New Business Basics: Choosing The Best Retail Space

Choosing the ideal space your business can be one of the biggest decisions you make. Here's a few points to consider.

Choosing the perfect retail location, be it adding a new store to an existing chain or opening a brand new retail business, is an exciting endeavor. In addition to the many details revolving around the need for raising operating capital, hiring and training employees, and selecting and structuring inventory, there is also the need to choose a space that will increase the chances for success of the entire operation. In order to effectively choose your retail space, there are several factors to consider.

First, there is the matter of locating near your proposed client base. Businesses that choose to operate in a section of town that is convenient for their clientele are much more likely to turn a profit in a shorter period of time. Many people do their shopping on the way to and from work, and sometimes on lunch hours. Should your location be easy to reach in a very short period of time, the opportunity for building a loyal clientele that think of your store first is increased substantially.

In addition to being easy to find, there is also the need to consider such factors as the safety of the section of town. Will the surrounding area be one that potential patrons can feel comfortable coming to during store hours? This is especially important is your business will be operating into the evening. The streets should be well lit and the sidewalks adequately wide to allow for foot traffic. When it comes to parking, is it available within the immediate area, thus allowing persons to walk to and from your business with a sense of security?



Another factor is the accessibility of your store entrances and exits to all sectors of the population. Choosing a store location that does not afford persons with disabilities equal ability to come into your store limits your potential clientele before you ever open your establishment. Seek a location that has doors wide enough to allow wheelchairs and other conveyances to come into your establishment. If the location does not already have automatic doors with sensor detectors, check into whether or not the owner will have them installed prior to the grand opening of your business. Should the owner not be open to this idea or perhaps not willing to allow you to install them in exchange for a break on the rent, seriously consider other locations.

In like manner, the interior of the site should be such that adequate room is ensured for wheelchairs and other conveyances up and down the aisles of your store. You should also verify there is enough space to allow those same conveyances to move freely within your departments and sections.

When evaluating the overall size of the building, there are two questions to ask. First, is the current floor space enough to launch your business? Second, are there opportunities for adding space at a later date, as your business expands? This additional space may come about from adding to the current building or by leasing or purchasing an adjacent storefront, combining the two spaces into one.

Next, there is the matter of visibility to the general public. Many communities have standards that must be met in reference to the size, structure, and type of signs you may place on the fa├žade of your establishment. As an example, if you want to go with a green and orange neon sign over your entrance, check with local zoning laws to see if they are allowed. You may also want to pay close attention to what the other business in the surrounding couple of blocks have chosen for their storefronts. Should you see that the majority go with something more subdued, seriously consider how important to your business that neon sign will be. If you feel it is very important to the image of your store to go with the neon sign, look for space elsewhere.

While you are looking around the immediate area, take note of how many stores will be carrying the same or similar lines of products as your new store. As an example, if your dream is to open a shop specializing in men's clothing and you have five stores within a two block radius that carry the same brands you plan on keeping in inventory, chances are that your opportunities for profit will suffer during a steady barrage of promotional sales. Find a location where there will be less competition for the items you will be selling.

Finally, there is the lease. As perfect as a location may be in every other way, a lease that places you at a disadvantage will close your doors before you have a chance to establish yourself in the area. Take into consideration the terms of the lease, the degree in which the obligations of both yourself and the owner are made clear, the duration of the lease, and what opportunities you have to renew the lease before the owner will be free to make the property available to other businesses. The lease ideally should include the option of buying the property, and an outline of how this option may be exercised.

Opening a new retail location, be it part of a chain or your own shop, can be a rewarding experience. By careful planning and evaluation, you can ensure your retail space is convenient, safe, easy to maneuver through, and provides goods that enhance the shopping experience for those in the area.

© High Speed Ventures 2011