Monday, January 18, 2016

Space size and location

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          to help you better manage your small business

     Every business needs space to operate. Even a virtual business conducted entirely on the Internet requires a place somewhere that anchors the business.

     I'm not talking about making calls and contacts as you sip a latte in the local cafe--you still need a space somewhere else. Setting aside a corner of a room at home can suffice, but some small businesses require a warehouse to house the goods they hope to sell. 

     Location: Some businesses can be run out of your garage. Others benefit from a high traffic location. Still others are unique enough that your clients/customers will seek you out, no matter where you are located. And then there are those that only ship--filling incoming orders.

     Consider locating or expanding your sporting goods shop in a farmer's country barn. A used car lot might benefit from being located on a busy thoroughfare, but a travel agency can attract people to a website in your home office. A frozen yogurt operation can do well on a small town's Main Street or in a mall, but a shop that repairs machines can be located in a rural area.

     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 neighborhood in transition--where is it headed? Are there plans afoot to raze the building in 3 or 5 years? Talking with a local real estate professional can 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 to look to your business plan for clues.

     If you are opening a coffee shop, cafe or restaurant, what's the number of tables you need to generate the income you've projected in your business plan? What percentage of the tables can you fill? If you are performing accounting services for clients, how much space do you need as you grow and hire additional employees? 

     If you are a therapist or chiropractor planning to expand into a wellness center in the future, can this space accommodate those plans? Will you need open spaces? A big reception area? A series of offices? Will you be able to expand here or will you be searching again in 3 years?

     Homing in on space size and location is important to your future. It goes to how big a market you plan to serve, how you will attract your clients and customers, who they are and where. 

     All of these considerations flow from your business plan. And your business plan depends first and foremost on the market out there.   

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