You have a great product that you know will sell like hotcakes. You’ve created your business plan, hired salespeople, and obtained your business license. You even have great signage to post on the front windows of your store. But only one problem remainsÃ¢Â?Â¦where to buy property?
Everyone knows that the location of a business can mean the difference between extreme wealth and bankruptcy. If people can’t find your store, or if you’re located in a bad neighborhood, your chances of building a clientele decrease drastically. You know this, but you have deposits, rent, and availability to consider. Where is the best place to start?
First of all, research is the most important step. If you don’t want to spend the money to hire a real estate agent, then you’re going to have to do the legwork, and one of the best places to start is on a drive around your community.
Most of the time, you will find that leasing companies have signs everywhere announcing their properties, and their advertisements will usually contain the square footage. You won’t know a price until you call, but at least you have a starting point from which to work up.
You can also check your local newspaper for classified ads. You can familiarize yourself with the leasing companies in your area and contact other businesses with which they do business. Find out which clients are happy, and which are not, and you can narrow your search from there.
When you are looking at location, you should consider the type of products you sell. One of the best places to set up your business is in a strip center, but you want to make sure that there are no competitors in the same area. Veteran business owners sometimes gamble with competing businesses, but as a newcomer to the industry, you probably want to rent a shop where there are no similar products in the vicinity.
On the other hand, if you choose a storefront that is in the same neighborhood as a competitor (not next door), you are sure to benefit from their marketing strategies. Chances are that they have done their homework on the area, and have directed their advertising at key demographics. This will automatically drive traffic to your store, especially if your prices are better.
If at all possible, choose a location on a busy road, or near entrances to neighborhoods. If your business is on an obscure side street, you won’t see much traffic, and business will suffer. Obviously, busy streets contain higher priced property, but if you can afford it, the investment will be well worth the extra cash. Your storefront should face the road, and not the side of the center or building.
If you are concerned about the demographic, order a demographic review. Find out the median ages, incomes, household make-ups, and other information about the area in which you hope to sell. This way, you can find out if the residents of that area will be likely to shop for your products.
You will want to ensure that your store has adequate parking, and that it is in a safe neighborhood with a low crime rate. If you want people to shop at your store after dark, they can’t be worried about murderers and thieves. If possibly, choose a location with handicapped access so you can cater to all types of individuals.
Another possibility is to look for bus stops and other public transportation zones. Research the sidewalk traffic as well as the street traffic and find out if you will be accessible to both walkers and drivers. You should also inspect property for delivery accessibility, so that suppliers will have easy access to either your front or back door. Zoning is another big issue; check with your city records to find locations that are zoned for your type of product.
When you’ve narrowed down your list of properties, begin inspecting each one for possibly problems. Layout is important, so consider how your store will be set up once you have products and employees. Is there room for a staff room and an office? Will there be adequate counter space? Are there enough electrical outlets, and are they in the right places?
Then, have each property inspected for possible repairs. If the plumbing, electricity, or structure is damaged, then you should assess the repair costs and determine whether the rent price is consistent with damages.
And finally, determine whether or not you will be able to grow at this location. If your business takes off, and you suddenly need more space, will you have to move or are their adjoining properties that could become available? Is the location large enough to display your current product amount, or is it too big for your current needs?
Obviously, there are quite a few factors to consider when shopping for business locations, but it always helps to go the extra mile. Entering into a lease for a storefront location is a big step, and you don’t want to wind up regretting your decision three months down the line.