Setting Up A Business In The Southern Highlands
Advice on what you need to consider when opening up or moving your office to the Southern Highlands.
One of the interesting impacts of the global pandemic has been the discovery that a large percentage of the workforce can actually work from home.
Unless you’re an essential worker or on the frontline (a big thank you to those guys at the moment – we love you!!), it’s become pretty clear the traditional commute into the office – whether that be in the city or in the Highlands – can be easily replaced by a commute from the bedroom to the home office (via the kitchen!).
Here’s some stats for you to chew on. Prior to COVID, 4.1 million people regularly worked from home. After COVID (and let’s cross those fingers and toes that there IS an after COVID), that number is expected to double with 70% of businesses looking to implement long-term working from home policies. Why? Less people in the office means less office space which means less overheads. And turns out working from home and not dealing with a daily commute means we’re a helluvalot more productive! Who’d have thunk it?
So, what does that mean for the Southern Highlands?
Well, our proximity to Sydney and Canberra, and the lifestyle we offer means businesses based in Sydney so their work force could travel into the office easily, are looking at moving their office to the Highlands (or already have!).
Commercial and residential real estate agents are receiving calls from people wanting to make the corporate tree change and set up shop locally. Collab spaces in the Highlands are in high demand and local recruitment agencies are being contacted about the job market and the local talent pool.
So, if you are thinking of moving your business or setting up a business in the Highlands, what do you need to consider? Who should you speak to? And what do you need to know?
1 // Find your guru
Seek out and speak to an expert and local biz specialist.
Lynn Watson, Principal of Highland Recruitment and her amazing team, have filled hundreds of positions for big and small businesses and organisation in the Southern Highlands for well over ten years. You get to know the local business landscape pretty well doing that!
“The Southern Highlands business and employment market is unique. It’s very different to Sydney,” Lynn says.
“Speaking to someone who has lived and breathed that for a number of years will put you on the front foot and minimise risk when you’re setting up locally.”
Lynn Watson, Principal of Highland Recruitment.
2 // Find your tribe
There are a number of active business and networking groups in the Southern Highlands and Lynn recommends getting in touch and joining up
“Joining these organisations will help you connect with other local business owners. Tapping into that network and local knowledge is vital,” Lynn says.
Here’s some to get you started.
- Moss Vale and Rural Chamber of Commerce
- Southern Highlands Food and Wine Association
- Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Business Women’s Network Southern Highlands
- Women in Business Southern Highlands
Thanks to COVID, a lot of catch-ups are online at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still connect.
3 // Find your space
The type of space you look for will depend on what you’re going to use the space for. Are you moving ‘head office’ from Sydney (or anywhere else) to the Highlands? Or will the Highlands become a satellite office for a pared back city office? Will all your team work from home but you need a space to catch up regularly or touch base or hot desk?
Many local real estate agencies are well across commercial property and leasing opportunities, with plenty of options available to move right into.
And there are some local collab spaces that work well for keeping the overheads low, or giving you a temporary space to base yourself while you consider next steps (because let’s face it, everything is so uncertain at the moment, right?). Here’s some insight on the benefits of co-working spaces if you’re thinking about heading down that road.
The Collab Highlands space at The Mill in Bowral
4 // Find your people
Look, we’re a little biased we admit, but there are so many super-talented and skilled people in the Highlands. We regularly chat to people who have incredible knowledge, experience or unique skills.
So, employing locals and tapping into that is a smart move. And outsourcing your recruitment to a local company is even smarter!
“We have a huge database of potential terrific local candidates which is great,” Highland Recruitment’s Lynn Watson, says.
"So we know where the good people are, and can help a business get on the front foot with recruiting and finding the right person for them!"
And reading this will help! Why Outsourcing Recruitment Is A Smart Move For A Small Biz.
5 // Find your suppliers
Having a team of awesome suppliers you can rely on, and experts in their field around you is integral to business success, right? There are loads of companies in the Highlands that provide products and professional support to keep your business ticking over.
They’ll totally have your back. Here’s a list of local suppliers to get you started.
- Printing and Signwriting
- Marketing and Graphic Design
- Accountants and Financial Services
- Legal Services
- Recruitment Agencies
- IT and Technology
- Removalists and Storage
The way we see it, the more businesses that set up in the Highlands provides awesome local employment opportunities and helps keep other supporting businesses doors open, so bring it on, we say!
Oh, and once you have set up your office, don’t forget to claim your free biz listing on The Fold’s Directory here.
If you need help with recruiting, or you're keen to have a chat to Lynn and tap into all her awesome knowledge, you can find the Highland Recruitment office at The Acre in Bowral, on the corners of Bong Bong Street and Banyette Street.
This blog features friends and advertisers of The Fold Southern Highlands and is fully endorsed by The Fold Southern Highlands. We strongly believe in the businesses and all the information we share with you on The Fold and we're excited to share the amazing stories and adventures of our local businesses. We want to say a BIG thank you to you for supporting our sponsors who help make The Fold possible.