Here are some tips to help you choose the right business location.
Determine Your Needs
Most businesses choose a location that provides exposure to customers. Additionally, there are less obvious factors and needs to consider, for example:
- Brand Image – Is the location consistent with the image you want to maintain?
- Competition – Are the businesses around you complementary or competing?
- Local Labor Market – Does the area have potential employees? What will their commute be like?
- Plan for Future Growth – If you anticipate further growth, look for a building that has extra space should you need it.
- Proximity to Suppliers – They need to be able to find you easily as well.
- Safety – Consider the crime rate. Will employees feel safe alone in the building or walking to their vehicles?
- Zoning Regulations – These determine whether you can conduct your type of business in certain properties or locations. You can find out how property is zoned by contacting your local planning agency.
Evaluate Your Finances
Besides determining what you can afford, you will need to be aware of other financial considerations:
- Hidden Costs – Very few spaces are business ready. Include costs like renovation, decorating, IT system upgrades, and so on.
- Taxes –Consider your property taxes if you own or plan to buy real estate.
Is the Area Business Friendly?
Understanding laws and regulations imposed on businesses in a particular location is essential. As you look to grow your business, it can be advantageous to work with a small business specialist or counselor.
The Bottom Line
Do your research. Talk to other business owners and potential co-tenants. Consult the small business community and utilize available resources, such as free government-provided demographic data, to help in your efforts.
Home-Based Business Zoning Laws
Home-based business owners are subject to many of the laws and regulations that apply to other business owners. While home-based business zoning laws have loosened up heavily over the years, there are still some restrictions of which you need to be aware:
- Restrictions on Physical Changes to the Appearance of Your Home
- Traffic Restrictions
- External Effects or Nuisances
- Business Activities – Many zoning codes prohibit certain types of businesses in residential areas.
Zoning laws may vary in different cities and towns. Check with your local planning office if you are unsure whether any restrictions apply to you.