The right location can make or break a business. Learn how to look for the right location.
The location of your business can be just as important as what you sell and how you market it. No matter what business you are in there are some routine things to consider for figuring out the best place to host your business. Following these guidelines will help you to make the best business decision.
There are a number of things to consider when choosing the geographic location of your business. You can locate your business just about anywhere. Consider your options carefully before you sign a lease.
- State: Income, sales and property taxes vary greatly from one state to another. Especially if you are located near a state line, what side of the line you choose to locate your business on can make all the difference in the world. Ask yourself if the state you wish to operate in is friendly to small businesses, new businesses and the type of business that you plan to run.
- Municipality: What city you decide to move your business into can be just as important as what state you decide to locate in. Rent and other forms of overhead might vary greatly between the city you live in and the next city over -- to say nothing of a city on the other side of the state. Think about what type of city will be the best for your business. Then find the best city within that category.
- Neighborhood: Neighborhoods have their individual flavor. This can greatly affect the type of customers that you receive. You will also want a neighborhood that is a good fit for your business model. Some businesses have prestige while others have a hip reputation. Which is best for your business? Do your research about what customers shop in the area you are thinking about opening up in. See how businesses succeed or fail in various neighborhoods in the city you’ve decided on. This will act as a guide to what is the best place for you to open up your business.
- Traffic: A key consideration when opening a business is traffic. You will want a place that gets good foot traffic for a number of business models, including food service. If you rely a lot on people coming buy in their cars, you will want to be in a place with plenty of parking -- free parking if possible, but an easy place to stick a car in front of a meter if necessary.
- Price: When you are starting your business you will almost certainly have to rent a place rather than buy one. This means that you should be very careful about not increasing your overhead too much by buying a place that you can’t really afford. Remember to include rent in all projections of profit and revenues.
- Appropriateness: Knowing whether or not the specific property you have selected is appropriate for your business can be complicated. However, there are some key concerns to keep in mind. You will need a property that is able to handle the type of business that you have set up. One way to make sure of this is to see if the same type or similar businesses have operated where you plan to set up shop. If these prior businesses have failed it’s not necessarily a red flag, but it is a warning sign. Figure out why the prior business failed and see if this is something you think that your business can avoid.
- Zoning: Your business must be able to legally operate under local zoning laws. Never sign a lease for a place until you are absolutely certain that your business is allowed under its zoning regulations.
- Facilities: You can’t even open a small coffee shop in a building unless it has basic kitchen facilities. Any type of business that you own will have required facilities. Chances are, no matter what the cost of installing these facilities is, it’s a lot cheaper to just find a place that already has them.
The old adage of “location, location, location” is perhaps even more important for a business property than a residential one. Where you choose to rent or own is crucial to the survival of your business. Take care to make the right decision and never sign a lease without doing thorough research into your businesses needs and the property you wish to rent.