Looking for the best location for your business? Ask the right questions
Market research is the key to choosing the location that will help your business succeed. Various factors can influence where you decide to locate your business. Careful research will show that some locations are better than others.
Consider these factors when making your choice:
Zoning: Avoid signing a lease until you're sure that the location is zoned for your type of business. Will any other regulations prevent you from running your business where you choose? Could your plans for signage or a patio be affected?
Expenses: Rent will play a major role in your decision. Taxes are also an important consideration, and depend on the municipality. Are incentives offered to new tenants or new businesses to the area? There may also be advantages to being in an industrial park with similar types of businesses.
Employment base: Can you access the range of employees you need? Is the minimum wage in this area in keeping with your human resources strategy and budget?
Neighbourhood/demographics: Do your customers have safe, easy access to your business? Will the location bring new clients? Study neighbourhood analyses; residents' disposable income and spending potential could influence your decision. Being closer to your market can help you succeed.
Competition/complementary businesses: A cluster of similar businesses can be a destination for customers. However, you might not feel comfortable being too close to your rival. You may want to be near other restaurants if you own a French bistro, for example, but only if they serve different types of cuisine.
Suppliers: Easy access to your suppliers can reduce transportation costs. Proximity to raw materials and uncomplicated distribution can also be assets in terms of supply chain logistics.
Transportation: Can clients and employees reach your business easily by using public transit? Is there enough parking nearby? Is it free?
Municipal services/infrastructure: Costs for municipal services vary – find out what they are before you get any bills. Will there be any long-term construction projects to hamper your customers from accessing your business?
Whether you decide to run your business online, from home or in a commercial setting, research should uncover the answers to many questions about where to set it up. These answers should take you closer to a location that can help your business thrive. Our section on market research and statistics can help you get started.