How to Choose a Location for Your Small Business

Location, location, location. When it comes to choosing a place to set up your small business, selecting a prime location will be an essential part of your plans. Do you go for the hipster hangout on the edges of the city or a busy downtown locale?

If you’re going to have a bricks-and-mortar storefront, as opposed to a pop-up or market stall, there are a few practicalities that you need to consider.

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Get in the zone.

Check that your intended location has the correct zoning for your business type. The city will have maps of retail zones and information about by-laws that may affect what you can and can’t sell, or serve, in the establishment. It varies from city to city but zoning is set at the provincial level — check whether any future rezoning or developments are planned for your chosen location.

Learn how to formalize and grow your business. Check out the Employer Launchpad.

Check out the local area.

You’ve already scoped out the local area on your location search, but now is the time to take a closer look. Who lives there? What are their ages and income? Are they likely to frequent your store or restaurant?

If you’re setting up a restaurant or another business that requires multiple daily deliveries, think about your proximity to suppliers (and how easy it’ll be for them to get your deliveries to you).

Now is also a good time to look at the traffic in your chosen location. Is there a lot of foot traffic or is it close to transit links? Are there enough people in the local area to make up your workforce? Read through this handy checklist from Reuters for more questions to ask yourself before you settle on a spot.

Look for competitors.

Check out the other businesses in the area to see if they complement or compete with your own. Similar businesses can show that your concept works in the area, but you don’t want to saturate the market (unless you’re sure that the area can sustain more of the same). Here are some ideas for researching your competition in a little more detail.

How did you choose your location? Share your favourite tips with us on Twitter!