When it comes to choosing where you’re going to set up your new small business, there’s lots to consider. Are you looking for a busy, high foot traffic area surrounded by other businesses vying for the attention of your customers? Or are you a destination business that you know your customers will jump in the car to visit?
If you’re looking to open a bricks-and-mortar shopfront, here are a few things to think about.
What’s your zone?
No matter where you’re setting up in Australia, land has a designated zone that tells you how it can be used — residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural. This is decided by local councils, which means that different states and territories may apply or regulate zoning differently. Before you pick your spot, check in with your local council to confirm the zoning of the property and also any future rezoning or developments that are planned for the area.
How’s the area?
Your business plan helped you work out who your target customer is and what makes your product or service unique. Now it’s time to apply these ideas and take a closer look at your local area. What are the customers in this area going to be like? What’s their age or income? Are they likely to shop in the local area? Good touchpoints that will help you assess the foot traffic in your chosen location are proximity to public transport stops, the number of local offices or corporate centres in the area, and proximity to other major business destinations like shopping centres or food courts.
If you’re setting up a cafe or coffee bar that needs multiple daily deliveries (say, milk, coffee beans or freshly baked butterbing cookies), you should also consider proximity to your suppliers, and how easy it will be for you to accept deliveries.
Competition can be good — and bad
Will your local competitors complement or compete with what you’re offering? Other businesses similar to yours can show that your idea works well in the area, but be careful about saturating the market (unless you’re confident that you can bring enough new customers to the area to sustain more of the same).
A great way to check up on local competition is through Posse, which is an online community that lets people collect and curate places they love and want to visit. You can use Posse to search for other small businesses like yours in the local area, which will help you get an idea of the competition, how popular they are and what their fans are saying about them.
How did you choose the location of your small business? Share your favourite tips with us on Twitter!