We have numerous business owners ask the question “what are some things I need to consider when searching for the best location for my business?” We decided to turn it over to our friends at the YEC to get their input and advice from their own experiences.
What is your best tip for identifying the perfect location for your business/startup?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council. Founded by Scott Gerber, the Y.E.C. is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The Y.E.C promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.
A: Be seen and heard!
Find a location that has the built-in marketing advantage of visibility. Foot traffic, depending on the type of business, is great and so is signage that’s visible to passing cars and visitors. Being near other established businesses can be a great opportunity to share what you do and invite them to become customers.
A: Save money on overhead
My best tip for the perfect location for your startup? The lowest possible overhead! Another alternative is to take advantage of shared office space- you can do this on a month to month basis, and you are not signed to a lease. I highly recommend this alternative especially in your first 2 years. Save money on overhead because your business will be inconsistent in the beginning.
A: Consider the Costs and the Resources
When figuring how the perfect location for your startup, think about the costs of doing business in certain places, as well as the resources available in certain areas. You might notice that while rent, cost of living, and employee salaries are higher, you get access to more customers, things you enjoy, and talent for your business.
A: Go wherever makes you happiest
Warren Buffet made billions from Omaha. Tim Ferris works from the beach. Of course, some startup hubs are conducive to web 2.0 startups, but I think the biggest determining factor between success and failure is the quality of work being founders put in. And to me, I’ll put in my best work wherever I’m happiest working. You’re never more than a flight or a Skype call away from someone anyway…
A: Where’s the Best Quality of Life?
If you’re going to be spending the majority of your time at your new venture, you want to be close to places that you and enjoy and provide a high quality of life. While Silicon Valley may look appealing, would it really be the best fit for your business and lifestyle goals?
A: Find Balance
When considering a place to build your empire, think about the other life factors that matter, really matter, to you. For me, it was all about balance – the work I do is fast-paced, constantly moving, and extremely engaging. Being in Nashville allows for a slower pace when I’m away from the job, enabling me to come in relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated each and every day.
A: Wherever YOU want to be
That’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur today. Yes, there are a few businesses that require a specific location, but truly, not many. Start with the goal of making a mobile business and anywhere can be home. Make sure to surround yourself with creative people wherever you choose.
A: You Get What You Pay For
Location is by far the most important thing in the bar & restaurant industry. You could have the best concept or chef but if your customer can’t find you, you’ll be known for having the most under-performing restaurant meaning, you won’t make it. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is by far the best advice when choosing the right location a restaurant location. High risk = high reward.
A: What can you afford?
There is no such thing as perfection. There are “close to’s”, but overall if you can afford San Fran or NY, you have your answer. If you can’t afford it, then you stay put and grow your business before relocating.
A: Ask those already in the industry
The first step is building social capital in your selected industry. Reach out to those who are doing something similar to your startup. If you can’t speak to the company leaders personally, many times a passionate employee will still be able to give you general feedback about the industry. Survey each person about global/national hotspots, their future predictions, and why they feel this way.
A: Be Where Competition Is!
Too many entrepreneurs sweat over finding a location where there is no competition so that they can enjoy some ‘monopoly’ advantage. Doesn’t work that way. Be close to competition, in the retail market, so that you can sell to both your clients & of competition’s when they are just browsing. Better to pay higher rent in a high footfall area than to pay lower rent & run out of business eventually.
A: How About Everywhere?
Corporate office spaces increase overhead and tend to make every employee feel like they are “working” every day. If you’re private and small enough to do so, consider working remotely. With all of the online apps and cloud services available today, productivity can actually increase with everyone working in different places. On top of that, you can live wherever you want, which is very nice.
A: What is Important to You?
The world is flat. Technology has about abolished any barrier to doing business globally. Locating your business today should be more about you (the entrepreneur) and less about the practical. What geographic area or city makes you happy? The success of your business (especially early on) is a direct result of your energy, passion, and work ethic. Pick a location that energizes and renews you.
A: Check Your Airport Options
Basing your business outside of the biggest cities can be a good choice, especially if you need to bootstrap the business. But you can’t be too far off from those cities, especially if you are going to need VC or similar help. So check the local airports. If you can get a direct flight any time you need it, you’ve got the freedom to work where you want.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The Y.E.C promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.