30 days to Becoming an Entrepreneur: Picking a location for your business

Where should your business be located? Urban, suburban or rural? Busy intersection or strip mall? These are some of the things you’ll need to consider when picking a location. Before you decide any of these things you need to narrow down the geographic location.

Where are your competitors? Note areas where there is a gap in service. For The Woof Room, we made a list (which was short) of the areas that were not served with a dog daycare and board facility. We were not interested in starting a dog daycare and going head to head with a competitor. We wanted to ensure our success and growth so were targeting under-served areas. There were only 2 or 3 cities without a dog daycare already, so we began the long process of trying to find a space. You should take a map of your metro area and use push pins to note where competitors are located. That will help you identify gaps.

Market research is important. Once you have your possible areas, do a little research on them to make sure they have your target market. There might be a reason the competition isn’t there. For example, individuals looking for dog daycare/boarding typically have higher incomes. So, I looked at census data on household income within 3 and 5 miles of the prospective area. This will help determine whether the market we aim to serve is in our prospective area. Use the information you put together from your market research to help you in picking your location – you’ll regret it if you don’t.

Lastly, use common sense. Obviously being on a busy road is a good thing. Try to find a location that has good visibility on a highly trafficked road with easy highway access and ideally proximity to large nearby attractions. With The Woof Room, our location is on a highly trafficked road (anywhere from 20-30% of new clients “saw us driving by”) only two blocks from several popular restaurants and 1/2 mile from a large, busy shopping mall.Remember to be patient though. It’s hard to find the “perfect” location. It takes time, don’t settle!

Good luck hunting for your location!

Next, Applying for SBA/Bank Financing – the nitty gritty details.

Photo Credit: Terence Faircloth

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