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What should I look for in a business location?

The type of business you choose to operate will affect the specific factors you must consider when looking for a location. Some businesses need high visibility and high foot traffic, while others may not even need a sign. If you are operating a retail outlet, visibility, pedestrian traffic, and available parking may be crucial to your success. However, if your business is highly specialized (e.g., violin restoration), customers may go out of their way to find you after they learn of the service that you can offer to them.

Some of the considerations when choosing a location include:

  • Do you need a separate facility? Should you own it or lease it?
  • Are there any environmental restrictions that may apply to your business if it locates in a particular area?
  • What are the zoning laws?
  • Does your business lend itself to an industrial park, a downtown district, or a rural location?
  • Will the local government (i.e., city hall, county clerk) require a permit or taxes to operate in a certain location?
  • Are there additional costs associated with certain locations, such as higher rental rates, or higher income or property taxes?
  • What are your likes and dislikes about locations that you patronize? Try to look at potential locations as a customer might.

If you are planning to run your business from your home, remember to check local zoning requirements. Some communities do not allow businesses of any type (not even private piano lessons) to operate in residential areas.