Location, Location, Location

Professor Mike “Q” Quaintance, Business Depart Chair at Keiser University, Fort Myers Campus

With the economy improving, many organizations are in expansion mode once again.  The initial decision to open a new physical facility includes numerous considerations, but location is a very important one.  Some of the key factors in choosing a new physical location include the following:

  1. Site Availability and Cost
  2. Traffic Counts and Visibility
  3. Customer Accessibility
  4. Business Environmental Conditions
  5. Availability and Access to Business Resources
  6. Trade Area Mix
  7. Security and Safety
  8. Municipal or Plaza Services
  9. Past Tenants’ Fate
  10. A Location’s Life-Cycle Stage

Variables to these factors make them more or less relevant depending on the industry.  For example, traffic counts and customer accessibility are critical for most retail operations.  High visibility locations can reduce expenses related to marketing and advertising.  However, traffic counts and customer accessibility are less important to service industries that drive to their clients.  Many of these above factors are really questions, which require the organization to conduct research in order to find the answers.

There are many free resources like a municipality’s economic development office, or non-profits like the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center, S.C.O.R.E., and local colleges and universities, which can provide research resources to insecure high quality and credible information.  Commercial real estate agents also have access to a significant amount of information and most will share the information freely if a contractual agreement is made to rent or purchase through the agent.

A lot of local information can be had by simply speaking with neighbors and tenants about the location and asking about its strengths and weaknesses.  It can also be an opportunity to see how neighbors and tenants might work collaboratively with you to enhance marketing and share customers.

One last recommendation, check with the municipality to make sure that the location’s zoning matches the intended commercial use for the space being purchased or rented.  You may also want to see if the impact fees that have been paid by the building owner previously are adequate for your business use.  Checking on these factors prior to signing a lease or sales contract may help entrepreneurs avoid costly and time-consuming issues in the future.

If you would like to learn more about these factors regarding new locations, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected], or at Keiser University, Fort Myers (239) 277-1336.