Location, Location, Location! It may seem obvious that location is an important aspect when expanding your business. However, many small business owners do not realize the different ways you can analyze a business location choice to make it more beneficial to your business’s success. Your location is the mecca of your brand, it brings in specific customers, and the surrounding market can include complimentary or competition businesses.
Wherever you decide to expand your business, looking for the right location can be challenging. Many owners of small businesses do not know where to start when looking for a storefront that can successfully represent their brand and bring in target customers. That is why Spatially came up with the Top 3 Reasons Your Business Location Choice Is Vital To Your Success
1. It is the Mecca of your Brand
Whatever your business and wherever the location may lie, be aware that the storefront you choose will be representing your brand. Your brand helps distinguish your business from competitors and will be what your customers relate to when they think of your company. Is your location next to a gas station, hair salon, or retail complex? The Small Business Association agrees that wherever you choose your storefront to be, keep in mind that it will impact customers’ opinion about your brand. If you are a retailer, having a big window can help show some of the products that you sell as well as allowing customers to peek in your store to grab them in.
How the storefront looks and is set up can allow you to engage customers in marketing tactics. Posting flyers, a black board with a message on the sidewalk, or a nice area to put your business name over the door are important things to think about. These may seem simple but you should cover all future ideas before buying into the location, because it could be hard to go back.
Also, the demographics of the community will be influencing your brand perception. Serving in a middle income neighborhood or say a community with many different ethnic backgrounds can determine the different customers that will be attracted to your business. Talking to previous tenants about who was coming into their store and what marketing tactics worked, or did not work, could be a vital asset to your business.
Lastly, does your location represent your vision of the brand. Creating a specific vision of what you want your brand to portray could greatly influence the success of your location. Finding a location that presents this vision will not only make you happy, but the customers who can relate to it as well.
2. Specific locations bring specific customers
As said above, the location you pick for your storefront will be influenced by the local demographics, therefore, attracting specific customers in that area who are interested in your business. However, are those specific customers your actual target customers?
If not, you may be in the wrong location! In addition to demographics in the area, there are some other factors play into whether you are getting your target customers. Accessibility is vital to have near your storefront. There should be parking close by that is a relatively short walk from the storefront. This plays into the foot traffic around you and the walkability in the area.
Walkability is a growing force in real estate and is becoming more valuable by the day. A ULI article written by Mariela Alfonzo presents this importance of walkability by stating, “walkability is no longer something that is merely nice to have or a luxury; it is a key to economic competitiveness”. This “competitiveness” will continue to become a stronger force and small businesses need to keep up with this competition.
Over the past decade, multiple online walkability softwares have emerged for evaluating the walkability of a property, which can be used by anyone! These locate stores, dining facilities, and even parks to rate the walkability of the location based on proximity. Understanding walkability allows you to realize what employees and customers want to be within walking distance of major amenities.
3. Market can be Complementary or Detrimental
Lastly, your business location choice is vital to your success is because you need to make sure there is a good balance of complementary businesses and competition around you. To ensure this balance, you need to first identify the competitors and complementary businesses in the area. Then, do research in the area by asking your neighbors about the local businesses surrounding you. There are not that many tools to help you research this area, so ask your neighbors. They know the area better and can give you important insights and perspective about the community.
In addition, researching the local businesses surrounding your possible new locations is important for understanding the communities’ needs. Say you are an organic food shop, how many similar shops are in the area? Is there a demand for a higher price and quality of food in the community? All of these questions can help you analyze the customers in the area and if your store will fit into the community’s needs.
So, what do you think? You may have already done all of these, or none at all. Either way it is important to realize how vital your business location choice is for your store’s success. Once that is understood, you will be well on your way! Here is a clean overview of what you just read:
- The location you pick says a lot about your brand. Make sure it portrays the vision you have for your brand and company.
- The demographics of the area will play a big part in what customers come through the door. Are you happy with the specific foot traffic? If not, the location is not right for you.
- Ask yourself, is the location easily accessible? Will customers be burdened with the lack of parking in the area? Accessibility equals more customers.
- Think about your target customers. Will your store, in this specific location, lure them in?
- In addition, make sure you identify your competitors and complementary businesses. Decide whether the location’s area can compliment your business instead of suffocating it.