22 Şubat 2008 Cuma


If youve come this far in the business planning process then youre ready to make an extremely important decision: Where will you locate this enterprise? The simple answer is: wherever your ideal customers congregate. For example, if youre opening a hamburger joint, locate yourself right next to or even among the chain stores. Counterintuitive? Yes, until you consider that everyone who goes to the chain burger places already wants exactly what you have to offer. Most of them will opt for the mass-produced products but a significant number will choose the homemade option.

In this case, the big chains are doing the hard work and spending the big dollars to attract customers to you. Combine that with excellent products and service plus some creative means to keep people coming back (and bringing your friends), and youll have a winning combination. Locate yourself in another part of town and youll have to convince people to go someplace theyre not accustomed to going for hamburgers- a long and potentially expensive process.

If you dont deal with customers directly, then you have the luxury of setting up shop wherever you like. For example, most of my clients work with me by phone and email, meaning that I can be almost anywhere. My challenge is locating myself in cyberspace, which I am doing through strategic partnerships and other methods.

Does your business rely on foot traffic? What kind of foot traffic (students, tourists, workers, etc.)? Which part(s) of town have the highest concentrations of the right kind of foot traffic? A friend of mine was considering opening a pho shop in Ashland (pho is a cheap, delicious, and nutritious Vietnamese soup). If you were opening such a restaurant, where would you locate it? If you guessed right across from the college, then Im right with you.

One of the single biggest mistakes you can make when opening a new business is basing your decision solely on size and cost. Sure, you need adequate facilities and there are certainly zoning and other considerations that must influence your decision.

Will your potential locations be able to grow as your business expands? Establishing yourself at one address only to close up shop and move across town years later can be disastrous. I dont care how loyal your customers are, relocating your business will drive at least some of them to seek other alternatives. In this case, opening a second location might be the way to go. Why are you thinking about future needs now? Because your business wont grow unless you plan for that growth.

What if there are no suitable locations? You have several choices. You could opt for a less-than-optimal location that may or may not have the correct traffic or that may or may not suit your needs. Can your business survive under these conditions? Sure. But dont you already have enough challenges even under the best circumstances? You dont really want to lower your odds of success, do you? Actually, many people do indeed set out to fail, but that is a topic for another day.

You could alter your business model to suit the current environment. This can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Just remember that youll need to start the planning process right back at the beginning and take an entirely fresh look at what you want to do and how. Anything less increases your risk.

You could decide to place your plans on hold until the time is ripe. Disappointing? Sure. The good news is that nothing ventured, nothing lost. Yes, you can start a business, but the real question is whether you should. You have full control over when and how you take the plunge. If the time isnt right, then you have nothing to lose by waiting.

Any realtor will tell you that the three biggest considerations in real estate are location, location, location. This rule is even more true for your business. You can buy a house anywhere you want. Your business does not have that luxury.

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