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Friday, 22 September 2017

ENTREPRENEURSHIP: CHOOSING THE RIGHT LOCATION FOR YOUR START UP

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Choosing a business location at the start-up stage is something i don’t encourage people to do. You can start your business from anywhere and move to a chosen location with time.

We all know that most businesses started from home or by squatting with someone in an office. We may not need a location from the onset, except in businesses that having a location is compulsory. 

When starting a business, explore all options of having a space to start before renting a space to continue. It’s only when all options fail that you will be justified for starting with renting a space.

Choosing a good business location is one of the important decisions a small business owner or start-up will make, as it requires precise planning and research. So you cannot afford to wait to have a location before starting up. It involves looking at demographics, assessing your supply chain, scaling the competition, staying on budget, understanding state laws and taxes, and much more.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right business location.
1. Customers: Is it positioned where your target audience can easily patronize you? You cannot position a guest house in a busy environment and expect customers to patronize you. You cannot open a boutique on a highway where people barely slowdown for side view, and expect customers to patronize you. It is better to open a boutique at roundabouts or areas that are not too reserve.

2. The Space: The space has to work for you, or it won't work. Remember, you're the one who has to work there every day. A wrong space can be really inconveniencing. You can imagine what it looks like being in a place you are not convenient.

3. Brand Image: Is the location consistent with the image you want to maintain? In Lagos, there is this mindset that businesses on the Island are more sophisticated. So, people believe a world class brand should be on the Island. Contrary to that mindset, you can be in some areas on the mainland and run a world class brand.

4. Competition: Are the businesses around you complementary or competing? If they're competing, you really need to sit up.

5. Local Labor Market: Should you need assistance soon or after a while, does the area have potential employees?  How stressful will it be for them to access your business on a daily basis?

6. Plan for Future Growth: If you anticipate further growth, look for a place that has extra space, should you need it.

7. Proximity: Both you and your suppliers must be considered in this instance. You don’t need a business location that will make you travel for miles on a daily basis. Doing that may wear you out in no time. Your suppliers need to be able to find you easily as well.

8. Safety: Consider the crime rate. Are you safe doing business there? There are some cities in Nigeria that GSM card vendors are always crying. Their goods are being snatched from them on a regular basis.

9. Check your Finances: Can you afford the money needed for the kind of location you want? Consider the cost of: Normal and hidden charges, furniture & fittings, taxes and rates and so on.

10. Private and Government aids:  Economic Incentives and others: Sometimes, your business location can determine whether you qualify for government economic business programs, such as small business loans and incentives.  Private financial houses also consider location while dealing with small business owners.

11. Is the Area Business Friendly? Understanding laws and regulations imposed on businesses in a particular location is essential. Find out from people around, to know how the laws in the locality can affect your business.

We once had a lounge in one of the cities in Nigeria. At some point, the crime rate was so high that there was curfew for a period. People were prohibited from moving around from 7pm to 6am. As at when the law was made, someone was renovating an apartment opposite us, to be our rival. He ended up abandoning the project, while we had to shut down after struggling for several months to see how we could adjust; I tell you, the business was very lucrative before the trouble started.

12. You: As the Entrepreneur, how do you feel about the location? Listen, you have to be sincere about this because you’re the one that will be there to run the business. If your spirit or instinct does not accept the place, you need to have a rethink. Sometimes you may be wrong and sometimes you may be right, you never can tell.

CONCLUSION: A poor business name and a wrong location can phase a business out of the market. We need to be wise in doing it so as to project our brand the right way.






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