Location. Location. Location. Some places are business-friendly -some are not. If you are about to start up or expand your business, consider what your choice of location can mean to your success. Whether it’s Main Street or Silicon Valley, your business location can mean the difference between success and failure. But more than that, your business location is the linchpin for your reputation, your brand, and your profits.
In fact, choosing a business location is perhaps the single most important decision a small business owner or startup will make, so it requires precise planning and research. It involves looking at demographics, assessing your supply chain, scoping the competition, staying on budget, understanding how state laws and taxes might impact you, and so much more.
What are your needs?
Most businesses choose a location that will provide exposure and drive foot traffic or volume to their location. That makes features like parking, pedestrian and vehicular access, the reputation of the neighborhood, and the proximity of other businesses all factors to consider.
However, there are other less obvious factors and needs to consider as well. For example:
- Brand image – Is the location consistent with the image you want to maintain?
- Competition – Are the businesses around you complementary or competing? Retail stores benefit from being in a retail hub alongside the competition. Others may be at a disadvantage if located too close to the competition
- Local labor market – Does the area have what you need in terms of potential employees? Can they make it into work without spending too much time in traffic?
- Plan for future growth – If you anticipate future growth, preempt the need for multiple moves by looking for a building that has extra space you can expand into should you need it. Your budget should also include cost estimates for furniture, utilities, and IT needs.
- Proximity to suppliers – They need to be able find you easily, too.
- Safety – What’s the crime rate? Will employees feel safe alone in the building or walking to their vehicles or the nearest public transportation?
- Zoning regulations – These determine whether you can actually conduct your type of business in certain properties or locations. You can find out how property is zoned by contacting your local planning agency.