News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 24, 2011

Location, location, location: Choosing a spot for business critical

Heather Penney
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — Do you need a life preserver? Poor business or decrease of revenue might just be due to your location or lack of proper location. In virtually every marketing class, the 4 P’s are taught: Price, Product, Placement and Promotion. Place typically refers to where the business or company is located. The location is critical to service and retail based companies who require a store front. But keep in mind, location is more than merely selecting a building. Listed below are a few things to consider:

• State — Income taxes, sales taxes, and regulatory issues. Each of these can vary from state to state.

• City — Rent, availability of labor, taxes, regulations and local government economic incentives.

• Part of town — Commute required? Image of that part of town consistent with the vision of the business? Rent can vary greatly depending on location within city limits.

• Location relative to parking, streets and other businesses — Does your business need to be visible? Easily accessible to pedestrians? Automobile traffic?  Or do you need to be located next to a strategic partner business so you can draw off their clients?

• Type of location — Office space? Retail? Warehouse?

In addition, when you consider location you must also strongly contemplate how important it is to you because you are the one who has to work there daily. In regard to your customers, remember that with no customers you have no business, and with employees you must be able to attract and retain valuable employees. Some other items to consider are strategic partners and potential investors/buyers.

As you narrow down your options here is a final list of things you must answer for your location:

• Cost — Can you afford it? Can your customers afford it? For example, is there free parking or do they have pay?

• Convenience — Is it easy to find? If you are dependent on traffic, then you will need an easy to find location.

• Safety — Is parking nearby? Is it well lit? Security?

• Prestige — Will the location add credibility to the business? For example, locating a company downtown?

• Traffic — Retail and restaurants love it, offices do not.

• Facility requirements — Do you have special needs? Are you ADHA compliant? Meeting space?

• Zoning — Most cities have strict zoning requirements. Be sure to have your space inspecting by the Zoning Department as well as local fire code officers.

Remember the importance of keeping all the above in mind for your location. As you can tell, it is very important to identify what you need, what your customers need, and how to not only meet your needs but also those necessary for the success of your business. Before selecting a location, you must answer a complicated web of questions. Researching your industry, the community and the business itself will make this a bit easier as you identify potential areas or spots of interest. It will be one the most important decisions you make for your company.

Heather Penney is the regional director for Indiana State University’s Indiana Small Business Development Center.