Starting your own business is such a busy and exciting time - there are loads of things to consider, some of which you might never have thought about before, but one of the most important elements to get right is your location.
The spot you choose could play a huge role in whether your business is as successful as you hope or not and it can be tricky to know where to start.
So, let’s take a look at 10 essentials you need to consider.
The aim of the game in business is to get as many customers through the door as possible, so when you’re finding your location it’s mega important you consider your target customer and whether or not the demographics of your location match up.
For example, if you’re a cafe and you’re targeting office workers are there ample businesses nearby whose workforces could easily nip in for their lunch? A great premises in the middle of nowhere is unlikely to work.
So, firstly, nail down who your target customer is. Think:
Then do some homework into your potential locations to ensure there are sufficient consumers on hand to make your business viable - the local library should be able to help you get your hands on this, as well as search engines, simply type ‘[location] demographics’.
Are you opening a hip and happening real ale bar or a more traditional antiquities store? The style your business is planning to go with is another important element to the location you choose.
An antiquities store, for example, is going to stick out like a sore thumb on a local high street packed full of vibrant cafes and restaurants, and vice versa.
Choose a location consistent with your business’ style and image.
For most businesses, it’s important their premises is noticeable by passers-by and not overlooked or hidden away thus reducing foot traffic and costing sales.
For others, a quiet and undisturbed location might be perfect and heaps of passing traffic and onlookers would be an unwelcome distraction (for example, a law firm).
Factor this in when scouting out locations - a great tip is to spend some time observing the location and quantity of foot traffic at certain times on certain days, before signing on the dotted line.
There are two important elements to accessibility - accessibility for you (and your workforce), and accessibility for your customers.
Firstly, when it comes to you and your staff:
If you’re looking for office space:
You might think you’ve found the deal of the century on an office space but if you operate over the weekends and the block is shut on Saturdays and Sundays you’ll be up the creek without a paddle.
And for your customers:
If parking is extremely limited or costly, or customers can’t travel to you easily on public transport, these are two huge barriers to your potential success and could simply turn people away altogether.
Is there heating and air-conditioning equipment? Will you have access to the controls? Again, very important factors in your decision. If you and your customers are going to be freezing all winter and roasting all summer it might not be the location for you.
Other things to consider include:
What does your competition look like in the local area? Sometimes a bit of nearby competition can be a good thing and actually benefit your new business as you’ll pick up the overflow from existing and established companies.
For example, if you’re a clothing retailer and there’s a women’s boutique down the road, chances are consumers won’t only buy garments from the one place. Equally, the likes of pubs can do well with local competition as consumers enjoy moving from bar to bar.
It could do you damage though if you’re offering something pretty niche and there’s already a successful business doing the same thing that’s trusted by the locals and your target audience. In this instance, the competition will make your marketing extra challenging and might be worth avoiding.
Before you, what types of businesses have been open in the premises you’re considering? Were they successful?
If not, why? Is there an issue you haven’t noticed yet which has led to their demise? Even if it’s just been a spate of bad businesses be wary that the public might tar your business with the same brush simply because of the location.
Do your research and get to the bottom of the history of your chosen location before taking the plunge.
If you’re opening a restaurant, cafe, or bar and therefore intend to serve alcohol, be sure to check if there are any location-specific restrictions in place prohibiting you from doing so, either all together or after a certain time.
If you intend to host live music events, are there any noise ordinances in place which might prevent you from doing so after a certain time? Is the location you’re scouting out close to a residential area?
Reach out to your local council and speak to other local businesses to find out the details and factor this into your decision.
Will your business need plenty of high tech gadgetry? Then bear in mind that many older buildings weren’t designed with this in mind and might not have the infrastructure to accommodate the high-tech needs of today.
You may be able to get permission to have the necessary equipment installed by your landlord, but remember this is likely to be a bill footed by you, so you’ll need to factor the additional spend into your decision.
Top tip: if you’re unsure about this one you can hire an independent engineer to find out for you.
No doubt you’ve already worked out your budget for renting your new workspace, but does it include the potential for additional utility bills?
Some landlords will include utilities into their monthly fee whereas others will expect you to pay them on top, so don’t forget to ask where you stand up front.
If you do need to pay for utilities you’ll be able to get an idea of what to expect from the previous year’s usage and billing summary - you can get your hands on this by reaching out to the relevant provider.
On the subject of location-related expenses don’t forget to factor in any potential parking charges, maintenance costs, insurance fees, etc. when working out your budget.
Before we leave you, we wanted to break down the places you can look for your small business premises:
Once you’ve found the perfect location for your small business you’ll need to kit it out with all the essentials, including payment systems. Here at takepayments, we offer a range of market-leading card machines and payment solutions including our creme de la creme EPOS system, plus we:
Reach out to one of your friendly experts today to find out more.