You might think that selecting a franchise to buy into is the hardest part of starting your new business venture. Or you might assume that working out the details of the contract is the most difficult step. But finding the right location is such an essential part of any business undertaking that it can be a fairly nerve wracking process. After all, the location you choose could make or break you. Here are just a few things you’ll want to consider before you settle on a location.
The first thing you need to find out is what restrictions have been placed on potential locations by your franchisor. They may not want you located within a certain distance of other franchises as a way to discourage direct competition that could impact earning potential. Or they might not want you to locate too close to industry competitors for similar reasons. Perhaps they have rules about taking a space in a mall or shopping center rather than a detached storefront. These are all things you need to know going in so that you don’t accidentally violate your agreement with the franchisor before you even open your doors for business.
Next you need to think about what factors will give you the best opportunity to succeed. Your perfect location may depend on the type of business you’re running. For example, tax prep services require a different setting than, say, a retail store or a restaurant. But one thing most businesses want is visibility, not to mention plenty of traffic to take notice. As a result, you’ll probably seek out potential locations on busy streets, or better yet, corners fronted by two busy streets. And you’ll want a storefront that’s not hidden away behind other businesses so that passersby will know you’re there.
A good location should also provide easy access for visitors, not to mention ample parking. And of course, you’ll need to make sure it is properly zoned for your type of business. You might also want to see if you can take over any existing permits needed. If, for example, you’re opening a restaurant franchise that serves alcohol, taking over a location that has been such an establishment could allow you to make a deal with the previous tenants, if they are giving up a liquor license. Even if you don’t need such a permit or you can’t get it from the previous tenant, finding a location that was formerly a restaurant could mean that needed items like an up-to-code kitchen (complete with proper water, power, lighting, and more) is already in place, saving you money and time.
Understanding the demographics of the area you select is also important. You want to make sure that there is a strong market for whatever goods or services you are offering. The brand name and reputation of your business franchise will definitely help to bring business in the door, provided there is demand amongst the people living in the area where you open your business. Finding the right business to join at your local Franchise Expo is only the first step in becoming your own boss. There is a lot more you’ll have to do before you can count yourself a success, and selecting a suitable location could just be the most crucial decision you make.