Launching a business is without a doubt a challenging and exciting experience. In fact, the sheer excitement of finally starting a venture can make many entrepreneurs lose sight of some essential steps in the process. It’s easy to get caught up in dreams of developing great products and services or reaching new markets and forget that you must learn how to walk before you can run.
Rushing in and skipping certain stages can cause you a lot of trouble in the future. You must take things one step at a time and begin with the basics. You’ve probably heard time and time again that location is one of the most essential aspects you have to consider when starting a business, and it couldn’t be any truer. The location you choose will have a direct impact on your business’ performance and ultimately on its success.
Unlike other business-related aspects that can be changed along the way, an unsuitable location doesn’t have a quick fix, so it’s important to get it right the first time. Choosing a great location for your company implies more than finding a building from where you can run your activity. There are various factors you should take into account and look at the bigger picture before deciding on the right place. The following points will help you identify the best location for your business and make the process a bit smoother.
Assess your business needs
First thing first, you must have a clear understanding of your business needs and its characteristics before you can take any action. Different types of business will have different requirements. You can’t compare the needs of a home-based business to the needs of a retail or IT business. There are many aspects that set them apart, and you can’t ignore the specificities of a company when choosing the location. Think about how you will run everyday operations and how the space you choose will help facilitate these activities. Every little detail counts: having customers visit your headquarters, the resources that your business uses, special storage conditions, the style you want to reflect etc.
Know your customers
Just as you must be well-aware of all your business features, you must also know who your customers are and what they expect from you. If you’re running an online business, this might not be as important, but if you’re in retail and you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store, being close to your customers is crucial. Go after them and don’t wait for them to come to you. You must get to know your target audience closely and learn how to meet their needs and expectations. The space must work for your clients as well because if it won’t, you’ll have a hard time attracting them. Once you have created a profile of your potential customers, it will be much easier to know where to find them and place your business right where they are.
Get familiar with the community
Before setting camp, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with the community where you plan to run your business. If you’re going to sell your products and services locally, find out if the locals match the description for your target audience and will support your endeavours. That’s the wisest way to predict how your business will be received and how the local community will react to your presence in the area. You can start your research by reading local news and getting in touch with other small businesses that have set up shop in that location.
Think about building requirements
You have found the perfect spot for your company, but what about the building? Unless you’re willing to build a structure from scratch, it’s going to be hard to find a building that fits your requirements like a glove. Most constructions lack the infrastructure to support certain business operations. You might want to consult with experienced estate agents such as the ones from Walton Robinson to help you find a property that will suit your business needs. You’ll want to discuss every important aspect of your business and look for the best option in the area you’re targeting. A local estate agent will know to ask the right questions and facilitate the entire process for you.
Analyse the competition
As an entrepreneur, you must always keep a close eye on the competition. This is also applicable when it comes to choosing your location. Is it preferable to have similar businesses nearby or are you going to do better as the only fish in the sea? It very much depends on the type of business you run. Being close to your direct competition can be a double-edged sword. A retail or service-based business might benefit from it by taking advantage of their competitors’ marketing efforts. On the other hand, if you’re not strong enough to stand out and stay in the race, this proximity will work against you and you can get lost in the crowd.
Traffic and accessibility
It’s just as important for customers to be able to reach you easily. Most businesses will benefit from being in the front line, where everyone can see them. If you’re running a retail business or a restaurant, it’s great to put yourself right in the middle of things, in a place with intense foot traffic. Being hidden away in a secluded spot won’t do your company any good. On the other hand, for some businesses privacy and confidentiality are the priority, so they’ll have to look for a less transited area.
Evaluate your budget
All your plans and dreams of finding the ideal location are nothing if you don’t have the budget for it. Do you have the money it takes to buy or lease a large space for your business or do you have to compromise and start smaller? Prices vary from one area to another, so you’ll have to search and compare if you want to make the right choice. You must think long-term and analyse how the monthly expenses for the location you choose will impact your budget.