When selecting a site you should consider the general location, size of your proposed space, neighborhood, traffic patterns, area demographics, parking, physical characteristics and lease terms.
One of the first questions a perspective business owner may want to ask themselves is, “Where do I want my business to be located?”
Choosing a location is perhaps the most important decision you will make, so it requires precise planning and research. It is also important to research and investigate a locations demographics and competition while staying on budget. The fact is, not all locations are the same. Regardless of the product, service or business plan, some locations are simply bad for business.
Perspective business owners should identify their target customers when selecting a site and use that information when developing a business plan. You may want to seek locations abundant with your target customers. Furthermore, you can also research the market size and the target customers’ purchasing power in that area.
When considering suitability of space, some of the questions you should ask include, but are not limited to:
• Is the internal layout of the space appropriate?
• What modifications would be necessary?
• What costs will be incurred to prepare the space for use?
Modifications can result in significant additional costs. If the space is a new construction being built, you should consider and ask, “Can it be designed to suit the specific programmatic and/or design specifications I want and need?” Furthermore, you should also consider any additional costs associated with renovations to retrofit the space and suit your needs.
Another important aspect you should consider when selecting a site is the amount of customer parking that is available. There should be ample parking for your customers and your employees.
Parking lot lighting is another important consideration. Parking lot lighting is essential for many reasons, including security and the safety of your customers and employees. Having exterior lighting could also be an asset.
Another important consideration in selecting a site is competition. You should identify the existing competition in the market area.
You can also analyze the competition by using a free search tool from the U.S. Small Business Administration https://www.sba.gov/tools/sizeup
The visibility of your business is a key factor to its success. In this section, we are not referring to online visibility but rather, we are focusing on the physical visibility of your business.
Great visibility is a strong motivator as it helps to bring attention to your business and to pull people in your doors. Your shops visibility can also be used as an effective tool in your marketing. It is important that the location you choose can be seen by customers as they walk or drive by your business.
You may want to engage in the services of a licensed Real Estate Agent or Broker to assist you in selecting a location.
Commercial brokers can help you find a commercial space and help negotiate a lease on your behalf. Moreover, a commercial broker should be able to show a wide variety of properties that meet your criteria.
Commercial brokers should also know the local market and find the most potentially profitable locations specifically for you. Brokers should also be able to provide you with data and reports on foot traffic, market data, demographics and comparable leases in the specific areas you are considering. They may also know which buildings are available including any restrictions, zoning and whether there is any new proposed development.
If you choose to engage in the services of a broker, we suggest that you do some homework in selecting a reputable broker. It’s important to make sure that the broker’s skill level, experience, professional situation, and personal style will suit you.
Some questions you should ask a broker are:
• Does the broker have experience in the type of commercial needs you need? You may want to ask how long they have worked in commercial real estate, what areas they specialize in, and then explain what your rental requirements are.
• Does the broker know and understand the current market? A knowledgeable broker can advise you on the highest and lowest price you should accept so you can make an informed decision.
• How does the broker receive compensation? You will want to know how much the fees you will have to pay, if any. Most brokers earn their money by commissions. The commission typically increases as the length of the lease, the square footage, and the rent increases. Some charge a fee to the buyer but most commercial real estate brokers offer their services free to you, because they will receive commission from the Sellers broker.
Author: Cheryl Hutchinson, Director of Franchise Administrations
JB Franchise Group, LLC