“Location, location, location!”
I can still remember my business professor standing in front of my marketing class, an urgent look upon his face as he strained to stress how crucial that one decision is to the success of a new business. Thanks to his emphatic repetition of that phrase over and over, the importance of location is forever impressed upon my mind.
So how do you, as a budding entrepreneur make a wise choice about one of the most decisions you’ll face as a business owner? When the success of your business is so dependent on this one factor, how do you face the pressure and find the perfect location? Easy! By knowing what makes a great location and being educated about the different aspects to consider. Whether you are a brick & mortar retailer, strictly online, a manufacturer, or service provider, thinking through the following aspects will help you determine the best location for your business and help you from screwing up one of the most important business decisions you will make…
How to not screw it up: Think about whether you need foot traffic or not. If you depend on foot traffic, don’t compromise until you’ve found a location that provides the foot traffic you need. It can help to look for other traffic-generating businesses around locations that you are considering. If you don’t depend on foot traffic, determine what other aspects of location are most important to you and focus on them.
Employee Recruiting Pool
How to not screw it up: Make a list about what kind of employees you want to hire for your business and what sort of pay you can afford to pay them. Then do your research and find an area that contains the right people for the right price.
How to not screw it up: View any prospective locations through your customers eyes and think about how the location reflects on your brand. Find a spot that lines up with the message you want to convey to your clients and one that will enhance your brand, not distract or detract.
How to not screw it up: Have your target market clearly defined before settling on a location. Then do your research to find a location that contains matching demographics.
How to not screw it up: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Don’t be afraid to be in close proximity to your competition… this will not only give you a chance to keep tabs on their strategies, but also give you exposure to their best customers and increase your opportunity of making them your best customers.
How to not screw it up: Know what kind of lease you need and get help negotiating if you need it. Read all the fine print on the lease agreement… don’t get stuck in a long lease or with something you can’t afford because you failed to read the fine print. Also, know your anticipated growth and think ahead for how much space you will need the entire term of the lease, not just for the first year.
How to not screw it up: Ask ahead of time about any extra fees tied to a particular location, such as city taxes, business licensing fees, utilities, renovation costs, etc. Don’t let unexpected expenses creep up on you.
How to not screw it up: Do your homework and always ask about zoning regulations before looking at potential locations. It does you no good if you find a “perfect” location that your business can’t operate out of because of zoning restrictions.
How to not screw it up: Don’t pick a location where your employees will not feel safe alone or at night. Picking a safe location can lead to happier and more secure employees and increased foot traffic (if your business depends on that). In addition, vendors and potential clients won’t be hesitant about coming to see you.
How to not screw it up: Make sure there is adequate parking for both employees and customers. Inadequate parking only annoys employees and could dissuade potential customers from visiting your business.
Take your time and do your homework before choosing your business location. This is one of the most important business decisions you will make as an entrepreneur, but if you think through all of the above aspects, you are sure to not screw it up. Good luck!
Can you think of any other aspects that would be important to consider when making a decision about the location of your business? Add them to the comments section below!
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