How to find the right location for your business.

Posted about 1 year ago

Commercial properties are split into five broad categories (which are then split into ‘Use Classes’) – retail, office, industrial, healthcare and leisure. Obviously, each of these categories has a very different purpose, and so the right location for one won’t necessarily be the right location for the other.

There are lots of factors that impact this. For example, some businesses (like those in the retail and hospitality sectors, for example) are very dependent on footfall for their business to be a success. For an industrial unit, however, footfall will be less important when compared to things like transportation and infrastructure will be deciding factors.

The ideal location for a retail unit

To get our heads around this, there are three factors for us to consider:

1. What you're selling

Obviously, the nature of your retail business is going to effect where it’s best located. Customers are more likely to visit convenience stores that are placed in key locations – on their way to work, for example, or close to home, rather than travel to a big shopping centre or high street for everyday items. If you’re looking to hook those convenience shoppers, therefore, you should look for high traffic areas.

On the other hand, consumers won’t mind travelling further for shops that sell speciality items or occasional purchases. These retail businesses are better placed near other shops with complementary product offerings. This is why you find specialist areas like Denmark Street for music, for example, or Jermyn Street for tailoring.

2. How accessible and visible you are

Even if the area you choose for your business is full of shoppers, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to be your target customers. However, if you’re a new, or small, retail business then you might benefit from the foot traffic drawn to an area by larger, landmark stores.

If you’re not near a large residential area (within walking distance), you will need to consider public transport. If you’re in an area where many people drive, parking will be a large consideration. For parking, as a general rule, you’ll need about eight spaces per 1,000 sq ft of space in your store.

High visibility premises will require less marketing, so there is a trade-off to be made between the rent you pay and the ongoing cost of driving interest in your business.

3. Who your neighbours and competitors are

Having competition in the area isn’t always a bad thing – choice is something that most customers are looking for. But too much competition can be bad for your business, especially if those competitor businesses have stronger brand loyalty and market penetration than you do.

So it’s important to carefully consider the businesses in the vicinity of your new location and think about what sort of customers they are already attracting. At We Built This City, we make finding the perfect retail property for your business as easy as possible, just click here to get started.

The ideal location for a leisure premises

1. Understand what your target market wants

You might want to start by asking where your potential customers are headed when they walk past your premises. Are they on their way to work? On their way home? Grabbing a quick bite? Or are you going to be a destination venue? If you’re going after the office worker crowd, then you’re best opening in a bustling business district or close to main transport hubs. However, if you’re opening something that’s more focussed on students, you need to be close to a university or in a popular student area.

2. Who are your neighbours?

For leisure businesses, your competition isn’t only other cafes or restaurants. It’s anyone who sells the same items as you can find on your menu! Even if your speciality is breakfast, if there’s a juice bar or cae next door that offers cheaper coffee, people may be tempted to go elsewhere.

3. Make sure it's accessible to everyone

It’s vital that your business is accessible for customers with limited mobility. Step-free access is important for both wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs. If your business isn’t accessible to everyone, you risk losing customers to businesses that are.

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