Location, location

– does it really matter where I choose to set up my business?

Article features in the August 2008 edition of the Australian Business Solutions magazine.

Author: Nicola Barnard

The short answer is ‘Yes’. Depending on the type and logistics of the business the location will have varying degrees of significance and impact. A retail business that requires passing traffic will need to be located in a main street, and in a suburb that it’s target market passes by, is convenient to get to and has sufficient parking. Alternatively, if it’s a business that trades mainly via the internet and provides products by post or courier, the actual physical location won’t matter unless it impacts on delivery time and communication response time. The question that really has to be asked when assessing location is: ‘Will this location satisfy my desired marketing/sales goals and does it support the Brand?’ There is no point in putting all your blood, sweat and tears into running a business in a location that doesn’t attract enough customers, the desired target customer or confuses the customer because the location sabotages your ‘message’. If your product or service is high end, then the business needs to be seen in an ‘affluent’ location. If the product or service is marketed as ‘luxury’ then having it located in an industrial estate will not support the brand. When choosing a location, you need to put yourself in the customers shoes and use all your senses. Is it easy to get to, does the streetscape look appealing, do other businesses adjoining your location complement your business type, do they have shabby décor and signage. Having enough parking space can be a major issue for some, and depending on the type of business, suitable facilities like a clean accessible toilet and a comfortable and attractive reception area are issues to address.

A short note on home-based businesses, as it is a growing trend. Using a home office is fine if you have a separate phone line and clients don’t come to you. If the location of your home suits your target market and the type of business, consider creating a separate, professional looking office suite at the front of the property that is physically and mentally separate from the house. This suits businesses such as suburban beauty salons, health therapies and coaching practices. For other business practitioners that work alone, consider a serviced office in a business district or less residential location. You will be perceived as more professional, stable and successful. Some use coffee shops for meetings. If the business is a personal advisory or coaching service then it is usually fine but it’s not as professional as a private office and you cannot control the noise and environment as effectively.

If you are taking over a premises that has previously been occupied, check out what the previous business did, how long they were there and why they are moving. I see many locations that have tenants come and go because it wasn’t the right location for the type of business, wasn’t signed and decorated appropriately or wasn’t marketed effectively for that specific location.

If you want to be smart you can decide on a location by who else is there. You can save yourself some effort if your target market is already going there. Also, by associating yourself with other businesses of the same ‘perceived’ caliber you will gain a similar reputation just be association. Why make life hard if you can make business run more smoothly and more quickly with the right location choice.

 

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