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How to Choose a New Location for Your Business

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Starting your own business is an exciting endeavor and the epitome of the American Dream. However, running your business is no walk in the park, and your decisions can make or break you. One of the most important decisions is choosing where to base your business. There are many factors that go into determining the best location, whether you're starting it up from scratch or moving an existing business.

Consider your business needs

When it comes to deciding where to move your business, you should first determine your business needs. Take some time to ask yourself these questions to assess how each potential location will benefit your business:
  • Does this location fit with my brand image? The relationship between the location of your business and your company's image is a crucial factor when deciding where to move. For example, if you own an outdoor apparel/hiking equipment business, relocating to the middle of midtown Manhattan might not be consistent with your brand. You will be more successful relocating somewhere your product is in higher demand.

  • What is the competition like in this location? Potential competition is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding where to move your business. You don't want to move to a location where the market is oversaturated with your product or business model because it will be more difficult to tap into an already-established customer base. Scout each location to see what kinds of businesses are located there and whether they will be complementary to your business or direct competition.

  • Will I have access to suppliers and vendors? Depending on what kind of business you run, you may be dependent on having easy, unfettered access to your suppliers and vendors - the people who provide your business with the products and support it needs to operate. If you move to a location that is difficult for your vendors to access, it can present numerous problems for your business.

  • Will I be able to find the employees that I need? It's hard to run a business without employees, so scouting the labor market is a very important step when choosing where to move your business. If the location you are considering has a weak labor market, high rates of unemployment or a difficult commute for employees, all of these things can adversely affect your business.

Evaluate your finances and budget

Any potential location's cost will also be a major factor. You'll have to consider expenses like renovation projects to convert the space you're renting into a suitable and appropriate office that fits your company's brand and image. You'll also have to consider what the operational costs will be in each location, including what the state minimum wage is for employees, what the rent and utility costs will be, and what the income, sales and property taxes are like for that area.

Alternative options to consider

There are alternative options available to certain businesses that don't quite fit the typical mold. In today's world of e-commerce and flexible business models, companies need not be brick-and-mortar to be successful and find their niche:
  • Using the Internet: There may be no better location for your business than online. New startup companies are popping up on the Internet practically every day. Running your business on the web is a lot more common now than it was even five years ago.

  • Running the company from home: It's also becoming more and more common for people to run their businesses right from the comfort of their very own home. From designing and manufacturing their products to running logistics and marketing campaigns, the Internet allows you to run a company successfully without ever leaving your house. Many entrepreneurs are taking this route and the option of moving into retail or commercial space as the business grows is always an option.

  • Going mobile: The rising popularity of mobile businesses like food trucks have paved the way for companies who are taking their business to the streets. Whether it's in a truck, van or even your own car, staying mobile is a great way to bring your brand and product wherever the demand is and stay one step ahead of the market.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on February 24, 2014

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