The Beginner’s Guide to Business Locations

The population of the world is nearly 7.8 billion people. And, according to a recent study, over a quarter of them are shopping online–26%!

There is no denying that online shopping is a significant part of our modern-day lives, especially when it comes to companies such as Amazon and Alibaba. 

Yet, there is something about a physical business location that people still love. While online shopping is convenient and easy, people still love to window shop, see and touch the merchandise, try things on, and get a deeper connection to the company. 

That is certainly the case for retail stores and restaurants, but a business location for an office and other non-customer-facing businesses is also crucial. 

You must take your time when choosing a “home” for the business. It is not something you pick simply because you like the space. Far more goes into it to ensure that you get the best location for your business. 

Not sure what those considerations are? Don’t worry. 

To help you in this endeavor, we have created this guide. Read on to find out all you need to know about business locations.

The Basics of Business Locations

Whatever the purpose of the building, it is a physical spot where your company does its work. That could be a retail shop, restaurant, or office for your employees. 

The business location you choose depends on the type of business that you operate.

The location you’d choose for a retail shop has very different requirements than one for a tech start-up. 

Here are a few different types of business locations so you can decide which best fits your needs.

Retail Business

This type of business sells actual goods or services to a consumer for their use. A retail business needs to be somewhere with a lot of foot traffic and a popular spot for people to pass by. 

Retail businesses include restaurants, clothing and shoe stores, stationery stores, candle shops, and more. These are businesses that often rely on local in-person shoppers.

While storefronts in places like the downtown of a city or a mall are great for retail stores, you can also get creative with it and opt for airports, pop-up shops, and, if your business is big enough, a free-standing building.

Commercial Business

This type of business is one where goods or services are sold. Commercial business can mean anything outside of the manufacturing or production of products, as those are considered industrial businesses.

Examples of commercial businesses are real estate firms, engineering companies, insurance brokerages, mechanics, architecture firms, and other professional services.

The space you want for this type of business does not need to rely on heavy foot traffic.

Home-Based Business

With more people working from home than ever, you may find that your home does not accommodate you living and working in it, along with the others you occupy that space with. 

Home-based businesses can be anything from a photographer, graphic designer, other freelancers, and even salons. Home-based businesses vary widely in the type of business they are and what they sell.

As your business grows, you may need to consider a business location like renting office space, a studio, or expanding into a shop.

Mobile Business

Things such as food trucks and pop-up shops are becoming increasingly popular with the introduction of mobile card readers that you can attach to your smartphone. Also, given the current high real estate prices, this option offers a lower barrier to entry than permanent locations. 

Maybe you have a business that would be well-suited to hop from place to place or work out of something like a truck.

Industrial Business

Locations for something like an industrial business are more limited than some of the other types of companies. 

This is because, with an industrial business, you are operating either a manufacturing or a distribution business and thus need lots of space to store whatever you are making and/or selling. Your factory, farm, or other industrial business usually has specific needs for space and equipment that small retail businesses don’t.

You may want to consider a location close to major highways or airports to make transporting the goods easier or one on the outskirts of a town for lower real estate prices per square foot.

In addition, you will have to look at the pollutants that may be a byproduct of your business to determine the distance you need to be from a city center to keep the air safe and proximity to safe disposal.

3 Tools to Improve Business Locations

Since location is such an essential part of your business, you must have the right information and tools to help you find the best location for you. 

Some great options provide you with information to help you make an educated decision on where your business should be located.

Mapcite

This award-winning software platform helps companies access and use location data. It does this by creating custom data sets based on your specific company needs. 

With that information, Mapcite helps transform the data into usable location data to help you determine the best location for your business. 

This tool is ideal for those not well-versed in location analytics and need some help gathering and understanding the information. 

Mapcite also has an app that allows you to: 

  • Search information based on your current location
  • Get new information and images based on your location
  • Set virtual boundaries around areas (geofences) to create “triggers” for the discovery of information

Mapcite offers a free version that allows you limited access to the app. 

It also offers these pricing plans: 

Free. The free plan comes with a shared cloud, up to 1000 data rows, email support, and limited access to the app.

Standard. $99 per month. This comes with cloud storage, between 1,000 and 100,000 data rows, up to five users, email support, and cloud subscription access to powerful map visualization and analytics. 

Company/Organization-Wide. POA monthly. This comes with an on-premises or dedicated cloud, unlimited data rows, phone and email support, and the ability to deploy Mapcite across an organization.

Mapbox Studio

Want to be able to upload and visualize geodata easily? 

