1 – Your Space Requirements
Space is an important aspect of choosing a business location. And the amount of space you need is directly dependent on what kind of operations your business runs. For example, a restaurant will have very different space requirements than from a florist shop.
A florist can easily operate from a kiosk or a cart. In fact, kiosk and cart locations already are and getting increasingly popular because they cost less but at the same time, have the potential of generating huge amount of business. Even something called a pop-up retail location is getting very popular.
Pop-up retail locations just come up un-announced in a highly visible location such as in a mall and last for a very short period of time. They are usually seasonal businesses such as around the time of Christmas and other festivals.
These businesses take advantage of the season shopping spree and either close down shop till the next season or transform themselves into another kind of retail location. This kind of tactic is also used to test a product or business. Opening a small kiosk or a booth gives the business an increasingly accurate idea of how you can expect your business product to do when you launch it full-time. Some of the biggest mainstream retailers such as Target and Walmart adopted the concept of pop-up retailing every now and then.
Another advantage of choosing a carte blanche location for a business is that you do not have to get in to extended long-term leases. This helps you lessen your business start up cost.
2 – Demographics Of The Location
The demographics of a location for business will tell you many things. Today, when cities are getting bigger and people look for businesses and services close to where they live, the demographics statistics need to be looked in to in eve greater detail. Looking at the picture for the overall city may not be good enough anymore. You might need to examine the demographics of the area where you are locating your business in detail as well.
There are 2 aspects when it comes to demographics that affect the business.
One demographic is that of the targeted customer base whereas the other is that of your employees.
When you choose the location for business you will have to see whether there is any particular class or category of people that you are targeting.
Is this category of consumer available in and around your business location? You will also need to figure out where your market is located, is there a population that matches the customer profile and does the community have a stable economy?
Ideally you should look at the business location where the population demographics show that the population is increasing rather than dwindling. You also want a large portion of the populace to be a potential customer. When it comes to business success and the demographics, this is something that you should cover in marketing and business research. We have spoken about that extensively in our previous sections.
We next come to demographics that concern employees.
Does your business location permit you to find people who are either trained or easily trainable in your business?
The question is whether you will be able to find employees close to the business location and whether they will have sufficient resources such as housing, schooling and the creation needs to support them. In many areas, the employment level may be high but they may be underpaid or underemployed. If you offer good job prospects, you may find it more easy to staff your business with expert and qualified people.
You can test the presence of potential employees in your business location by posting ad in the newspaper and seeing what kind of response you get.
Demographic information about a business location is available to you through many resources. You can do the research yourself by visiting the local library or you can call the US Census Bureau office and gather statistics that will give you an idea of the consumer base.
In case you do not have the time or feel you cannot decipher this information to a great effect, you can hire a statistical expert to do this job for you. Statistical experts know where to get relevant data from and also how to processes that data into relevant information that concerns your business consumer database. You can contact your state, regional or local economy development agency or a commercial real estate company and use the data that they have already collected, analyzed and processed.
3 – How Much Consumer Traffic Do You Need
Even if you take up the space for a storefront in a busy shopping mall, you do not want to be put away in a blind space. Almost all shopping areas, including the busiest malls have blind areas which do not have the consumers passing through as a part of their natural sojourn through the shopping area. You do not want to be tucked away in a corner if the success of the sale depends upon the average shopper discovering and finding your business by virtue of visiting the shopping mall.
However, if you have the kind of business product that requires privacy and caters to a select clientele, having a space in the quieter area of a shopping mall may serve your purpose.
It is a good idea to evaluate the traffic in our business location before you decide where you want to purchase space for the storefront.
You can monitor the traffic outside the potential business location at different times of the day to make sure that the volume of the consumer traffic meets your business needs.
4 – Accessibility And Parking Space
An extremely important part about the business location is its easy accessibility and the parking space available. Certain locations especially in residential colonies to not allow a business to start if there is not adequate parking space to accommodate your potential customers in the future. You need to consider whether all the people who will be associated with your business that is your customers, employees and suppliers will be able to access your business easily.
If you are on a busy street will be easy for them to get in and get out and find parking for the vehicles. Is the facility accessible to people with disabilities? In case you need heavy vehicles to come in and out of your business facility to deliver products and raw materials, whether they be able to gain access to your business premise easily. Small business couriers need to get in and out quickly whereas trucking companies need adequate roads and loading docks if you’re going to receive freight with large volume.
