GoForth’s 30-question location suitability checklist

small business location checklist

Recently, we shared the seven components of a great business location. Once you’ve narrowed down your location search, ask yourself these 30  important questions to further assess its suitability:

  1. Do the zoning requirements allow for my business type?
  2. What is the condition of the building – are any repairs or renovations required?
  3. Does the location’s layout fit my requirements?
  4. Is the location the appropriate size for my business? (Consider storage, office, workroom, manufacturing equipment sizes, etc.)
  5. Is the location suitable for my daily commute?
  6. Do I have access to all required utilities?
  7. Do the surrounding businesses bring favourable traffic to the location?
  8. When conducting community research, does my target market have access to this location? Is the location suitable for a substantial portion of my target market?
  9. Do the leasing, renting, or buying terms fit my requirements?
  10. How much will it cost, and how long will it take, to get my internet and phone up and running?
  11. Are my signs and outdoor advertisements visible to traffic?
  12. Is the labour force in the area suitable for my staff requirements? Are wage scales similar to or lower than other location options?
  13. What is the local Chamber of Commerce activity like?
  14. Does the location meet my accessibility requirements?
  15. Is parking available and affordable for customers and staff?
  16. Is public transportation available?
  17. Is the location consistent with the image I’ve communicated through branding and marketing?
  18. What lifestyle factors, schools, and community activities are present?
  19. Am I close enough to suppliers and manufacturers?
  20. Can deliveries be made to this location?
  21. Are the costs of transporting goods and shipping to and from this location similar to or lower than other location options?
  22. Are competitors located nearby?
  23. If competitors are nearby, am I confident in my ability to compete?
  24. Is the crime rate in the area tolerable for my business, and are security services available?
  25. What times of the day and week will provide the most traffic at this location? Am I able to operate in the evening and is there adequate exterior lighting to attract evening customers?
  26. What will my insurance cost at this type of location?
  27. Later on, will this location be able to accommodate growth of my business?
  28. How do rental costs and lease agreement terms compare to other location options? Break this down to cost per square foot and compare to your revenue per square foot.
  29. How long is the lease and does this fit with my requirements?
  30. Does the current lighting meet my needs? Are there window displays available? Are shelving units or wall displays provided or am I allowed to install them?
Share this post:

How to find the best small business location

small-business-locationFinding the best location for your small business can be tricky. There are so many factors to consider, such as parking, accessibility, nearby competition, the size of the location, and how well the location will work for your daily business life.

To help you organize your search and narrow it down to the best options, we’ve created two free guides: The Location Checklist and the Location Analysis Grid. You can use these two free PDF documents to help you track location considerations such as:

  • Does the location’s layout fit my requirements?
  • How much will it cost, and how long will it take, to get my internet and phone up and running?
  • What lifestyle factors, schools, and community activities are present?
  • What will my insurance cost at this type of location?
  • Later on, will this location be able to accommodate growth of my business?

And many more! Download our free Location Checklist and Location Analysis Grid for an organized, prioritized location search for your small business.

Have fun!

 

Share this post:

Small business commercial lease checklist

Ready to take the plunge on leasing a location for your small business? Review the following components that should be stated in your commercial lease or rental agreement, and consider your requirements for each. Also consider which of these may give you leverage during negotiations, and which you can afford to back down on.

  1. Names of Landlord & Tenant
  2. Address of the premises
  3. Rent amount, payment terms, late payment penalties and any allowable or scheduled increases
  4. Items included in rent:
    • Description of rental space: square footage, available parking
    • Utilities – phone, water, internet, gas, electricity
    • Taxes, maintenance fees
  5. Lease term – start and end date
  6. Damage deposit requirements
  7. Any representations made (statistics or even promises about certain aspects of the site like foot traffic estimates, average utility costs, competitive restrictions)
  8. Zoning information
  9. Permitted uses of the premises
  10. Subletting terms and conditions
  11. Build-outs – Restrictions on and ownership of additions, modifications, improvements, or fixtures added while the space is occupied
  12. Repairs – terms and conditions
  13. Insurance and security requirements
  14. Non-compete clause (restrictions on leasing/renting to your competitors nearby)
  15. Dispute resolution
  16. Lease termination options
  17. Renewal options
  18. Signing incentives
  19. General legal provisions
  20. Additional rules and regulations
  21. Signatures and dates of signing
Share this post:

A 20-question location checklist for your small business

understanding_target_marketDeciding where to open up shop is a major consideration for every small business owner. We’ve talked about how to perform neighbourhood research and shared the top 7 factors for a good small business location. Now we’d like to help you organize your search even further with our 20-question location checklist to help you find your best small business location. These are just some of the things you’ll need to ask yourself when searching for your ideal small business location:

  1. Do the zoning requirements allow for my business type?
  2. What is the condition of the building – are any repairs or renovations required?
  3. Does the location’s layout fit my requirements?
  4. Is the location the appropriate size for my business?
  5. Is the location suitable for my daily commute?
  6. Do the surrounding businesses bring favourable traffic to the location?
  7. Does my target market have access to this location?
  8. Is the location suitable for a substantial portion of my target market?
  9. Do the leasing, renting or buying terms fit my requirements?
  10. Are my signs and outdoor advertisements visible to traffic?
  11. Is the labour force in the area suitable for my staff requirements?
  12. Does the location meet my accessibility requirements?
  13. Is parking available and affordable for customers and staff? Is public transportation available?
  14. Is the location consistent with the image I’ve communicated through branding and marketing?
  15. Am I close enough to utilities, suppliers and manufacturers? Can deliveries be made to this location?
  16. Are the costs of transporting goods and shipping to and from this location similar to or lower than other location options?
  17. Are competitors located nearby and, if so, am I confident in my ability to compete?
  18. Is the crime rate in the area tolerable for my business? Are security services available?
  19. Later on, will this location be able to accommodate the growth of my business?
  20. How long is the lease and does this fit with my requirements?
Share this post:

How to assess the physical layout of your small business’ location

When scouting out the best locations for your small business, proximity to competition, accessibility to customers and the surrounding business environment are just the tip of the iceberg. The layout – both internal and external – of your small business’ location needs to work for you as well.

For example, you may have equipment or machinery that needs to fit into the space. If you’re running a retail business, you’ll need to think about the “flow” of the store once everything is set up, plus consider room for a till and things like changing rooms. For restaurants and cafés, you need to think about kitchen space and room for tables – not to mention customers and wait staff.

What to keep in mind when considering the layout of your small business’ location

  • How many employees will be in the space at one time? Is there room to swing a cat (so to speak) once everyone’s assembled and working?
  • Does the location give you the storage or warehouse space you need?
  • How can you divide the space between public and private?
  • If parking at your small business location is a concern, is there enough?
  • Do you need a loading dock or room for delivery vehicles?
  • If you run an industrial small business, is the ceiling height adequate for your needs?
  • For manufacturing small businesses or those with major pieces of equipment, is there room? (Don’t guesstimate. Measure – twice!)

Look at floor plans carefully and take a walk around, both inside and outside the space. Consider enlisting the help of an architect, commercial office designer or consultant to help you plan – for the future as well. You never know how your small business layout needs can change in the future!

For more reading on choosing the best location for your small business:

Share this post: