Location location location... how to choose the right one for your business
When choosing your business location there are so many important factors to consider in your business plan. Each of these are crucial aspects that must be vetted from various angles. So we have rounded up a cohesive checklist of the most important aspects you need to consider when growing a business via a new location.
Security is an important factor to consider when choosing your new business location. If you are in a higher risk area this can actually negatively affect your insurance premiums and you may also need to factor in additional security measures like bars and cameras to keep you premises and goods safe. It’s also a good idea to do a general due diligence on the area for crime stats. This can be done by speaking to neighbouring store owners and quizzing the landlord. Also find out what existing security measures are in place, and ensure that you keep yourself, your staff, your store and your customers safe.
Style and Demographics
Image is important in retail. This extends beyond your brand and goods and into your location. For example if you are a youthful fashion retailer then you will want to attract all the cool kids into your store. In that case you are going to want to be situated in places where they might hang out. This often comes down to area demographics and so it’s crucial that you understand who frequents that area. An interesting option is considering a pop-up store or food truck (for restaurateurs). The bonus of this option is you can move to different location to test the various markets before you commit to an expensive move and long-term lease.
Traffic and accessibility
Most retailers rely on high foot traffic to run. Even in the busiest shopping centres you will have dead spots and so it’s important to be visible and in a highly-frequented area. Some of the most desired locations in shopping centres are corner stores which have more window space and visibility customers from multiple angles. Certain retailers, like dry cleaners for example, like to be situated close to an entrance as it is easy for customers to run in and drop off or pick up. But this is not a great location for a toy shop for example, that needs to entice as many passers-by (and kids) as possible. This brings us to the concept of accessibility – how easy it is for customers to find you, park, and work you into their busy shopping route. Accessibility is also important for retailers with large deliveries and loading requirements.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing if there is competition in your location. Sometimes there is power in numbers and if customers know they have a variety of choice in a particular location, then is becomes a destination of choice. This is true for entertainment areas where people will want to eat and know there will be a lot of restaurants nearby or design centres with lots of décor and furniture retailers. If this is what you decide on, then go for it but also be prepared to up your game because more competition always means more marketing. Other retailers like pharmacies may prefer to be the only in the nearby radius so they don’t have to compete for business in quite the same way.
A lot of older buildings don’t have the right infrastructure to handle the needs of modern processes and high-tech dynamics. Making it incredibly important to ensure there is the correct electrical, fibre lines, generator capacity (etc.) to handle your current and future operational requirements. It’s always a good idea to hire your own engineer to do a thorough check on the property and surrounds before you lock yourself into a lease.
Potential for growth
Finally you have to ask yourself if this location is able to grow with your business or if it’s just a short-term solution. Re-location is an expensive and exhausting business and you need to make sure that both your lease and location are right on the money… if you want to make some yourself, that is.
The bottom line
The right business location is a good mix of gleaned information, entrepreneurial intuition, risk, probability and a fair bit of luck. While a perfect location differs business to business, think about this decision from all angles and be as objective as possible. Consider all these crucial areas to ensure you give your business the best chance for future success. Once settled, you can work this new location into your plans and get on with the business of growing.