Thursday, May 22, 2014

Space size, location

     Free daily tips, information and advice for people in small business
     from someone who has been there, done that in several small operations.

     Renting the space you need for your small business can be nerve-wracking. Size, location, image, landlord, cost, length of lease are some of the worries.

     Location: Some businesses can be run out of your garage. Others require a high-traffic location. Be honest with yourself when considering leasing space. 

     Consider locating your new or expanding sporting goods store in a country barn--once you get the word out, your customers will find you, and enjoy the ride in the country. A used car lot might benefit being located on a busy thoroughfare, but a travel agency can attract clients to a website operated out of your home office--most travel clients don't come to an office. A frozen yogurt stand can do well in a mall, but a shop that machines widgets can be just about anywhere. 

     Two things are of major importance when considering location--your business plan for the future, and pertinent zoning regulations. Is there a location impact in your plans? Is the location in a neighborhood in transition? Are there plans afoot to raze the building in 3 years? Talking with a local real estate professional might provide some answers. 

     Size: Some business owners walk into a prospective space, make an intuitive guesstimate about the size, and sign on the dotted line. A much more prudent approach is--again--look to your business plan.

     If you are opening a restaurant, what's the number of tables you need to generate the income you've projected in your business plan? If you are performing accounting services for clients, how much space do you need working alone--and for those future employees you plan to hire?  

     The size of the space must be consistent with plans for the future. Can you grow your business here? Is the size big enough for growth but not so big that the growth will take 10 years? What are the "carrying costs" of leasing more space than you need now and "carrying" those costs as you expand to fill it? 

     Every business requires space--even a virtual business operated entirely on the Internet requires a place somewhere to operate. Translate your current/future business plans into a floor plan that will accommodate today and tomorrow.

     In tomorrow's blog, I'll take up landlord, cost, and length of lease for space.  

     Questions? I retired when I turned 75. You can email me at with your questions. Put BLOG in the subject line so I don't delete. Quick answers from my 40+ years of experience founding and running small businesses. Your privacy is always respected. 

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