Read the full article at: smallbusiness.yahoo.com
The location you choose for your business can make a huge impact on its growth and future. Before you fall in love with an attractive retail space in a posh neighborhood, consider how it will benefit your business. The location of your business will not only affect its customers base, branding and image, it will as affect its operations and overall growth.
Here’s what you need to know as you search for the perfect location for your business:
Proximity and Convenience. As yourself if the area is convenient for you. You don’t want to spend too much time traveling to and from your business, nor do you want your employees. You want a location that’s easy to reach from local residential areas, whether by car or public transportation. You also want ample parking for everyone. If you rely heavily upon specialist or expert employees, then proximity and convenience for everyone is key.
Demography and Customer Base. This is where you refer to your business plan and examine who your customers are, including age, gender, income, shopping habits and interests. Ask yourself if enough of your target customers live within a reasonable traveling distance from your location.
Brand Image and Reputation. Whether you know it or not, the image of the surrounding area of your business will make an impression with your customers. When choosing a location, consider its ambiance and reputation and if it matches with the image you’re trying to convey with your company. Even office-based businesses need to consider a location that’s appropriate for meeting with clients and hosting meetings – especially high-prestige businesses such as advertising agencies, healthcare and professional services.
Visibility and Accessibility. Especially for retail and commercial businesses, storefronts should be visible by passing vehicular and foot traffic. Offering nearby parking is also critical. Many businesses can be short lived, losing new customers because they go unnoticed or passed up because there’s nowhere nearby to park.
Competition and Compatibility. Contrary to popular belief, you can actually benefit by being located close to your competitors. If your competitor is spending a lot on marketing, they’re helping you out by bringing more customers to your area. This is especially true if your business offers competitive prices and choice selections. You also want to be in a location which is compatible to other local businesses. A laundromat will benefit by being located in a neighborhood dominated by apartment buildings. An ice cream shop will benefit by being located in a shopping area with lots of foot traffic.
Building Site and Facilities. Choosing the right site for your business means considering whether it offers the right kind of space and if its big enough to allow room for growth. Retailers may be more concerned about showroom space than storage or back office space. Restaurants need to be concerned about facilities and equipment, while offices need to be concerned about modern communications systems.
Zoning and Traffic. Before you sign a lease, check the local zoning ordinances as to whether or not they are compatible with your business. The laws may impact the type of business you want to run. You should also research any potential traffic issue that may arise, such as one-way streets, dead ends or traffic bottle necks. Traffic patterns and demographics can be obtained online through site such as Streetlytics.
Setting down roots for your business is an investment in its future and should not be taken lightly. Making your choice a well thought out strategic choice; it will be well worth it in the end.
“When it comes to customers you need to take a more scientific view of things. It’s time to turn to demography. If you spent the necessary time on your business plan you should know exactly who your customers are … “