The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.
Location, location, location.
Published on Jan 14, 2010
Read 'Location, location, location.' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
How many times have you heard “location, location, location—it's the most important factor in starting a business.”? So how important is location for your business in an era where people telecommute, shop online, and research just about everything online first before even leaving the house?
It depends on what type of business you have. Obviously if you have a restaurant or boutique retail-type shop, location is critical. Common sense really still applies to location selection if you intend to have a business that relies mainly on foot traffic.
And don't forget that for some properties you may be able to find federal or state grants to open up shop in a rural or underutilized area. Check out the SBA HUBZone site to find out if there are areas near you.
But if you have a more service oriented business or a home-based business -- perhaps you're a handy man, an accountant, a consultant, a freelancer -- you really do have a choice now about weather or not to even have a traditional storefront.
Consider how often you will correspond with your customer electronically or on the phone. Will you go to them or will they come to you, if a face-to-face meeting is required? How much or how little privacy might you or your customer need?
The answers to some of these basic questions will point you in the direction of knowing weather or not you can successfully run your business from your home or if you should look for a bricks-and-mortar local.
There's a great reference article from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension showing the pros and cons of running a business from your home. It provides additional information on why you might actually want to run your business from home at least initially.
Keep in mind that whatever option you choose, it's important to do your homework on potential benefits or restrictions. For instance, although rare, some cities may have zoning laws prohibiting certain kinds of home-based businesses. On the flip-side, you may reap tax benefits from claiming the home office tax deduction.
Determining location is definitely one of the most important steps in planning your business—which is why I recommend that you "research, research, research" all of your options.