When you start a business, how do you choose the location? The answer depends on your type of business, your customer base and how you sell. For some types of businesses, such as retail stores or restaurants, you need a physical location located where most of your customers are. For others, such as service businesses or ecommerce companies, your physical location is less important, and you have more flexibility in your choice. Here are some factors to consider when choosing your location.
What does your business do? Do you need space to manufacture, store, package and ship products? Then you may need an industrial space. Is most of your work “knowledge work,” such as consulting, which takes place on a computer? Then you can work from just about anywhere.
Where are your customers located? If you plan to sell your products or services online, it doesn’t matter where your customers live since they can buy from you wherever they are. On the other hand, if customers must physically visit your location, this can rule out options such as working from home, since many zoning ordinances prohibit home-based businesses that attract too much traffic.
What materials, vendors or suppliers will you require? Do you need to be physically close to sources of product, or to key vendors? For example, if you need materials to produce a product, the cost of shipping them to your location can be prohibitive if you’re located too far away from your sources.
What’s your budget? If you’re on a shoestring budget, lower-cost options such as working from home, sharing office space or subleasing space from another business. or renting a spot in a co-working space could help you save money.
Will you have employees? If you plan to hire employees, you’ll need space to put them, which will require some type of commercial location. You’ll want a space that is configured appropriately for the layout you need, is handicapped-accessible so you don’t get into trouble with local zoning authorities, and requires minimal if any modifications before you move in.
What type of infrastructure do you need? When choosing your location, keep in mind factors such as Internet access, electrical and telecommunications services. For example, some older buildings aren’t adequately wired to handle the needs of a high-tech company. Along the same lines, your home may not have the Internet access speeds you need to run a home-based business effectively.
What’s on the outside? Don’t forget to assess the exterior of any location you are considering. Who are the neighboring tenants, and are they complementary to or competitive with your business? Is there enough parking for employees and/or customers? Is the location near major highways and/or public transportation so employees and customers can get there easily, and if you need foot traffic, is there plenty of it? Are the common areas well maintained and up-to-date?
Clearly, there’s a lot to consider when choosing your location. Carefully assessing all of your needs before you start looking will make it easier to find the perfect space for your new business.