How to Choose a Location

Cityscape view of downtown Boise Idaho

Man's hand pointing on street mapSome small businesses owners work out of their home or conduct their daily business activities on the internet and will never have a brick and mortar location. But if you do need a store front where customers can come to see your wares, the choice of location becomes extremely important.
The first thing to consider is how large a space you will need including some room to grow. Keep in mind that fixed expenses like rent, utilities, and insurance will increase as the square footage increases, so be reasonable in your size estimate. Otherwise, you will be paying for space you don’t need. Next, think about what kind of business you are operating. There are two types when you consider location; destination businesses and those that require the walk-by and drive-by traffic. If I had the best transmission shop in southeast Idaho, it’s a destination business. It could be located just about anywhere and customers would find me because new transmissions are expensive and I’m the best. Destination businesses don’t need to pay the high lease amounts that are associated with a Yellowstone location. But when you consider the typical fast-food restaurant location is critical. Without sufficient traffic chances for success are minimal. Many franchises
look for traffic volumes in excess of 20,000 cars per day in order to approve a site. Traffic flow figures can be obtained from the Idaho Department of Transportation.
Take a look at the other businesses that surround your location. Will they compliment your operation? Will their customers likely be your customers? An example of this would be a flower shop locating in a strip mall that also contains a tuxedo rental store, a photographer, and a jeweler. There are other things to consider when choosing a site. Can the building be seen from the street? What options are available for signage? Be sure you know the details of the local sign ordinance. Is the location accessible from several directions or is there only one way into the lot? What is the speed limit on the street going by your site? The higher the speed limit, the less you will benefit from the traffic flow. Does the site allow for a drive-thru window? Now let’s talk about parking. Parking is critical for any business. Shop owners in major cities like Boston or Chicago pay exorbitant amounts of money for a dedicated parking place for their businesses. Without careful consideration you may find yourself located next to a neighboring business that gobbles up all the available parking for hours at a time. So consider your site carefully. Realtors shout “location, location, location!” for good reason.

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