How to find the perfect location for your business

How to find the perfect location for your business. Location-Location-Location!

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How to Find the perfect location for your business. Location, location, location!

The Business Fashion Tips Podcast 

Episode 9

 

How to find the best business location for your business. Location Location Location

Great to have you back. We are going though the top 10 steps needed to starting a business and what you need to know. 

I hope you’ve heard the words location, location, location. If not, it’s important you do get to know why marketing 101 starts with location, location, location.Where your business in located can really effect your bottom line in more ways than one. So in this episode I’m going to go over the top 10 factors that determine how to choose the perfect location for your business.

The worst mistakes a business can make is thinking they can open up a business in any old location.The location of your business is essential for its success. Every business differs in what the needed credentials are. 

1- The first thing you need to consider is zoning. A person can’t just say, “Hey this is a perfect business location and then open up their business right there.” You have to check with your city, county or state on its zoning ordinances. If you do decide to simply open up and business and it ends up being in a district that is not the properly zoned for your type of business, you could get fined and they can and probably will close you down.

Although I’ve found that the names of the zoning districts vary from state to state and even city to city, they basically all represent the same types. There are residential zoning districts strictly for residential homes, there are commercial districts which are typically for shopping malls, hotel office buildings nightclubs, restaurants, etc. There is agricultural zoning which obviously tends for the farm industry. There are historic zoning with buildings typically older than 50 years that are trying to be preserved, there are art districts catering to artists, Recreational zoning is reserved for parks, industrial zones are where you’d find manufacturers. then there is mixed -use where perhaps started out as residential housing but is leading more into businesses and bars. In our county these zones are then broken down in to sections for instance there is an r1 zone verses an r2 zone.

Every one of the zones has certain restrictions for instance, if you own a commercial lot most of the land in our town allowed a business to build right up to the lot line however, if you are in a residential section, you have to build 5-10 feet away from the lot line. With commercial properties, you need to allow space for water overflow, ascetics such as trees, and parking. So each zone has their own codes, conditions and restrictions to abide by and these vary from city to city.

So first, search online for your cities or counties zoning department. There they typically list a zoning map where you will know which areas you businesses qualify to be in.

2- The second thing you need to consider are your employees. Will they have to travel far to get to work. How will they get there. What transportation’s opportunities are available for them? How far are you from the bus line, that could effect how many people you get to apply. If people do not want to commute to get to your building, your price of labor will increase because typically increasing wages will increase the selection of applicants. It’s hard to get good workers you don’t want to limit your supply and demand.

Are you in a safe location? If you hire sewers are they going to want to be working the late shift and risk getting mugged when they get off of work.

Is there plenty of parking for your employees? No one want to walk a mile to get from their car to where they work. Will they have to pay for parking, if so are you going to want to compensate them for parking?

3- Third, how close are you to your suppliers or vendors?
If you have a supplier you rely on for necessary parts being close offers you easy access to them. It also helps to be able to get to know your suppliers better which could mean better terms. And there are less costs in having to have them ship you your necessary supplies. This in turn helps reduce availability problems, quality issues and it takes less time to get to you- and that means your company is able to give better service which in turn give you happier customers. There is an area in NY called the Garment District. Since NY was the largest storage site in the country for textiles, it only made sense fashion manufacturers moved into this area that typically had large open warehouse type buildings, perfect for setting up a factory line of sewing machines. It was also cheap because it started out as the ‘Tenderloin’ district. It was the district of ill-repute and gained it’s name because a police officer once said, he could afford tenderloin for dinner because he received so many bribes from the districts patrons. I guess even even prostitutes have their own business location. It was said back then probably in the 1800’s that , “No upperclassman would dare find themselves in a location such as the Tenderloin”. So this meant cheap land, cheap rent, and cheap buildings, perfect for the low costs needed to support factories.”

