ZoneSavvy's Definitive Guide to Finding a Business Location
We all know the oldest piece of advice when it comes to real estate: location, location, location. Yet, applying this advice isn't as simple as the adage itself, and the ramifications for making a mistake could be truly disastrous.
If you pick the wrong place to live, you may end up with a punishing commute, awful neighbors or other unexpected annoyances. However, if you make a mistake choosing the location for your business, your entire investment could be gone by next year – maybe even sooner.
But don't worry; below are the best resources online for finding the right place for your business. By the time you get to the end, you'll know exactly where to set up shop. From considering your competition to crime to finding a real estate agent, this guide has everything you need for this important decision.
Begin with Your Customers in Mind
Like so many things to do with business, where you decide to locate must be a good fit for your customers. In other words, where would they like your location to be? These resources will help you better understand your market (if necessary) and give you the information required to pick the address they'd prefer.
- Defining Your Target Market
- “Everyone” Is Not a Demographic: A Guide to Target Markets for Small Businesses
- What Demographics Mean for Your Business
- Demographics & Lifestyle Analysis from the University of Wisconsin
- Resources from the Small Business Administration
The Cost of Doing Business…by Location
Of course, no matter where your customers want you to do business, it may not be feasible if the cost of operation there is simply too high. You also don't want to choose a place just because it's cheap. These resources will help you decide your budget and narrow your list of locations based on what you can spend.
- Figuring the Costs of Setting Up Your New Business
- Negotiating a Lease for Commercial Real Estate
- 6 Tips for Renting Small Business Space
- Office Space Calculator – Find Out How Much You Need
- Square Footage Formulas Used in Calculating Commercial Lease Rents
- Search Available Spaces by Zip Code
Close to Competition
Are other competitive businesses located nearby? Having nearby competitors can be good, since consumers learn that a particular area is the place to go for a particular type of business. However, if there is too much competition, attracting customers will be tougher. Fortunately, ZoneSavvy helps solve this problem by recommending locations that have just the right amount of competition.
- 10 Ways Competition Can Improve Your Business
- Why Do Competitors Open Their Stores Next to One Another? [Video]
- 6 Tips for Dealing with a New Competitor on the Block
- Why Restaurant Competition Is Good for Business
Know the Local Labor Market
You've thought about your customers and even the competition, but what about workers? Unless you plan on doing everything on your own, you'll need employees. Before you decide where you're going to put your business, make sure you look into the local labor market.
- Overview of BLS Wage Data by Area and Occupation
- BLS Breakdown of Wages, Earnings and Benefits
- Labor Market Information by State
The Shadow of Gentrification
When it comes to brick-and-mortar businesses, few subjects have become as controversial as gentrification. Is it good? Is it bad? These resources may not solve the debate, but they will help you understand the subject and how it may affect where you do business.
- How Gentrification Works
- How Gentrification Affects Small Business
- 7 Signs of an Up and Coming Neighborhood
- How a Small Business Can Survive Gentrification
Will Crime Affect Your Bottom Line?
Ideally, you could find an area for your business with absolutely no crime, but that's generally not very realistic. Instead, use the following resources to learn how crime may affect your business, what the statistics are for a given location and how you can keep your property safe.
- Crime Statistics Database
- The Impact of Violence Surges on Neighbourhood Business Activity
- High-Crime Reputation May Impact Economic Growth
- Small Business Crime Prevention
Is the Location Zoned for Business?
We're almost to the end of our guide, which means you should have a very good idea of which prospective areas are going to be best for the success of your company. However, before you can cut the red tape and start welcoming customers, the address must be zoned for business.
- Zoning Laws for Small Businesses: What You Need to Know
- Understanding Zoning, Licensing and Permits
- What's the Difference Between Zoning and Building Codes?
- Home-Based Business Zoning Laws
- Avoid Zoning Trouble
Finding the Right Real Estate Agent
Even if you've done everything right up until this point, this last piece is absolutely essential. Choose the wrong commercial real estate agent and, if you're lucky, all you'll do is pay too much. The right agent can also help you with much of the above. Do your homework before you begin looking and you'll be a lot happier with the result.
- The Pros and Cons of Using a Commercial Real Estate Broker
- The 10 Most Asked Questions About Commercial Real Estate
- How to Lease Commercial Real Estate
- 10 Commercial Real Estate Terms Every Business Should Know
- Tips for Choosing a Commercial Real Estate Expert
And that's it! Now that you've made it through this guide, you are ready to pick a location for your business and give your company the best possible chance of succeeding.