A: When selecting a location, you must first figure out how important traffic will be to your business. If there is going to be a lot of spur-of-the-moment drop in customers, then a good location is indeed important. A gas station needs a great location with a lot of traffic, but a chiropractor does not.
In fact, an out-of-the-way location can be a great choice for certain businesses. Opening in a redevelopment area, for example, may afford you tax breaks. Generally, if you are offering retail products (food, groceries, clothes, dry cleaning, etc.) location should be important to you. If you are selling services, location is likely less of a concern.
A retail store will want to consider the following when looking for a good location:
Population: Are there enough people to support your business? What has been the fate of similar businesses in the area?
Traffic. You need to be near some centers of activity. Is there public transportation nearby? Is the location on or near a major road?
Competition. Where is your competition located? Are there too many competitors nearby?
Visibility. Make sure your potential location is visible from major roads and/or highways.
Signs. You need to be sure that there are no restrictions that will limit your ability to post signs for your new business. Good signs can make a big difference.
Appearance. Is there enough parking? Is there a bathroom for the public? Make sure the place is landscaped well, has adequate outdoor lighting, and has appropriate businesses nearby.
The landlord. Get some references. Is the landlord responsive and easy to work with, or is he a jerk?
History. Some locations are jinxed – no matter what business moves in there, it seems to fail. Avoid these locations, because, no matter what you do, the locals will already have preconceived notions about your business.
Rent: Avoid picking a location simply because the rent is cheap; that should not be your main consideration. While keeping your overhead low is indeed a key to success, putting your business in a cheap, bad location is also a key to failure.
Image: Your storefront is your window to the world. Make sure yours represents your image properly.
Finally, what ever location you choose, be sure that it is zoned for your type of business. Other things you might want to consider are:
· Can employees and suppliers get there easily?
· Are there staff restrooms and break rooms?
· Is there a shipping and receiving area?
· Are there enough phone jacks and electrical outlets?
· Are there any environmental issues to consider?
· Is there room to expand?
Today’s tip: My dad always liked locating his carpet stores across the street from major malls. He figured he would get the benefit of the mall’s advertising and pull without having to pay mall rent.