Finding the Perfect Business Location
Location, Location, Location! Many will say your business location is the most important aspect of starting a small business. A good location can attract a large number of walk-by traffic while a bad location can hide you away from potential customers. Below you will find tips to finding the perfect location for your business. If you are starting a business that needs a storefront such as a retail store you can skip down to step #3.
How to Get Started
#1 Determine if you can Start your Business from Home
Starting a small business from home can save lots of money. Many entrepreneurs who start a small business such as a party planner or concierge service don’t need a location, they can work from home. Just be sure zoning laws in your area doesn’t restrict home-based businesses. If you are starting a business that needs a storefront such as a restaurant or retail store, a location is essential. Read work from home tips.
#2 Consider Business Incubators
If you run a business that does not need a storefront such as a party planner or concierge service an alternative to starting a business from home are business incubators. A business incubator offers not only office space to set up your business but also supplies services and assistance to help you grow your business. Their assistance and resources can be of much value to an unexperienced entrepreneur. Not all business incubators are alike so the services they offer will vary. Business incubators often offer services such as bookkeeping, fax machines, computers and a secretary. They often offer access to business experts who can help you plan your business, evaluate marketing strategies, assist you with raising capital and more. Since you will be working in a business environment along with other entrepreneurs and business experts you will also have the opportunity to network. For more information on business incubators click here. Another option you can consider is renting office space.
#3 Choose a Particular Community or Region
When choosing a particular community or region determine if there is a demand for a product or service that is not being met. Make sure the community contains your target market. Get a demographics analysis- What kind of people live in close proximity to your location? What kind of people live in the surrounding communities? Is there a lot of competition? For example is there a large number of busy parents and no place to leave their kids when they go to work? Conduct market research to uncover this information. Also examine Market Research Statistics for statistics on demographics. When choosing a particular community or region keep in mind that some communities have restrictions on the hours of business operations. Make sure the rules and laws of your community doesn’t affect the performance of your business.
#4 Consider Location Factors
Below are some factors to consider when choosing a location for your business. Finding a business location that meets all these factors can be very difficult and nearly impossible. Determine which factors are the most important and beneficial to your small business.
- Costs– The more money you spend on your business location, the more profits you will have to make to make ends meet. Keep in mind you will also have to pay property taxes. Also consider the costs of repairs and equipment. Don’t underestimate the costs of building modifications. Get estimates for an accurate idea of the costs. Be sure that the changes to the property are allowed if you plan on remodeling.
- Are you close to suppliers?– You don’t want the hassle of a long commute to your suppliers therefore make sure your business location is in close proximity to them. If your suppliers make deliveries, make sure your suppliers can conveniently make deliveries to your business location.
- Does it have parking and public transportation?– Your business location should be assessable to potential clients and employees. Having a location close to public transportation can be more attractive and convenient for potential customers and employees who don‘t have cars. Also make sure there is public parking near your business location. Potential customers may decide not to visit your business because there is no place to park.
- Busy Street– Is it located on a busy street where a lot of potential customers walk by? Do people drive on one side of the street in the mornings when going to work or school, then the other side when coming home? If you are selling breakfast goods you may want to be on the side with more movement in the morning. Do people avoid walking on your block because of the street layout or construction?
- Competition– You may be thinking that you want to be as far from your completion as possible, but being close to your competition can be effective as well. Your competition is probably spending a lot of money to attract customers. Being close to them can bring in some of these customers. Of course keep in mind your marketing efforts can also bring potential customers to them. If you decide to be close to your competition, your product or service should provide an advantage over the competition. Give potential customers a good reason to come to your business instead of your competition. Advertise this on your store window. Having no competition can also be a huge benefit. Having a product or service that is in high demand while having little to no competition can provide a good business opportunity.
- Close to popular stores– having a business close to popular stores can attract people who are in a buying state of mind. Locating your business on a shopping strip takes advantage of this. Shopping strip locations are often expensive but can benefit your business by providing walk-by traffic from surrounding businesses.
- Security– Is it in a safe location? Will potential customers be afraid of coming to your business because it is located in a dangerous place? Crimes against your business such as theft can be costly. If you decide to locate somewhere with a high crime rate be sure to install a security system.
- Exterior and Interior design– When choosing a business location keep in mind that the exterior and interior design can change but the location can’t. However remodeling a location takes time and money.
- Are you close to your home?– When starting a small business, you will have long work days so living in close proximity to your business is ideal. Not having to worry about a long commute home can be one less problem you have to worry about. In the case of an emergency it would be helpful to live nearby where you need to get to your business right away.
- Hazardous wastes– If you are buying the property make sure the property is not polluted with hazardous wastes or federal law will require you to clean it up which can be costly. You may want to have an attorney question the seller about the past usage of the property and whether it was exposed to hazardous materials.
- Zoning Laws– Be aware of zoning laws. Zoning laws govern the area and can pose restrictions on how local businesses operate. There may be restrictions on hours of business operation. Be sure the zoning laws won’t affect your small business.
- Location’s Past– Was there a business in this location in the past? If so find out why the business is no longer there. Did it go out of business because there was not enough customers?