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Location can make, break new business

January 30, 2012

When looking for a location for your business there are many important factors you should consider. 

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Potential small-business owners are faced with many decisions; from how to obtain capital to which bookkeeping software is right for the business. Choosing the right location should be a priority early on.

Does location matter? Not every small business needs that perfect location. If you are a home-based business or a consultant, location may not matter that much. Location is not as important to small businesses that make their living providing a service, as they typically travel to their customers.

However, retail shops and brick and mortar businesses should choose a location very carefully. For these types of businesses, location is a critical element for success.

In looking for the right location, ask yourself what kind of space will you need? Depending on your small business, you may need office space, retail space or warehouse space; or a combination of all three. Consider your specific needs. Do you typically have meetings with your customers? Will you have walk-in traffic? Do you need a sales area?

Before you sign a lease and open up, you should make sure it is zoned properly. You can find out how a property is zoned by contacting your local planning department. It can prove to be very difficult to have a property rezoned, so do your homework.

Think about how your customers will get to your business. Will you have adequate parking? Maybe it would be beneficial to be in a shopping mall or a commercial business park. Visibility may also be an issue. A hair salon may want to be on a pretty side street, while a coffee shop would do better in a heavily trafficked area.

Who will be your most likely customers? Where do they live? Where are they unlikely to visit? These considerations are very important to retailers when considering a location.

Small businesses can benefit from being located close to the competition, because they are already marketing to attract the same customer base, so you won’t have to work as hard. Being close to similar businesses also opens up the possibilities for beating their prices.

Of course, not all small-business owners can afford to set up exactly where they want.

While malls offer some of the best options for retailers, small businesses may not be able to afford that luxury. Determine how much you can pay for rent and still be profitable.

Once you have figured out what area is right for your business, consider whether the particular building is suitable.

Is it easy for your customers to get in and out? Do you have enough area for storage? Will you be able to expand at some point in the future? How much money will you need to remodel or renovate the building?

There are several factors when choosing a location for a small business.

Determine your needs early on, and do plenty of research before deciding where to locate your business. It can help ensure your business will thrive.

“Business Tips” was written by Paul Howard, business development specialist and certified business adviser IV of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact him at

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