Careers & Business

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Choosing the right location for your business

Before opening their doors to the public, business owners must make a bevy of decisions, not the least of which is where the business will be located. A great location may not make a business, but a poor location can certainly break it. As a result, business owners must take their time when choosing a location for their businesses, carefully considering a host of factors long before opening their doors to their first customers.

The elements that constitute the "right location" vary depending on the business, but the following are a few tips for business owners as they look for the right location for their businesses.

* Consider your potential neighbors. Neighboring businesses can help or hinder a business. New businesses owners may not want to open their businesses where they figure to be surrounded by the competition, who may already have a well-established customer base, making it difficult for new businesses to gain their own footholds in the market. But a location where the surrounding businesses are complementary can make it easier for new businesses to develop a customer base.

* Consider your potential employees. Unless a business figures to be especially small, owners are going to need employees, who will need to get to work each day. Look for an area that's capable of providing potential employees. If your business is located in a remote area, you may have to pay workers more to cover the costs of their commutes, and that can stretch your budget. A location that's accessible via public transportation is beneficial in various ways, making it easier for your employees to get to work, and keeping your labor costs down as a result, while simultaneously making your store more accessible to potential customers.

* Look into the safety and security of a neighborhood. Crime rate should be considered before choosing a location for your business. Employees should feel safe getting to and from work each day, and customers should want to come to your location without worrying about their personal safety. In addition, business owners want to be sure their businesses are not targeted by criminals or vandals when they go home each night. A high crime rate also may cause business owners to pay more money to insure their businesses.

* Anticipate the potential for expansion. Business owners must plan for the best and worst before opening their doors, and that's something to consider when choosing a location for your business. If the business takes off, a location that allows for expansion can make the transition from a small startup to a larger, successful business that much easier. A location where space is especially tight may require moving, which can alienate a customer base you worked hard to establish, or require shifting some operations off-site, interrupting work flow, which can have a negative impact on customer relations.

When anticipating expansion, it's also important to anticipate the impact such expansion may have on your need for supplies. A location that's in close proximity to suppliers can make it easier to handle expansion, while that expansion may prove more difficult if your suppliers are not nearby.

* Study the local laws. When choosing a location for their businesses, business owners often know some work will need to be done on a building to make it business-ready. So it helps to understand local regulations that dictate what owners can or can't do in a certain location, and whether the permission process is smooth or figures to bury business owners in red tape. Before choosing a location, study local laws regarding zoning, but speak to local business owners as well to get a feel for the process and to determine if a given location is worth the hassle of gaining all of the necessary permits to make a location your own.

The right location can make all the difference for a new business. But finding the right location requires careful consideration of a host of factors.