As in real estate, the well-worn, but nevertheless accurate maxim, “location, location, location” holds very true for your business as well. While you might be able to survive a bad employee, surviving a bad location is very difficult. So pick smart, but remember this too: not all businesses need to pick a dynamite location. For example, janitorial services, direct mail companies, or lawn care services really don’t need to worry about their location since drop-in business is not their business model. A restaurant, however, needs a good location. If you have a retail establishment, consider the following when choosing a location:
Ideally, you would like the site to be near some centers of activity. For example, a business owner who operated a chain of carpet stores benefited greatly from being located across the street from malls. He figured that he got the benefit of the mall’s advertising and traffic, but without the high rent of actually being in the mall.
Where is your competition located now? Fast-food restaurants often like being bunched together, but print shops usually like to be the only one in the neighborhood.
Make sure your potential location is visible from major roads.
You need to be sure that there are no restrictions in the lease or the law that will limit your ability to post adequate signs for your new business.
The spot must be zoned for your type of business.
Is there adequate parking? Is there a bathroom for the public?
Make sure that the place is landscaped well, has adequate outdoor lighting, and has appropriate businesses nearby. Many locations may have all of these questions already answered, shopping centers for example. While a shopping center or mall can be a great spot for many franchises, and indeed are, you must weigh the benefits against the aforementioned high cost of doing business in that location. Especially as you start your new business, you want to be conservative with your finite start-up capital. I am not saying don’t go to a mall, but rather, if you do, be sure that you will be able to make a profit.
Other than that, remember to have fun. Starting a business is a great adventure and picking a location is something you should remember fondly for years to come. Good luck.