Location, location: Finding the right place to conduct business
Mon 2 May 2016 - 9:34 amFeatured | Real Estate | Startup
Although the phrase “location, location, location” can be categorized as a cliché, it is actually one of the top considerations new business owners face when they are preparing to open a brick-and-mortar store. Whether the business sells products or provides services, the location of the storefront is what brings customers through the door and into the space. In some sense, the location of the store takes priority over the quality of the products or services. Make no mistake, the products and services need to be top notch, but without customers entering the store, it doesn’t much matter. There are some important questions to ponder when finding the perfect location to set up shop.
Who are the targeted audience?
Finding the perfect location for a business would significantly depend on the population of people who would be most interested in the products sold or services rendered. Different generations tend to hang out in different places. Becoming familiar with the demographics of various regions would benefit the business in the long run. Some key demographics to consider are average age, income level, and ethnicity of nearby residents. In addition, it would also be advantageous to think about town zoning. Is the new business going to be in an industrial area, a strip mall, or inside a larger shopping centre?
What are the neighbouring stores?
Another significant consideration when scouting out a location for a new business is to take note of existing businesses. Contrary to popular belief, being near a similar business can be extremely beneficial because if the other company doesn’t carry a desired product or provide a desired service, the customer is likely to stop into a similar store nearby.
It is also wise to consider the surrounding businesses because the best case scenario would be to open a new business where it can complement another storefront located nearby. For example, it is likely profitable to open a florist next to or near a store that sells wedding and prom dresses.
What kind of visibility will the business get?
It is very important for potential customers to be able to easily see the storefront of the new business. It is not a good idea to rent or purchase a space that is hidden from a main street or tucked away in a back corner of a strip mall. Just as there are impulse shoppers standing in a grocery store line, there are impulse shoppers driving around on the streets.
In addition to car traffic, a new business will also need to consider accessibility to foot traffic. If the new business is not visible to both car and foot traffic, it would have to depend solely on advertising, social media, and word of mouth to be successful.
Does size matter?
Something to consider for a new business is the size of the space. How much space is needed for the business to flourish? A space that’s too small makes for an uncomfortable shopping experience. A space that’s too large would make it difficult to fill and make the customers feel awkward as they shop. When there is too much space and the products do not fill it appropriately, customers can easily jump to the conclusion that the business is not doing well. As size is under consideration, it is also important to think into the future and take into account opportunities for expansion and growth. Does the business have to start small before it can grow? Will the business be roughly the same size for the foreseeable future?
What is the property value?
When it comes to affordability, one thing to consider when starting up a new business is whether it is necessary to purchase a location or would it suffice to rent the space? Depending on where the store will be housed, prices could easily range from inexpensive to out of this world. It is extremely important to conduct some research prior to committing to a location. When it comes to commercial real estate, it might be wise to contact professionals for support as it is very different from purchasing or renting residential properties.
Is there adequate parking?
A final consideration when opening a business is where customers will park their vehicles when they come to the store. Is there public parking nearby? Is there street parking? Is there a parking lot in front of or behind the storefront for customers to use? If there is a valet service at the new location, is the cost to the store something that is budgeted? If parking is an afterthought, the new business will lose customers pretty quickly.
Whether a new business sells products or renders services, it is important for the owner to consider the location of the storefront. There are many variables that if considered seriously can help the business flourish. These same variables, if ignored, can break a business in the blink of an eye.
About the Author
Zoe Kennedy is a real estate salesperson. She likes to share her experiences by posting on the web. Her articles can be found mostly on real estate and property sites.