Choosing A New Location For Your Business

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

There are many reasons why a business might need to find a new location, from the redevelopment of their existing building to simply outgrowing the capacity of their premises.

Whatever the reason, location can be a critical factor in business success and it pays to give it careful consideration before signing the lease or purchase agreement.

Whether you're a professional services firm or a retail business it is just as important to choose the right location. Location can have a large bearing on many factors ranging from foot traffic to the well-being of team members to the clients’ perception of the business.

Let’s assume you need a new location. Relocating is costly and you simply can’t afford to get it wrong or you’ll be stuck with the consequences for a long, long time.

Begin by doing a good analysis of your old location. What’s good about it and what’s not so good about it?

What have your clients and customers told you – about things like parking, access, the surrounding neighborhood and how easy it is for them to get there?

Talk to your team and get their input. What is important to them? Sometimes even the proximity of shops selling fresh coffee or sandwiches can be important when you’re there every day.

Cost is the most obviously factor for any small business. Can the business afford it? Can your employees afford it? Is there public transport or free parking available?

Your team needs to be able to get to and from work in a reasonable amount of time and at a cost they can afford. Transportation plays a key role in the decision making process when people are choosing where they want to work.

Technology is an essential factor these days and needs to be given its fair share of attention. Make sure the new location has access to the technology needed to run your business effectively.

Get to know the area before making any irreversible decisions to move your business into it. Go online, subscribe to the local newspapers, walk around and visit local shops and other businesses.

Are you near vendors? Are there new vendors you could establish relationships with? What about competitors? If you are the fifth pizzeria on the street, you aren’t going to win that battle.

Even “perfect” locations can have a history of failure. If you’re looking at a location that has seen the demise of several businesses consecutively, you need to find out the cause. If it’s been a perpetual restaurant failure, that’s a deal breaker for any restaurant.

Perhaps it’s just not a good place for a restaurant. The history is important. Don’t think that just because your business has been successful, you can change the mentality of the entire community around the location.

Look at the condition of buildings in the area, the cleanliness of the streets. Even the lighting, at some point you and your team may be arriving or leaving in the dark. Safety is increasingly important, Is there security on the premises?

When you do finally move, start by planning everything out well in advance. Moving a business is a major endeavour. It takes twice as much time as you’d anticipate and will eventually cost twice as much, so work out every possible detail before you start unplugging the PCs for the move.