Choosing the right location for your business

How is your current business address performing? Is it helping or hindering your growth? You may not need to look for new premises just yet; but you never know what is around the corner.

Expansion, end of lease, investment or relocation or any number of landlord related issues may see you looking for new digs, and it is critical that you choose wisely. It seems a pat statement, but all companies are different. When looking for a new property it is best to decide which category your business fall into beforehand. Really understand how your business has grown or changed since you opened the doors.

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What does the next place have to offer you? Do you need a bustling high street? In an affluent part of town with a high level of tourist trade? Or a quiet side street for your boutique pet products? Or are you wholesaling large bulky feed items where the industrial estate or trade park is king?. Is your business traffic mostly ecommerce where value over footfall is the most useful feature?

Whatever the driving force for your commerce needs, many a business has been caught out with a lengthy contract, paying large sums for something completely unsuitable for the required purpose.

Things to consider in your pursuit of the right premise:

Passing traffic – Do you need high footfall and inquisitive shoppers? Or are you on the main line for standardised bulk purchases?

Ease of deliveries – If you are dealing with regular large and bulky deliveries then it goes without saying that you need to check the local area doesn’t have noise restrictions, that lorries can easily access without causing any disruption to your visiting customers and that the local road network can cope with your added traffic. Many a proposal has died because the deliveries couldn’t actually get through.

Correct price – Something people need to understand is that price is dependent on your need, not on your wish. If you need shop frontage and high footfall you’ll already know you have to pay for it through the nose.

You might wish you could have one of those little units down on the trading estate, but your high priced products just will not sell there. Always remember, higher rent areas = higher business rates. Sometimes getting a good deal on the rent can be destroyed by inflated rates. Do your research; these costs can cripple a small business not ready for them.

Landlord – How available is you landlord going to be? The responsibility for the building will likely fall to them, so if you get a break in, flood damage, or in the case of a store I used to manage, a car flying in backwards through the front door which narrowly missed several members of the public.

Facilities – Do you employ a team, you’ll need rest facilities. Possible recruitment in the area.

Always have an eye on expansion. What if you quadruple your turnover in the next 12 months? Do you have access to a local workforce who can step in? If your business is likely to appeal to those who can’t drive, is there a good public transport network?

Thinking about a premises with these things in mind will allow you a much better selection of candidates in which to choose from. If your business is going well you will need to consider this at some point. It’s always better to have a plan formed beforehand.

Emergency cover for breakdowns – How easy will it be for you to get tech support out if your systems go down on a Saturday afternoon? You’ve just launched a bank holiday discount code for your online store at your peak annual sales weekend and your server pops. Where is the local tech company?

Parking for customers – If you are a store or a destination then parking needs to be easy for your customers to load up their purchases or offload their pet.

Ability to put signage up – Some retail parks or town centre areas can be very tightly controlled as to what is and isn’t allowed. You can bet that a listed building will not allow any signage outside and that the council will regularly patrol.

Local network – does the local business support and endorse you? Is there a need for you in that area? Are there networking opportunities? Will you put the nose out of a competitor brand with your move?

Finally, always remember to update all of your online address details. Many customers per day rock up to premises to find it empty three years because the company moved, but didn’t remember to tell the internet. That’s money out the door.

Keep an eye on the local properties to rent. Get to know the best commercial agents. They might just start looking for the right property for you.

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