What may be the perfect location for a swanky hair salon might not be the ideal place to set up a family-owned accounting business. So how do you select the perfect place to set up shop if you are starting a small business (or changing locations) and want your small business to succeed?
Think About Accessibility
Choosing a location starts with thinking about what will be the most convenient location for your customers. Ask these simple questions, and you’ll quickly be able to cross certain locations off of your list:
- Does your business rely on pedestrian or drive-by shoppers?
- How much parking space will you need for employees and customers?
- How will you receive products and supplies?
- Will you be delivering goods or services to customers?
In many cases, it’s important to find a location that’s close to your customer base, near to public transportation, and easily reached from major roadways.
Remember the Competition
In my neck of the woods, I recently went through a small suburban town that was home to a NAPA Auto Parts Store, an O’Reilly Auto Parts Store, an Advance Auto Parts Store and an AutoZone. All four buildings were on the same street and not one stood farther than 3 blocks from its most distant competitor.
Sometimes it seems like a bad idea to locate too close to your competition, but there are actually some major benefits to being right next door to other similar businesses. For example, let’s say your competitor sells the last set of wiper blades for a particular make and model of car and he won’t be getting a new shipment until the following week. And let’s say you have those wiper blade in stock right now. Definitely something to think about.
Plan for Visibility
You’d probably like your business to be clearly visible from the road, so you’ll need to spend some time investigating the zoning regulations in different locations. A great sign might be all you need to get your customers’ attention. However, if there are regulations on the size and appearance of signs in the location you want, they could prevent you from achieving the level of visibility you need. Research the zoning ordinances in your area before you ever sign a sale or lease agreement.
For the sole proprietor and some very small service-oriented business, it might actually be more feasible to rent co-working or shared office spaces. These types of offices actually provide some more flexibility in terms of leasing rates and lengths, while giving you the opportunity to make a very professional first impression with clients.
Think through a Home-Based Business
According to the Small Business Administration, home-based businesses make up about 50% of all businesses in the U.S. Home offices are convenient, but going this route may mean you have to deal with restrictive zoning laws. As a general rule of thumb, if customers or clients come to you, a home-based business isn’t the best idea. Home-based businesses can also make it more difficult to set personal boundaries and protect your time.
Have you recently relocated your business or are you planning a move in the future? What tips would you give your fellow small business owners?
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