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?
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Ask yourself these vital questions about your industry



Every small business owner is part of a wider industry, and is affected by that industry to some degree. To help you determine the health of your industry, undertake research to gain answers to the following six industry health questions:

  • Is the industry growing?
  • Where are the opportunities in the industry?
  • Who are the key players in the industry?
  • Are there young, successful businesses in the industry?
  • What are the typical financial results for businesses in this industry?
  • How is new technology being used in the industry?

As a starting point, we recommend searching for secondary data sources using your NAICS code. Also known as the North American Industry Classification System, NAICS is used to classify companies, to collect, analyze and publish statistics, and to provide collective industry definitions across Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Finding your NAICS code

To find which NAICS code matches your company’s industry, visit Statistics Canada’s website to figure out which sector, subsector, industry group and industry your business falls under. Here, you can either browse through industries or search for example activities that these businesses perform.


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How much does it cost to open a franchise?

small business restaurant franchise

Franchisors often charge a franchise fee to be paid at the start of the agreement (either in full or as a percentage) as a deposit. You may have to sign a deposit agreement. The deposit may or may not be returned to you if you decide not to go through with 
the franchise.

For example, in Alberta, this deposit can be up to 20% of the initial franchise fee. However, once you’ve made the agreement, the initial franchise fee can vary from $5,000 to $75,000 — possibly more.

In Canada, the average initial franchise fee 
is $23,000, and covers costs like support, training, franchisee recruitment, grand opening, franchise development and site identification. Generally, this fee is higher the more recognized and established your franchisor company is.

Franchise royalties

Royalties are often due on a weekly or monthly basis to give the franchisor a portion of your sales. These can vary from 0–20% of gross sales, depending on the level of support and services you get from the franchisor. Some franchises don’t charge a royalty fee, but in these cases the cost is often built in through rebates or mark-ups on products or services.

Additional franchise costs

You may have to pay other costs, like advertising fees. Some franchisees have to contribute to an advertising fund for the franchise system as 
a whole. This means that fees from all locations can be pooled into a much larger budget.

You’ll also need an equity investment, which helps keep your franchise location going until you’re profitable. On average, this investment amounts to around $160,000 in Canada.

Other costs that you may run into could include research 
and development funds, leasehold improvements, furniture, fixtures, equipment, supplies and costs of employee training. Insurance costs are often included within the franchise agreement, but be sure you’re adequately insured before you open your doors.

How much do I need to pay to open a franchise?

In Canada, estimated overall costs to open a franchise can range anywhere from $50,000 or less for service franchises to as much as $500,000 or more for more sophisticated franchises. For more information, visit the Canadian Franchise Association‘s website.

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What makes a strong value proposition?

value proposition

A value proposition is a statement we use in business to summarize why a consumer (or business if your customers are other businesses) should buy your product or service. It’s an easy-to-understand statement that explains how a product solves a pain point, communicates the specifics of its added benefit and states the reason why it’s better than similar products on the market. The ideal value proposition is concise and appeals to a customer’s strongest decision-making drivers.

It should always be displayed on your website and in other consumer touch points, or marketing materials. It should also be intuitive and easily understood.

How to write a good value proposition

Value propositions can follow different formats, as long as they’re unique to your company and to your customers. Generally speaking, the value proposition is usually a block of text (a headline, sub-headline and one paragraph of text) with a visual (photo, hero shot, or graphics). There is no one right way to go about it, but we suggest you start with the following formula:

  • Headline. What is the end-benefit you’re offering, in one short sentence? You can mention the product and/or the customer. Build in an attention grabber.
  • Sub-headline or a two to three sentence paragraph. A specific explanation of what you do/offer, for whom and why is it useful.
  • Three bullet points. List the key benefits or features.
  • Visual. Images communicate much faster than words. Show the product, the hero shot or an image reinforcing your main message.

Evaluate your value proposition by checking whether it answers the questions below:

  • What product or service is your company selling?
  • What is the end benefit of using it?
  • Who is your target customer for this product or service?
  • What makes your offering unique and different?
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