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.
A: Everyone has heard that the key to real estate is location. But what makes one location better than another? I believe the three things that are really important are people, people and people.
People Factor No. 1: Customers. 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”: “(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 to a popular indoor playground. Remember that you will maximize this effect if your customers don’t have to get back in their cars to come to you.
People Factor No. 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 a desirable work location? Look at your choices through an employee’s eyes and assume that the best will have a choice of job offers.
People Factor No. 3: You, the owner. Don’t forget yourself. 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 on site with the least pain.
Your physical presence will be a powerful factor in your overall success, as certain things will be spotted and addressed only through your direct observation. Don’t underestimate the power of proximity for yourself; consider this factor to be a potential tiebreaker.
Contact the writer: TheJennieWong@gmail.com