Locating your business for success

Your business location can be critical to your success.  Careful consideration of all of these factors should be made before deciding on a space.

First and foremost, you should think about the location you want for your business.  For existing business, you may want a location near your existing client base, or an area into which you want to expand.  New businesses may want to look at demographics, potential growth areas and local competition already in existence. A good business plan will help fine tune your needs.

Traffic flow
Is your business dependent on many people driving or walking by?  Retail businesses and restaurants, for example, need a consistent flow of people in and out to be successful.  A busier roadway may make sense if the increased cost in rent outweighs the potential revenue.

Mall or strip mall locations can be beneficial if your business would attract buyers in other nearby businesses.  The costs can be substantial in a conventional mall setting, while strip malls can be more reasonable.  

Locations with potential clients living or working nearby should also be considered:  i.e,. a stand-alone building in front of a large subdivision could be a great location for an accountant, day care or a Montessori School.

Although signs may be present from a previous tenant, don’t assume you can erect a similar sign. Sign by-laws can vary greatly from municipality to municipality and could have been amended since the last tenant was in the space.

Check with the municipality to see what is allowed for a particular location. A local sign company can offer some interesting solutions for your particular needs and can be a great source of information.

Parking is a must for those with clients or customers that come and go.  If not a concern for you, you may be able to negotiate a favourable lease for space that may be perfect for you, but not for other types of businesses.  

Another thing to think about is the ease to enter the parking area.  Some customers could find it difficult to enter or exit and bypass your establishment for one down the street that doesn’t have that issue.

Type building & Utilities
As a rule, the lease rate is higher on a newer building than an older one in the same area. If the building is older, it may require more repairs and the utilities may be more expensive due to older equipment and poor insulation. Be sure to factor in these expenses into your total calculation.

When negotiating your lease, clarify who is responsible for the snow removal, building taxes, trash and repairs.  A misunderstanding in these areas can greatly increase your costs.

Home based
Don’t overlook the place you know best- your home.  Many businesses have been started in the basement, den or garage of a home and have grown into a prosperous business.  If your business is one primarily from an office, or is not disruptive to the neighborhood, it may be feasible to start there.  

Check with the municipality regarding uses and permitting requirements and your insurer to be sure that your office contents, equipment and business liability is covered.  Once you have outgrown your home office, you can reevaluate your needs once again and find that perfect spot to grow your business!

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