The location you choose for your business can be a make-or-break decision going forward.
In Business Centers Make a Perfect First Office I discussed location a little but because it is so important, I thought I’d go into greater detail on choosing a location in general and more specifically to the post I just referenced, how to choose a business center. There is some overlap with a few extra details to consider when choosing a business center.
For the most part, there are three groups that should be considered when choosing a location:
- Customers’ needs and expectations
- Employees’ needs and expectations
- The business’ needs and requirements by law
First off, I want to say this is more about locations for professionals and B2B services than retailers who also need to consider the above. But, there are far more important considerations for a successful retail location. Foot traffic, close, inexpensive parking and customers’ expectations are far more important to a brick-and-mortar retailer. Online retailers have some, but not all, of these concerns to consider.
Addresses Matter More Than You Think
Don’t underestimate how an address/location can change the perception of your business! Some professionals in financial services, accountants, lawyers and B2B services find a prestigious or well known address or building means they are often perceived as bigger or more accomplished and professional.
Employees can also be affected in the same manner because they perceive the building and its tenants or district where it’s located to be beneficial to performing their job. Your sales people don’t want to meet clients in a location that doesn’t present itself as professional.
Another key consideration for location is convenience and distance from local transportation systems and public transit. For many businesses, easy access to highways makes it easier for sales reps to go to customers and customers to come to your location. For instance, for Telsec at 1 Yonge Street, being minutes away from 3 major highways saves a lot of time and inconvenience.
The same considerations are important for public transportation, with the additional factor being how convenient the departure point is. You don’t want customers or employees having to walk too far. This can result in people arriving late and possible stressed out—and in a less-than-desired frame of mind.
Choosing a business center
When considering business centers for your business, all of the above apply as well as:
- Quality of professional services
- Amenities like meeting rooms, seminar rooms, break rooms and elegant reception area
- Varying fees and discounts on upgrades or extra services
Accessing the quality of professional services provided by a business center can be as easy as listening carefully to the way your phone enquiry is handled by the receptionist. For the most part, people use the internet and personal referrals from other entrepreneurs to find a business center. I suggest using the Internet because a good business center will have photos and good descriptions of the services and equipment they provide. The main benefit from the phone enquiry is that you’re able to experience the way the call is handled. Was it professional and did the tone measure up to your expectations? Also, was the call forwarded correctly?
Assess Every Aspect
The next step in the business center assessment process is to tour the business center. During the tour of the premises make note of:
- Is the décor and atmosphere appropriate for your business?
- Can the business center accommodate growth and scaling of your business?
- Are the meeting rooms, boardrooms and seminar/training rooms and other amenities equipped with what you need?
You are assessing the center, but not just for yourself. You must also consider how the center is perceived by your clients. First impressions are formed the second a client enters the building and center. For instance, the expectations of a client coming to an accountant’s office are far different than a client arriving at a digital advertising agency. The latter may be acceptable to a young accountant, but it may not be the best way to impress many of their clients.
A business center that has boardrooms, conference rooms and seminar and training rooms can make your business look much bigger than it really is because of all the different facilities provided. Consider having your first contact with a client in a meeting room, then another in a conference room and still another in a training session all at the same location.
The location you choose for your business can affect the success of your endeavor long—even after you’ve left it. If you make a bad choice, your location decision may have adversely affected your business from the get-go because:
- Employees and customers are less inclined to go to inconvenient locations
- Employees or clients may form a bad perception of your business because of your location
Author: Terry Van Horne has been developing and marketing websites since the early 90’s—as internet marketing manager for one of Canada’s largest real estate developers; SEO for an award winning real estate search engine; and marketing manager for ecommerce stores in the apparel and musical instrument industries. In 2007 Terry developed a YouTube Marketing Strategy for WorldMusicSupply and to date those 300+ videos have received over 30,000,000+ downloads.
In 2010 Terry and David Harry founded the award winning SEO Training Dojo which in its initial year was voted by TopRank users as the Top Private SEO Community. More recently Terry is the Community and Online Marketing Manager for Telsec Business Centres. He is enjoying sharing small home based business information in the community and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter: @terryvanhorne.