Just to note the garment district started to expand closer and closer to 5th avenue (where the elite upperclassman lived). So the city of NY rezoned 5th Avenue to only hold residential buildings. Therefore, stopping factories from expanding into where the large mansion presided. Currently 7th Avenue is considered the center of the garment district. 7th Avenue is often referred to as “Fashion Avenue”. They even put fashion avenue on the street signs because people started to recognize the name fashion avenue more than 7th avenue. Ralph Lauren was housed there for many years but most fashion designers are moving on to new locations. Jill Stuart, (Badge-lee mish-ca) Badgley Mischa and Morgan Lane are still there but many non-fashion related firms are moving in.

4 – Client access: So let’s say you found a spot where employees are happy to work for you and you’re next to your supplier. The next question is if your customer needs to come to you, are you located in a good place for them. I remember I was in a strip mall located to the side of a major mall. However, I found a lot for sale directly across from this same mall on the main freeway. Once I transferred over to the new location my sales immediately increased 20% just from the change of location. People automatically knew where I was because they had to pass my store to get to anyplace worth going to in this city. This really helped with my advertising budget.

5- Is there foot traffic? Can you be seen without having to spend quadrillions on advertising? Then again malls have a ton a foot traffic however, they charge for that which leads us into my next point budget.

6- Which leads me to the next reason budget. In order to survive in business all your expenses have to aline. Can you afford where you are at? Can you afford not to be where you are at? Just from simply changing my location my sales went up 20%. If I was located in the main mall, my sales may have been triple but would I have been able to afford paying 10 times the amount of rent?
Can you afford the rent? Taxes? Utilities. These are all factors, the larger the space, the longer you have to run the heat or air conditioning. Are there government incentives?

7- Competitors: your competition’s location should be analyzed. I’ve often heard to never locate next to a direct competitor, but I happen to disagree with this. Have you noticed how restaurants seem to congregate in the same places. You’ll often see an intersection with a gas station on each of its corners facing one another. Costco often builds right next to Walgreens. Sometimes it’s better to be right where your competitors because if a customer can hit two stores at once in the same area, they are likely to go there first. Or if they are looking for a restaurant, they will look in the restaurant area first. This is why huge malls were so successful all the stores congregated in one area. Remember we talked about the Tenderloin district of NYC where prostitutes hung out. People knew to go there for that type of activity. It later became the fashion district where most fashion businesses kept their factories.

I do understand why many experts feel being next to your competition will put you out of business but on the other hand, if you can strive to be better than your competition, perhaps you will put them out of business.

8- Should you be outsourcing instead. If you’re in need to large warehouse space for shipping, why not look into fulfillment centers. It may cost you less letting a shipping expert do their thing because they specialize in just that one thing, packing and shipping. Your company could then focus on things that are more important such as sales. Fulfillment centers have shipping and packing down to a science and they ship in bulk so your shipping costs could be less. If you only need an office for yourself or a small staff, perhaps checking out a virtual office should be something to consider. You can work from home yet for a nominal monthly fee, a virtual office will provide you with a commercial physical address, a trained secretary to answer your phone calls, your own phone number and rent by the hour technologically advanced conference rooms should you need a place to hold a meeting. They also offer physical office space if you just need a small place to work yet you still get the big office feel with the provided receptionist and conference areas.

9- Next you need to consider the building itself. Do you receive large shipments? If so, do you need a cargo door? Should you be on the first floor for sending and receiving packages? Is the building set up for
high speed internet or other technological advances? Does it have air conditioning so your employees won’t melt? Is there room for expansion?

10- Finally does the space fit your image or brand? Does it reflect how you want to portray your company? It’s pointless putting an art gallery in a meat packing district. Although zoning would probably qualify are and meat together.

So there you have it, the top 10 ways to find the perfect business location.
Let’s review:

  • 1- Zoning – Make sure your in a business district.
  • 2- Employees – Is your space convenient for your employees?
  • 3- Vendors/suppliers – Are you close to your vendors or suppliers?
  • 4- Customers – Is there appropriate customer access?
  • 5- Foot traffic – Do you need foot traffic for exposure?
  • 6- Budget – Can you afford it?
  • 7- Competitors – Should you be near them or away from them what benefits you most?
  • 8- Outsourcing – Should you be outsourcing instead?
  • 9- The space – Does it work for your business?
  • 10 Does it fit who you are, your brand, your image?

Quiz

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