6 tips to help choose the right business location
You might be setting up a new business, expanding or simply moving. But getting the business location right is everything.
Factors to consider include:
Rent vs buy
Deciding whether to rent or buy will probably be one of the first things to consider when working out your new business location. Experts say there are advantages and disadvantages to both options.
A lease is a shorter commitment and this might be prudent if your business is just starting up as it lets you work out whether the location is exactly right for your business.
But if you buy, you have the advantage of not paying rent to anyone else and being able to make the most of any increase in the value of the property.
Know your business
Before you start looking it is vital that you know and understand your business.
Who is your target audience, where are they and can they easily get to you? For example, the best location for your bike store might not be on a freeway with no access to bike paths.
If you are a retailer, how much space will you need for storage? Or how much room do you need to set aside for showroom or customers?
It is also important to work out whether your business will grow quickly and, if so, whether you will have enough space to grow with it.
If you underestimate any of these factors, you could well outgrow your new business location very quickly and either be back in the market again or constrained in your growth.
Know your customers
Working out who your customers are is vital when working out your ideal business location. Just because you have found somewhere that’s busy doesn’t mean it’s busy with your customers.
You need to know where they live. What do they need around them? How far will they travel to use your business? If they need to drive to your business, it’s important to make sure there’s enough parking and potentially somewhere to grab a coffee as well.
What sort of property?
This will depend on what type of business you are running and its requirements.
If you are setting up a retail business you might consider a suburban strip shopping centre or a larger mall, but if you’re running a small office-based business your requirements will be different.
Assess the location
No business can function without the appropriate infrastructure in place. Take a look at traffic in the area and work out how it supports, or otherwise, your business. If you need distribution, is there a good road network with access to freeways nearby?
You should also work out whether there is infrastructure to support you and your staff – cafes, public transport etc. Go out there and walk or drive around yourself, see whether it fits the image of your business as well as the practical realities of day-to-day business life.
Check with the experts
You might have found the ideal business location but what if the area is zoned residential? Or you can run your business but you can’t put up any signage to let people know you are there?
Call the local council and check on zoning, planning and building restrictions in the area, chat to other business owners or organisations and seek legal advice before making any final decisions.