The most important factor in determining whether your business will succeed or fail isn’t the quality of your product or service; it’s the location of your business. It might seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how many businesses go through great lengths to get more customers without giving much thought to where they are located.
The last thing you want to do is put so much time and money into something only to find out that the location wasn’t ideal after all. Where you decide to open your business can have a big impact on its success, so it’s essential to choose the perfect location from the start. When choosing a location, it’s important to consider all aspects of business strategy, from clientele and customer base to parking access and rent price, to determine whether the location will serve you well in the long term.
Although this may seem like an obvious step in the process, many business owners overlook it or don’t consider it at all before opening their doors. To ensure that your business does well, be sure you follow these tips when choosing the perfect location for your store or business:
Think About Your Vendors and Suppliers
If you want your business to succeed, you must think about your vendors and suppliers from day one. If you don’t have a consistent flow of supplies or a steady stream of raw materials, your business can’t run. Be sure to build a good relationship with them and that you can still easily export products from them. Contact them and let them know of your location to make such arrangements.
Consider an Up-And-Coming Neighborhood
Neighborhoods are changing all the time, and there’s a good chance that some up-and-coming area near you is seeing an influx of new businesses. Take advantage of getting in on the first floor by opening your store in such a location—you’ll help spur economic growth in your community. For example, downtown Las Vegas was once run down; today it houses thriving shops and restaurants. By contrast, older business districts sometimes lose their luster as consumers shift their attention elsewhere.
Seek Aesthetic Appeal and Ambiance
Consider whether your business would look good in its neighborhood. If your store will sell fine jewelry, you might not want it wedged between a bodega and a car wash on an ugly side street in an urban area. Certain workspaces lend themselves more readily to specific businesses, which can be advantageous because they help strengthen brand loyalty. For example, if your product is geared toward yoga enthusiasts you probably wouldn’t do well with a shop next to a skateboard emporium or heavy metal club.
Similarly, if you run an accounting firm located near a hair salon you could come across as cheap or unprofessional even though neither is necessarily true.
Choose a Building With High Foot Traffic
If it makes sense for your business, consider choosing a building with high foot traffic and multiple entrances/exits. You want to make sure there are plenty of people who can walk past your store every day. It is particularly important if you sell food or other products that need exposure to air to stay fresh. While proximity to major roadways may not hurt your business, aim for a place that attracts as many shoppers as possible.
Be Wary of Lower Property Value Areas
A rundown area may seem like a good deal, but cheaper storefronts are often accompanied by low-income neighbors, which can lead to decreased customer traffic. If you’re choosing between locations, look at similar businesses in both areas and take into account their average income level and spending habits. You don’t want your customers feeling uncomfortable in your shop or shying away because they feel out of place.
Think About Parking Options
Before you sign a lease, visit your storefront during peak hours—weekday evenings and weekend mornings—to see if there are enough available parking spaces. If not, find out how much it would cost to add additional spots to your lease. Parking is expensive, so make sure there’s plenty of it or consider looking elsewhere if that’s going to be an issue.
Contact Agents for More Options
After you’ve identified possible storefront locations, contact your local city and county business development, representatives. They can point you toward other property managers who may have available retail space that hasn’t yet been advertised on sites like Craigslist. Most cities also host events designed specifically for small-business owners looking to open or relocate. Real estate agents who regularly work with new businesses are another option; in addition to advising about site selection, they might be able to help you negotiate lease terms.
When choosing a location, remember that your business is its entity. You should try to get into an area where there’s already plenty of foot traffic and a solid customer base. Also, beware of areas that could prove problematic in terms of competition or customer accessibility: you don’t want to be stuck in a dead-end location where no one can find you.