Try our 30-question small business location checklist

So you’ve found what appears to be the perfect location for your small business. Not so fast. First, ask yourself these 30 important questions to make sure it’s the ideal location for you:

  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 window displays available? Are shelving units or wall displays provided or am I allowed to install them?
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