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If you build it in the wrong place, they won’t come

Local Business

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Right business, wrong place. | Stock photo
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“Location, location, location.”

It’s one of the oldest mantras in real estate, a time-tested lesson that implies if business owners don’t pick the proper location to open their business than they’ve already lost the fight to stay in business.

For many types of business, this advice sounds painfully obvious. If you’re a restaurant, a coffee shop, a gym, or any type of service industry, location is the lifeblood of your business. If local customers can’t easily find or buy your product, you’re sunk. It’s that simple.

But “location, location, location” is an essential tenet for other types of businesses as well. For business owners interested in owning their building, the right location can make all the difference in the growth of their investment.

Knowing your neighborhood

It’s important to consider how the rules of a particular neighborhood will impact your prospective location.

If a company invests a great deal of money into a beautiful office building, the owners will want assurance any future neighbors will adhere to the same standards and will not negatively impact property values in the area.

Protective covenants are covenants, conditions and restrictions (or CC&Rs) that are often put in place by real estate developers to help determine the use of a development, business park and even residential subdivision. Created to protect property values, protective covenants can also help protect businesses. With protective covenants in place, business and building owners have a good sense of who their neighbors may be.

A significant benefit in researching locations with good protective covenants is that these areas are typically well maintained and popular with potential customers and employees.

Convenient access and ease of travel

Easy access seems like a no-brainer, but so often it’s overshadowed in the planning process by other factors, such as lower building costs or cheaper property.

But the fact is if your employees or customers can’t easily get to you, they won’t.

A good, centralized location does a lot to encourage a sense of unity and improve morale among employees. A poor location or having employees telecommute can decrease their sense of camaraderie and purpose.

Customers want you to make it easy for them to do business with you. A way to ensure ease of doing business with a customer from the beginning is to provide convenient access to your location.

When considering how access to your location impacts your customers and your employees, ask yourself:

  • Is there nearby access to a high traffic highway or main roadway?
  • Is there adequate parking? No one likes walking a long distance from their car to a storefront.
  • Have you considered friendliness of the location to pedestrians and cyclists? Are there paved sidewalks nearby? Bike lanes? Is there room for a bike rack?

Proximity to amenities

Employees of large companies likely have access to a variety of amenities, such as an on-campus restaurant, gym or in-house entertainment.

But the rest of us rely on other businesses nearby to meet those needs.

Having convenient amenities, such as walkability to dining and access to services, can be appealing to employees, thus helping businesses recruit top talent. When business owners think of a location, access to such amenities should be on the checklist.

Examine your proximity to amenities by asking yourself:

  • Are there restaurants close enough for employees to grab a quick breakfast, lunch or a coffee on the run? Can employees walk to these places?
  • How about after hours? Can an employee conveniently run from work to the gym or yoga studio? How about to a local bar for drinks with co-workers?
  • Are there gas stations nearby? How about other convenient shopping option?

These amenities aren’t just a benefit to employees. If you are near a hub of service industries, you are far more likely to draw customers who are already nearby using those services. Your proximity to amenities your customers are also likely to use will increase the likelihood they will choose you over a competitor who set up shop in a less desirable, less convenient location.

It may be tempting to rush learning about the area surrounding your prospective location. But keep in mind a mistake here could doom your business before it opens its doors, so doing your research into the potential benefits of a location such as covenants, access and amenities should be considered well worth your time. What you know about where you are could make the difference between failing and thriving.