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CHOSING A LOCATION FOR A SMALL BUSINESS Featured

As you get your new business off the ground, you are faced with a multitude of considerations from how to secure funding to which small business softwarefits your needs. For certain businesses, choosing the right location should also be prioritized early on.

Type of business - Does location matter? Not every company will find that location is important. For example, if you run a home-based business or consultancy, where you are based will probably not matter very much. Similarly, location is not as important as other factors when it comes to businesses that make their living by travelling to customers rather than vice versa such as cleaning services or electricians.

However, other categories of business, including companies that manufacture and distribute products to customers, should choose their location carefully. For these types of firms, location is a critical element to their success.

What type of space? Depending on your type of business, you may require office space, retail space or warehouse space. Consider your needs: will you be holding client meetings? Will you be reliant on foot traffic? Will you require a showroom?

Zoning- Before you set up shop in a particular area, you should make sure it is zoned for your type of business. You can find out how a property is zoned by calling your local planning department. It can be extremely difficult to change the zoning on a property, so make sure you do this prior to signing anything.

Traffic and transportation- If you are likely to receive a number of customer visits as part of your regular business operations, location can be very important.

Customers-Think about how customers will travel to your firm. Do you need to be close to public transportation? Will you need a parking lot? Would you benefit from being located in a shopping mall or commercial business park?

Visibility may also be an issue. A hair salon may want to be located on a pretty side street, while a coffee shop could benefit from a pedestrian-heavy location and a mechanic will want to be on a major road with plenty of passing traffic.

Employees- If you plan to hire employees, you should also think about whether your business is within easy commuting distance, if it is close to public transportation and whether people will have to pay for parking.

If your business manufactures and distributes products, your location may be heavily dependent on being close to suppliers and transportation.

Neighborhood- Think about the type of customers you are trying to lure. Where do they live? Where do they shop? Where are they unlikely to visit? These considerations are particularly important for retailers. For example, a high-end jewelry retailer would probably not benefit from a location in city's bargain shopping district.

Competition- Your small business can actually benefit from being located close to competitors, because they are already devoting money to attracting the same customer base so you don't have to work as hard. Being located close to similar businesses also opens up possibilities for beating their prices. For example, a used CD store could easily benefit from opening up next to a full-price music retailer, as this would encourage customers to comparison shop.

Safety-  Think about the safety of both your customers and employees. Also, will you be located in an area where your business is likely to be vandalized or burgled?

Budget- Of course, not every business owner can afford to set up shop exactly where they want. While shopping malls offer some of the best options for retailers, small businesses often find themselves priced out. Use your small business software to determine how much you can pay for rent and still be profitable. Some neighborhoods may be too expensive altogether, while others may cause you to reassess your pricing strategy to compensate for higher rent.

 

Facility- Once you have figured out what area is right for your business, consider whether the particular facility is suitable. Does it have a parking lot or meters? Do you have enough storage space? Are you able to expand if needed? Would you have access to the amenities you need? Is the building wired to support all of the technology you need? Is the cost of utilities included? What about janitorial services?

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