Choosing a New Location For Your Business (6 Questions to Ask Yourself)
It’s just as true in the corporate world as it is in the residential; when it comes to choosing a new location for your business, it all comes down to three things: location, location, location.
You’ve decided that it’s time to move your business to a new location. But how do you know when you’ve found the right home for your company? These 6 questions will help you narrow down your options so you can find the perfect office or storefront for your business.
1. Where Are Your Customers?
Unless you’re Amazon (and probably not even then), your demographic is never “everybody.”
Take some time to narrow down who your preferred customer is and where those people go to buy products like yours. If you sell upscale jewelry made from recycled material, you’d probably fare best in a Park Ave. storefront. If you’re starting a cafe where you want people to stay and chat, downtown is probably not your best bet (most customers there want to grab and go).
Do you rely on foot traffic? You’ll want to move to where there’s lots of it, perhaps Downtown. Do you need tons of parking? You’ll want to find a place with a large (and free) parking lot (probably not Downtown).
But e-commerce and virtual businesses aren’t necessarily exempt from this either.
Businesses tend to attract other like businesses, which is why you find areas like Silicon Valley or Wall Street, where all the businesses skew toward a certain industry.
In Central Florida, this might mean moving your business closer to Disney if you’re involved in the tourism industry. Or it might mean moving closer to Restaurant Row if you’re in the food business. Even if you sell exclusively online, it can send a message to your customers that you know where all the action is…and you’re right in the middle of it.
2. Where is the Competition?
Sometimes it’s best to be away from your competitors, but sometimes it can be a smart move. (There’s a reason why eateries and stores tend to group together.)
In a mall, for instance, part of the appeal is that your customers can easily walk in between stores to compare features and prices. You can capitalize on this by setting up shop nearby and taking advantage of all the existing foot traffic.
Whether or not this is a good idea all depends on the type of business you’re in, however. Take a good, hard look at your company and your industry when choosing a new location for your business.
3. How Fast Is Your Business Growing?
An expanding business is usually the first indication that you need to move your business to a new location, but you don’t want to outgrow that new location before your lease is up.
If your business is growing by leaps and bounds, try to find a place that will meet your needs long-term. Factor in the length and terms of the lease and look at your company numbers. Where will your company be at the end of that three-year lease? If you think you’ll need four cubicles by then instead of two, don’t bother looking at the smaller offices.
On the other hand, you’ll want to be realistic about where your business is headed. Just because you’re growing now doesn’t mean you’ll be able to afford purchasing a whole new building. Rather than get foreclosed on five years down the road, it’s best to grow slowly and steadily.
When it comes to choosing a new location for your business, hope for the best, but keep the worst-case scenario in mind.
4. What’s the Customer/Employee Experience?
Your employees and customers are what make your business possible, so it’s important to give them a great experience if you’re want to keep them around.
While you’re looking for a new office or retail location, think about any potential obstacles that might make things difficult for them. Will the new office have enough space for everybody? Will your employees and customers feel safe going to your storefront every day? How far will your employees have to commute to the new location?
A potential company location might have great rent or a cool lobby, but that doesn’t mean everybody will be happy with it. When you’re choosing a new business location, make sure you see it through everyone’s eyes.
5. What Features Do You Need?
If you’ve already begun your search for a new location, you already know that not every office space, warehouse, or storefront is created equal.
Which is great, because every business has different needs as well. So, when choosing a new location for your business, think about what features you need.
Do you have specific zoning requirements? Would you need to do any renovating or redecorating to make the space workable? Is the building wired for your telecommunication or internet needs?
If the location doesn’t have the features you need, you’ll have to factor in the costs (financial and otherwise) of adding it in. You might find that the work and money involved pushes the prospective location out of the running.
6. What’s Your Brand?
Whether or not they have a logo, website, or location, every company has a brand.
Your brand is how you are seen in the industry and what your customers think of you. What’s your chosen demographic? What’s your price point? What’s your company’s story? All of these things make up your company’s brand, including your office or store location.
Think about the experience of walking into a Starbucks. You have a certain color scheme, furniture layout, decor…just the feel of walking inside evokes certain emotions or sets a mood. Now, think about walking into a Dunkin Donuts. It feels different, doesn’t it?
There’s nothing wrong with either of these businesses; they cater to different crowds because they have completely different brands.
You have to consider your brand (or image) when choosing a new location for your business. What do your customers expect when working with you? What feeling do you want your employees to have when they come into work every day? What feelings do you want to evoke?
If you’re trying to market yourself as a budget hair salon for overworked moms, a swanky, downtown location isn’t gonna hit the mark. A retail space near a Publix would be a much better option.
Your business meets a need in the community like no other company can. So, make sure that you take that same approach when choosing a new location for your business.
Think about how each potential location fits your needs regarding your customers, employees, brand, and your company as a whole.
And when it comes time to move, call Cento Family Moving & Storage for a free estimate. We’d love to help take your business to the next level.