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Location, Location, Location

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 8, 2008

Location is one of the most important, but perhaps least thought about, decisions a small business owner must consider. While there is no definitive answer on how to choose where your business should operate, research has revealed some simple guidelines about what your customers are likely to expect.

•Your location should be easy to enter and exit. If traffic patterns, or medians and embankments, make it difficult to turn in or pull out into moving traffic from your facility, your customers may opt to visit your competitor up the road where there is a turn lane or signal. Such seemingly minor obstacles can inhibit the growth of your business, particularly if you are dependent on drive-by or foot traffic.
•Parking needs to be plentiful and close to the entrance. Parking areas should be clean, well-maintained, and secure. If you anticipate your operating hours will extend after dark, the parking lot and entrance need to be well lit and the building should be in a section of the community where customers are comfortable walking by themselves.
•Customers make assumptions about your business based on your location, landscaping, signage, and architecture. Think about the kind of customers you want to attract and the type of environment that will encourage them to do business with you.
•Before you agree to buy, rent, or build in a particular location, review all of the applicable ordinances. Zoning and land use restrictions can affect your operating hours, the kinds of signs you can display, the number of parking spaces required and interior specifications at your site as well. Does the space you are considering give you room to grow and expand? Does it meet your requirements for storage, shipping and receiving, and warehousing? Will it be a comfortable, pleasant place to work so that your employees are happy and productive?

Charlie Fewell
Charlie Fewell & Associates
Memphis, Tenn.

Reader Comments


May 12, 2008 11:27 AM

I appreciate the great tip. I also suggest considering a concrete parking lot or whitetopping old asphalt because concrete is brighter, cooler, safer and more environmentally friendly than asphalt.
Concrete usually costs less due to rising asphalt/oil prices.
Concrete is 35% brighter with equal lighting.

Derek Caffe

May 16, 2008 11:16 PM

With today's technologies there a lot of new companies opening with no brick and mortar locales yet are regional or local firms. For these types of businesses location, location, location has an entirely different meaning. I say this because I operate such a company.

Owners of such companies (especially startups) should seek to "hitch their wagon to the stars". An issue we have faced is that of establishing credibility as a real company in a 1980's minded community.
We have found the ability to attach our name to highly respected entities to help immensely and require little to no capital. Join the BBB, local or regional chamber of commerce, or strategic alliance with existing firm(s)to move your companies mental location, location, location to that of sketchy internet company to regional industry leader.
Hope this helps someone.

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