Dear M & M: I know what I am going to do. I just need to find a place to do it. How do I choose a location for a business? – Sam
This is a difficult question to answer without knowing the nature of your business. Are you destination driven business or do you require a high traffic location? In a destination driven business people are willing to travel to get there. It’s like a trip to your dentist or doctor. Sure, you want an easy place to park that is safe and not too far out of your way, but it not like you are driving buy and stop in for a checkup or cleaning on an impulse. On the other hand if I was selling ice cream cones I’d want to be in a high traffic spot to get some impulse sales. A lot goes into a site selection for any business.
Do you want to own the store or lease space? How long are you planning on being there? Where is your competition? What do you have to spend? How much does the location add to your daily cost to do business? How much do I need to spend on advertising to get people there? As you can see many questions need to be answered. Once you find the spot more questions come up. How much will it take me to get the place open? What is required to put up a sign? How much does the utility company want for a deposit? Do I need new carpet?
Does the space pass city, county, state, and federal building, fire and other safety codes? Time to bring in the experts. The local health, building and fire inspectors will do a free courtesy visit. Whatever town or city you are in the city wants you to open a business. The sales tax revenue your business generates and people you hire to spend money in the community are all positive things for any town. Give the city officials a call. They are there to help. Ask other business owners for advice on what they would do. Bring in an attorney to look over the lease.
How about asking real estate or property managers for some assistance? Do not go this alone. Like most things in business do not be afraid to ask for help. You are not expected to know everything. Major decisions like a location can make or break any business. Take time evaluate choices ask questions. Put the pencil to it and make sure you know what it will cost to open the doors and how much, once you are in, you will have to spend just to keep the doors open every day.