Try the new intuitive user interface of Mapbox Studio

This studio offers all sorts of products and features, including: 

  • Real-time maps
  • Ability to design custom maps
  • Data building
  • JavaScript library for vector maps
  • Mapbox tiling service
  • Static maps
  • Search points of interest
  • Movement data

Movement data may be one of the most important parts to look into for your business location. It provides you with up-to-date insights about where the most people traffic is, which will come in handy for choosing your site. 

Pricing for Mapbox Studio is determined by what you use. They have a free tier of every product in their suite so that you can get introduced to it before diving deeper. They also offer volume discounts that allow you to get volume pricing as your usage grows.

To see more information about their pricing, visit here.

Targomo

This AI-based location intelligence platform out of the UK was built to analyze, plan, and predict data about your location network.

With the information gathered by Targomo, you can get a competitive advantage in your business location.

This software integrates sociodemographic data as well as mobility analysis to determine the performance of different stores. It also helps predict how a competitor may impact your business, which can be a great benefit. 

Targomo offers a free option that allows you to use some of the basics of the software, including: 

  • Analytics
  • Free data sets
  • Free reporting 

The paid pricing plans are as follows: 

Free. The free tier covers one user, 10 locations, one project, population statistics, building and infrastructure data, and some analytics.

Pro. From 899 euros per month (around $1,062 USD). With this, you get tools to optimize your network, enhance your location analytics, use in-depth location data, and build powerful reports. 

Enterprise. Contact for pricing. This package offers everything the Pro package does and the ability to replicate your success with geo AI, receive a customized setup, and get data science consulting & CSM.

6 Tricks for Finding Great Business Locations

Now that you have a better understanding of business locations and the tools available to help you find the best location, it’s time to get into some tips and best practices that can help determine what is best for your business.

Know Your Budget

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people start scouting locations that are way out of their budget. 

When figuring out your budget, you must consider more than the monthly rent or purchase price–there is far more to the budget than that. 

Some additional costs you may run into include: 

  • Taxes
  • New equipment
  • Renovations and updates
  • Minimum wage requirements (if you have employees)
  • Utility upgrades
  • Licenses and insurance
  • Vehicle licensing (if applicable)

As you look at the cost of a new site, you have to keep all staffing and equipment costs in mind, as they are also part of your overall budget. Before signing a new lease or buying land, make sure to cost out whatever you need to purchase or spend to get the company up and running in the new location.

Remain On-Brand

You may find a space you love that gets great foot traffic, but does it fit with your company’s brand? 

If you are in the business of manufacturing mid-range sunglasses, you probably don’t want to put your manufacturing headquarters in the middle of a high-end shopping district. 

Be aware of what your brand is and where it would best fit. Look at what other businesses are in your desired location and see how they do or if there is any overlap. Look to your competitors–what kind of locations have they chosen and why?

Take Safety Into Account 

Safety is a major consideration when finding the right location for your business. Whether your business will be retail or a spot for your employees, anyone that comes to your site needs to feel safe. 

In addition to ensuring it is safe for people, you also need to pick a secure location for your inventory that won’t run the risk of burglary or theft.

In addition, think about the cost of security measures like alarms, cameras, security guards, fences, or other things. If you need to implement any, you’ll have to include it in your budget for the location.

Pay Attention to Demand

You don’t want to pick a location for your business that is right next to your competition. Instead, find an area where your product or services is in high demand, which most of the time means a place where your competition isn’t prevalent.

Research the demographics of the areas you’re searching in to see where your target market is, what they shop for, and what competition is nearby. Understanding the market and demand for your products or services is extremely important.

Note Parking

Regardless of what type of business you have (retail, commercial, mobile, industrial), you need to find a location that offers ample parking. Not only does there need to be a lot of parking available, but the parking also needs to be convenient. 

Take into consideration whether the available parking will require people to pay for it. If so, how much? You may want to offer validation if this is the case. 

Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to have access to your business.

Consider Your Employees

Whether your business is a retail store or just an office, you will have employees coming in and out regularly. You want to make it easy for your employees to get to work.

To aid in this, consider a location near public transportation (if available), so they have an easy way of getting to work. This is valuable to employees and may help you in finding higher-quality employees as well.

What to Do Next

When looking for a business location, it is important to have the business’ best interests at heart in addition to those of your employees and customers (if applicable). 

As you can see, many factors go into deciding if a specific location will work, and it’s not a task to be taken lightly. 

To aid you further, one of the first steps to take is defining your company identity. This will help you build the foundation of your business that allows you to grow, which is vital when you choose a permanent location. Here is an article on how you can define your company’s identity

Once you’ve gotten your business location sorted, you can start to think about what you need in the space to make it a place for conducting business. One often overlooked thing is digital signage. Whether you have a retail store or an office, it is important to have signage showcasing your brand and identity. One solution to consider is Telemetry TV. Check out our deep dive into this product here

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