10 things to consider when looking at where to locate your business

May 21, 2014 3:52 pm

‘Location, Location, Location’ is as important a mantra when looking to find a business location as it is a home, if not more so. There are so many factors to consider. Normally businesses will seek locations that maximise revenues and minimise costs. Within those broad aims come a range of considerations that need your close attention. Whether you’re a start-up looking for your first commercial premises, or an established business seeking to relocate or add to your existing locations, these are perhaps the 10 most important points you need to analyse:

  1. Close to market – This may not be your top consideration, but certainly in the case of retail, perishable goods and some professional services, you need to have a local market. Look at demographics of your location and check for competitors. If they’re there, it’s a sign that there is a market – but of course, you will be competing with them for it
  2. Transport and communication links – You might consider transport and communication – which could include the Internet – separately. An IT or service business where the Internet is the main delivery medium will certainly want a robust and cost effective connection, and possibly a local data centre for convenience. On the other hand, the ability to reach your markets quickly with transport will keep your costs lower
  3. Availability of appropriately skilled staff – Industries that rely on a skilled labour force need to consider nearby colleges and universities to assess if those skills will be available. If your business has very specific needs you will almost certainly need to think about transferable skills and further training
  4. Local living costs – Locating to an expensive area will likely cost you more in rent, rates, wages, parking and even utilities. If your business needs a prestigious location then these are costs you might be prepared to pay. Otherwise, do your research and add up your likely costs
  5. Availability of land and property – Bricks and mortar might not be at the top of your list, but at some point you need to find that ideal spot! Check with local property agents and the authority’s economic development department (or its equivalent) to see what’s available. This infographic explores property options in more detail.
  6. Local supply chain – If you can source your raw materials or components locally, you can likely reduce costs and make your supply chain more convenient and effective. Your research should include assessing the local economy to see if you will be able to find the ingredients you need nearby
  7. Government Initiatives – There may be support available to help you with your research, the search for property and employment of local people. Many initiatives have the latter as their focus – if you can prove you will create local jobs, more support is likely to be available for you
  8. Finance and grants – The availability of loans and grants for capital investment could be a significant factor in your decision to locate in a particular location. Different areas have different programmes available to them, especially in the form of EU development programmes
  9. If you’re a retailer, look your competitors in the eye – Counter to what you may think, many experts agree that the best place for a retailer to be is closest to your biggest competitor. Piggyback off their popularity and marketing efforts. Just be brave enough to offer something a little different and stand out on your own
  10. Quality of life – This might seem like a ‘softer’ consideration but its impact could have far reaching implications for your business. Employees that enjoy a better life out of work are likely (though far from guaranteed!) to give more to their job

There are other factors you will need to consider, but by covering these 10 bases at least you can be sure you are being diligent in determining where to locate your business.

What research have you done when looking for a business location? Did it pay off? We’d like to hear your views.

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