Give consideration to the hours of working permissible in the business location. What about the services that are provided in the business location? For example, is the air-conditioning on all the time or is it only functioning through the daylight working hours.
You might find office space in a beautiful business building but if you find that you need to work after hours you want to ensure that the air-conditioning will be functional during those hours. If you intend to work on weekends, will you have access to the business location or will it we all locked up. If it is going to be locked up are you going to be provided with a key or an access card to go to your office if you require.
Parking is a bigger issue in the consumers mind that some people may think. Always try to ensure that there is convenient and adequate parking space for both consumers and employees. As you monitored the foot traffic, do the same with the parking space at the business location and see how the demand for parking fluctuates during the day. Also consider safety issues regarding the parking such as whether it is well-maintained and adequately lighted or not.
Even when you are buying an existing business, consider the location just as you would if you were starting a business from scratch. Ask yourself whether the business location suits your business purpose. Pay special attention to any changes that have occurred in the business location in the past or potential future changes that could have direct impact on the accessibility and practicality of your business location.
5 – Presence of Competition In A Business Location
The presence of competing businesses and services play an important role when choosing the business location. Sometimes the presence of competing businesses is greatly appreciated and even boosts your own business. There is something called comparison-shopping that makes similar businesses such as restaurants, clothing stores etc. to flock together in the same location.
By having different options for the same product available in the same location, location becomes extremely attractive to the customer. The customer knows that by going to just one location he has several choices for the same product.
Not only does this allow you to attract your customers but also allows you to catch the overflow from customers of other competing businesses as well. It is you who needs to decide whether your business location will benefit from the presence of competitors or not. Accordingly you should choose the business location.
Presence of Other Businesses and Helpful services
Usually, presence of certain other businesses and services close your business location enhance the purpose and practicality of your business presence.
These are the businesses could be related businesses who could supply you with more potential customers. There could be other helpful services in close proximity to your business who you could become a consumer of. Services like eating joints, day care services sector could be a boost and of great convenience for your employees.
Any business or service that is close to a business location and enhances the quality of your business location is a good thing. Any business or service that you can see yourself using as part of running a business is another advantage.
6 – Image And History
Certain business location and shopping areas have a certain image in people’s mind. Certain shopping malls shopping areas may be considered high-end whereas other shopping areas may be considered as catering to low-end business products.
Before you choose the business location it could be important to understand how the location is perceived in the minds of the consumer.
Also, look into the history of the business site. For example if the site has a history of business failures for the particular business such as a clothing store, you might want to think about starting a similar business there.
There could be a problem with the consumer base in that location or the future consumer might just presume that your business will fail as well owing to the previous history. Being associated with previous failures might lower the perception of quality for your business and business product in the minds of potential consumer resulting in a low response.
If the previous business in a similar location has been wildly successful you still need to research and consider whether it was the business model that succeeded and how much did the location have to do with the success.
Another historical point you’ll want to know about is whether a serious crime, tragedy or any other notable event has occurred on the business site premises. If so, will the public’s memory reflect on your business operation and whether that reflection is going to be positive or negative?
7 – Infrastructure, Utility And Costs
You might also want to ensure that the building that supports your business has all the necessary infrastructure in place.
For example, the start air-conditioning provision meet your business requirement. What about the wiring and telecommunication services. You should look at the potential expansion in the near future and your requirement from the infrastructure to decide whether the building meets those needs are not. It is a good idea to hire an independent engineer to check out these aspects so you have a good evaluation of what kind of services the infrastructure of the business location can support
Utilities and Other Costs for the Business Location
The rent for the business location will be your one major expense. However, different business locations include different utility costs in the rent.
For example, your business and may include janitorial services and maintenance cost whereas in certain locations you might have to pay for these services separately. Any utility that you require or will be using in your business location that you have to pay for separately will increase the expenditure on the business location.
In order to get an idea of how much you were going to spend on various utility services, you can ask the utility company for a summary of previous years usage and billing for the site. Look into the kind of security deposits that you will have to make for the business location. Do you have to pay extra for utilities such as parking, maintenance etc.?