How to Evaluate a Location for Business Potential
Purchasing a brick and mortar location for your business is a big step. Your location will serve as a real-world visual representation of your business. With all of the hard work you’ve put in to get to this point, you want everything to be perfect. There are some key factors you should take into consideration when evaluating potential locations for your small business.
Before we get to the building itself, let’s start with the location. First, is it safe? If your business is located in a part of town with high crime rates, nobody will want to go there. Customers will surely avoid you, and your own employees may not feel safe. Make a quick call to the local police department to learn more about the crime rates of any location you’re interested in.
Once you determine a location is safe, the next thing to think about is convenience. Is the building visible from a main street? Is it located on or near a high-traffic area? Are there other good businesses nearby that will help generate some traffic? Find a location that is as convenient as possible for your customers.
The commute is also important. As the owner of the business, you’re likely to spend more time at your location than anyone else. Is the commute reasonable? Consider morning and evening traffic. While the proximity to your home is important, your employees’ commutes are also something to take into consideration. If the majority of your staff lives in one city, it doesn’t make sense to sign a lease in a different city.
Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for in a location, let’s move on to the building itself. Start with the look of it. Is it consistent with the image you’re trying to project for your brand? Remember, if this is your one and only location, it’s going to make up a large part of what people think about your business. Inspect the building and ask lots of questions to determine the condition it’s in. If you have to make a bunch of repairs or updates before you can even move in, you may want to consider looking elsewhere.
Is the building big enough? It may be fine for now, but consider the next several years. If you meet your goals with regard to growth, will this location still work for you? How will the layout work? Is there enough parking for your staff as well as your customers? Is it convenient for deliveries from suppliers?
It can be hard to say no once you’re convinced you’ve found the perfect location for your business. Don’t let your excitement get in the way of reason. Whether you’re leasing or purchasing, read through all of the terms of any agreement before you sign. Is the cost reasonable? Are the terms satisfactory? If so, make your move.
Even if you haven’t made a final decision, you’ve done well to get this far. This is what being a small business owner is all about. To learn how we can help you continue to grow and manage your small business, contact a small business specialist at a First Bank branch near you.