The right location can make or break your business. A prosperous and thriving city can secure a reliable and dedicated audience for your venture. Also, local entrepreneurial networks and resources can greatly benefit you in your growth. Whether you are launching your startup or expanding it, you want to examine crucial aspects of a possible city to make sure it fits your needs.
Analyze Your Space Requirements
While businesses have become increasingly “virtual,” consider your own needs for space and research suitable locations in your potential cities. Can you successfully operate from your home or will you need space to store, manufacture, or sell a product? Are you establishing a strictly online store or is there a brick-and-mortar location that local customers can visit? Will you start at home, and then transition to a retail spot if necessary?
If you are searching for a customer-friendly space, research high-traffic areas within a city. High foot traffic in a mall or downtown business area can almost instantly grab an audience’s attention and provide immediate marketing opportunities. However, the rent for these spaces can be astronomical. If your business requires manufacturing or warehouse space, then you will need to evaluate the utilities, the availability of loading docks and truck space, and possible outside storage options. Determine how integral location is to your business’s image and potential appeal to customers. A studio apartment could meet one entrepreneur’s needs, while an arena-sized showroom might be required for others’.
Calculate Potential Costs
Based on your business, cost analysis can be intimidating, but your effectiveness and efficiency will greatly benefit from it. A retail or service business should analyze cost in comparison to traffic patterns, parking availability, and the space layout. Utilities, taxes, and maintenance might be prefigured in some areas. In checking out spaces, look for shared common spaces, like restrooms, break rooms, and entryways. Details like these can impact your customer “draw” and employee satisfaction. While your objective is to keep costs low, consider that more affordable options might not include services like snow removal, building maintenance, or updated facilities.
Examining labor potential and cost is also critical. Labor cost to a service company can be greatly influenced by the availability of the specialized skills required to operate. Can your design, production, and transportation needs be satisfied locally? Many communities work to entice new businesses to provide employment opportunities and income to their local government. However, if your business requires technology or skills that aren’t accessible, you will need to weigh those costs carefully.
Research Community Support
Your decision will, undoubtedly, depend on the quality of life that a city offers. You want your personal and business residence to exist in a community that supports business growth and plans for prosperity accordingly. Investigate whether a community offers incentives to new businesses in terms of taxes, grants, or other means of funding and resources. Keep in mind that a local university or tourist attraction can boost your potential for a solid and diverse customer base.
You need to also look at your practical needs in terms of logistics. Do you require outside labor or delivery resources? Is overnight delivery needed — and available — near your potential space? Consider your need for specialized services, such as legal and accounting specialists, as well as any skilled laborers or contractors you need to construct your vision. While many metropolitan areas will offer a variety of services, you might have more limited resources in a smaller community, despite other costs being reduced.
Know Your Customers’ Needs
Customers desire quality and convenience. In assessing your possible location, these should be priorities. Do customers have access to your location? Is parking accessible? Do you plan to establish multiple locations in an area to serve your customers? A city’s possible growth can be planned around by acknowledging its distinct business districts. Inconvenient travel, even across small distances, can limit your customer appeal. Research crime statistics within the community to guarantee your customers feel safe and welcome in your space.
If your customer interactions and sales are mainly online, make sure you can send packages in a timely manner. Access to freight carriers is key. It might seem simple, but also research your Internet service providers, networking options, and tech services. Even if you are primarily an Internet-based business, your local marketing strategies and community awareness can still be greatly impacted by your location.
Examine Local Government Regulations
A city’s hope and support for new business correlates with its tax codes and governmental organization. State and local taxes can be significant in selecting a location. In researching a location’s business priorities, look at government regulations, zoning ordinances, and additional fees levied on businesses. Most local governments desire new business for potential job growth and tax income, but some locations might only seek smaller companies that target the local customer base. You’ll want to weigh your possibilities for expansion in comparison to a city’s attitude toward “big business.” You want to find a community that supports you, and that you support in return.
The most important thing you can do when evaluating new locations is identify the issues that are important to your operation. Every business is unique in its needs. Create a worksheet or database to track your research and preliminary locations. Making a decision regarding your new space can be a very complicated and stressful process, but proper reflection on what you envision and what a community offers can make that transition and new opportunity all the more exciting.
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