How to Choose a Location for Your Brick-and-Mortar Business
5 key factors to consider as you search
Of all the decisions that go into starting a brick-and-mortar business, choosing the location could be the most important one. If you devote a good amount of time and research to the process, asking all the necessary questions, you’ll be able to make a decision that’s right for you and your business. If it’s a franchise you’re opening, you benefit from being part of an established company that can help you through the process. Otherwise, you’ll need to take each of these factors into careful consideration:
In some cases, the city has already been decided for you. You may presently be based in a certain location, or your franchise location has been designated by the franchise company. If you are in a position to choose your zip code, you’ll want to research the population size to make sure there’s a big enough customer base in the surrounding areas. Take into account not only current population size but also recent and projected growth. Also keep in mind that your location needs to be suitable to your employees and customers as well. Make sure the neighborhood is safe for all who will come through your door.
How do the demographics of where you’re looking match up with your likely customer base? Will you be serving young families? College students? Outdoors enthusiasts? How far will they be willing to travel to do business with you? And what are the traffic patterns of this demographic around your location? Franchisees often have access to resources that will help them with this process. If you’re on your own, you’ll want to find a local real estate professional who knows the city and the people who live there.
Does your budget reflect all the costs that go into opening a brick-and-mortar business? Be diligent in doing your homework so that you don’t underestimate the investment involved. This includes everything from the real estate broker and build-out fees to utility upgrades and zoning hearings. Ask yourself if you can save some money with a less accessible location and still have a thriving business. Or would a prime location in the center of town be worth the risk involved with an expensive lease? Is the location close to where you live? Or do you need to factor in some commuting costs? If you’re not in the center of town, will you need to spend more on advertising to get people to your location? If you’re not part of a franchise, you’ll want to have a good lawyer who knows the right questions to ask in negotiating your lease.
As far as site specifics, here is just a partial list of questions you’ll need answers to: Is there sufficient space for both employee and customer parking? Is the site easily accessible? Is the area zoned for your type of business? Is it convenient to where you live? Does it meet your layout requirements? Is there adequate exterior lighting to make it safe and easy to see at night?
Believe it or not, it’s generally a good idea to choose a location close to your competition, for a variety of reasons. If they’ve experienced success where they are, you can benefit from the marketing knowledge they’ve already paid for. Also, when you’re close to your competition, you’re both vying for the same traffic and the same business, and it’s likely that multiple options will attract more customers to the area. You’ll just have to do what it takes to outsell your competitors! This isn’t to say that you don’t need to make your own assessments of the property; this knowledge will be useful to you as your business grows.
If you’re looking for a franchise company that will help you through this process, Mathnasium Learning Centers provides its franchisees with a Field Support Specialist who will work with you to locate the best possible location in your territory as well as help you open for business as quickly as possible.
Mathnasium gives its franchisees the systems and training which allow them to stay on top of their business, so they’re able to have a balanced schedule and manage the demands on their time. If owning a math-tutoring franchise interests you, connect with one of Mathnasium’s Franchise Development Executives to learn more. Mathnasium is North America’s leading math-only supplemental education franchise. With more than 1,100 learning centers worldwide, Mathnasium has been ranked on Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of top 500 franchises 16 times since 2004. To contact Mathnasium for more information, click here.
Sally Lauckner, “How to Choose a Business Location,” NerdWallet, 2020
Steve Schultz, “5 Steps to Choose the Perfect Franchise Location,” Supporting Strategies, 2017
Karen E. Spaeder, “How to Find the Best Location,” Entrepreneur, 2022