When drafting a business plan for the first time, most new entrepreneurs place finding a physical location at the bottom of their to-do list. But, although factors like what to sell, how to sell it and the prices to set are essential considerations, where you choose to set up your business can have much more significant consequences in the long run.
A common misstep, especially among sellers that deal directly with customers, is simply picking the cheapest spot available to keep overhead low. But as any smart businessperson will tell you, money comes from sales, and not even the most vigorous marketing campaign or the best public relations record can make up for a lousy location. It is therefore crucial that you take as much time as possible to find the property that will benefit your business the most, both short- and long-term.
- Enough Space
The amount of space you require and how you will configure it will depend on the nature of your business. If you’re planning to open a retail store, for instance, you will need a property that has enough ground area to display your inventory. Don’t make the ever so common mistake of filling up your prime spot with offices and storage areas. Retail space is expensive, so ensure you maximize your return on investment.
Even if your enterprise offers services, pay for only the office space you need. The rule of thumb here is that each employee requires between 200 and 250 square feet of space. While you may want larger rooms if you anticipate hosting clients in the building frequently, the ideal property is that which offers the space your business needs without being a crippling financial burden.
- The Right Neighborhood
For businesses with minimal customer contact in their premises, such as industrial companies and online service providers, the right neighborhood is merely that which is most convenient to their staff. However, if your enterprise sells by interacting with your clients physically, the property you buy needs to be as close to those buyers as possible.
Knowing where your customers are most abundant will require you to do some market research. Pick a neighborhood that has a high population of your target clients, fairly few competitors, and a generally conducive business environment. Local public offices like Small Business Development Centers will probably have the demographic data you need to settle on the best location.
- Visibility and Accessibility
Although modern technology has made very easy to locate businesses, a good number of your first-time shoppers will walk into your store by chance. When acquiring space, therefore, make sure the property is visible enough to capture the attention of potential customers. If you’re opening a breakfast place, for example, you’ll want a spot that is on the side of the road heading into town and not on the opposite block. Also, study the streets around to ensure your site is easily accessible. Dead-ends and one-way roads can extensively hurt your business.
It may seem complicated to find the perfectly situated property, but sometimes, all you need to do is identify a location with a popular, permanent anchor. Setting up shop close to a more established competitor, for instance, can enable you to piggyback on their marketing efforts.
Finding the right space for your business can be challenging but knowing what you want, and the type of property that will best fulfill these wants will make your search much less daunting. The best news is that you don’t have to do all the work by yourself. If you’re in Minnesota, a management company like www.jgmproperties.com can take care of all your property needs while you focus on the rest of your business plan.