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Business & Careers

BUSINESS INSIGHT // Setting Up A Business In The Illawarra

Advice on what you need to consider when opening up or moving your office to the Illawarra

One of the interesting things we’ve learned from the global pandemic was the discovery that a large percentage of the workforce can actually work from home.

It’s become pretty clear that the traditional commute into the office – whether that be in the city or in the Illawarra– can be easily replaced by a commute from the bedroom to the home office [via the kitchen!].

  • Here are some stats for you to chew on.
    As of August 2023 around 37% of Aussies work from home regularly.
  • This is 5 percentage points higher than pre-pandemic levels of people working from home.
  • 40% of workers would like to spend even more time working from home than they currently do.

    Why? Fewer 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 would’ve thought!?

So, what does that mean for the Illawarra?

Well, our proximity to Sydney, and the sunny, laid-back lifestyle we offer means businesses that were based in Sydney and their workforce, are relocating to the Illawarra [or already have!].

Commercial and residential real estate agents have been helping people make the corporate tree change [or sea change] and set up shop locally.

Co-working spaces in the Illawarra are in high demand and local recruitment agencies are busy seeking candidates for lots of new jobs.

So, if you are thinking of moving your business or setting up a business in the Illawarra, 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.

Margherita Colley, Director of Illawarra Recruitment and her amazing team are experts in filling positions for big and small businesses in the Illawarra. They know the local landscape well and understand the unique position of employers in this part of the world.

“The Illawarra business and employment market is unique. It’s very different to Sydney,” Margherita says.

“Speaking to someone who knows this area well will put you on the front foot and minimise risk when you’re setting up locally.”

2 // Find your tribe

There are a number of active business and networking groups in the Illawarra and Margherita 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,” Margherita says.

Here’s some to get you started.

  • Illawarra Women In Business
  • The Illawarra Connection
  • I3net
  • Shellharbour City Business Network

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 Illawarra?

Or will the Illawarra become a satellite office for a paired 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 some local collab spaces work well for keeping the overheads low or giving you a temporary space to base yourself while you consider the next steps.

4 // Find your people

Look, we’re a little biased, we admit, but there are so many super-talented and skilled people in the Illawarra.

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,” Illawarra Recruitment’s Margherita Colley, 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 Illawarra 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.

And having a list of local tradies to help fit out a new office or call if pipes burst or anything like that is also handy. Bookmark this!

The way we see it, the more businesses that are set up in the Illawarra provide awesome local employment opportunities and help 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.

You can also check out our useful Illawarra Business Guide here.

And if you need help with recruiting, or you’re keen to have a chat with Margherita at Illawarra Recruitment and tap into all her awesome knowledge here.

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We’re excited to share the amazing stories and adventures of our local businesses, and it is our sincere hope is that it helps create more awareness for these local businesses, helps keep them top of mind when locals and visitors next need their products or service, and most of all, contributes to creating a strong and thriving local community and economy.

We are so grateful to the local businesses who choose to work with The Fold Media. Without their belief and support in what we do, we wouldn’t be able to keep doing what it is that we love to do. Which is to create and share information about people, places and businesses in our wonderful region. We want to help everyone #LoveLivingLocal and make the most of this wonderful place we are lucky enough to call home.

And to you, our readers? We want to say a big THANK YOU to you. Firstly for taking the time to read this article, but also for supporting local businesses in general, as well as our sponsors who help make The Fold Media possible.

Together, let’s continue to support our local business community, in turn supporting their team, and our wonderful community overall. So let’s all choose local, whenever we possibly can.

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