Q: I’m looking at a couple of different locations for my new retail storefront. It’s important that I have good walk-in traffic, but I’m having a hard time making the best choice?
Everyone’s heard that the key to real estate is location. But what makes one location better than another? I believe the real three things that are important are people, people, and people.
People Factor #1 – Customers
Customers are the #1 people factor to consider when selecting a retail business location. Where do your customers live? Where do they work, play, shop, and dine?
Consider the wisdom offered by Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business. “(The habit loop of) cue, routine, reward – becomes more and more automatic… until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges.”
So while you are building your new business, think about building a new habit in your customers. Use your location as an important cue to trigger the new routine of patronizing your establishment. Is your business a daily, weekly, or monthly habit? Do you want your customers to drop in before or after they visit a nearby store? Can they take advantage of your product or service while they are waiting for something, like a takeout order or an oil change?
Favor the location that puts you in proximity to established businesses that can cue your clientele. For example, if you offer services for children, go for the location that is next door to a popular indoor playground. Remember that in many car-based communities you will maximize this effect if your customers don’t have to get back in their cars to come to you.
People Factor #2 – Employees
The second people factor for business location is talent. You would think in a slow economy that potential employees would be lining up to work for you no matter where you are, and that may be true. But there is always a shortage of high performers.
Ask yourself, who is my ideal employee? Where are they likely to live and what would they consider to be a desirable work location? Look at your choices through an employee’s eyes and assume that the best people will have a choice of job offers.
People Factor #3 – You, the Owner
Finally, don’t forget yourself. As the owner, you will probably want to spend some time at your new store, especially at the beginning. The more convenient the location to you, the more hours you can be onsite with the least pain.
Your physical presence will be a powerful factor in your overall success as certain things will only be spotted and addressed through your direct observation. Don’t underestimate the power of proximity for yourself and consider this factor to be potential tie-breaker.
Jennie Wong, Ph.D., is a syndicated business writer, executive coach, and the author of “Ask the Mompreneur: Small Business Advice on Starting and Growing Your Own Company,” available at www.JennieWong.com. Email your entrepreneurship questions to TheJennieWong@gmail.com.