It’s true what they say: location is everything when it comes to a brick-and-mortar store. In fact, not paying attention to location is one of the top reasons businesses — particularly restaurants — fail in their first year.
Where Franchisees Go Wrong in Choosing a Location
Before we get into tips for selecting the most strategic location for your franchise, let’s look at a few of the ways franchisees trip up when it comes to settling on space for their businesses.
They Can’t Afford the Rent
Sure, that posh retail area in downtown attracts plenty of foot traffic, but you have to look at the big picture: if potential revenues won’t cover your exorbitant rent, you’ll quickly go under.
They Don’t Read the Lease Agreement
Commercial leases are never in the lessee’s best interest. In fact, most are nearly impossible to break, and you may find yourself responsible for rent payments for years, even if your business closes down.
They Don’t Look at the Surrounding Area
Maybe there’s a similar franchise around the corner or a large construction project that could halt sales for your business. That’s why you’ve got to take into consideration what’s going on around you, not just in the space itself.
4 Questions to Consider When Searching for a Franchise Location
Now that you know common pitfalls, you’re already smarter, aren’t you? Here are a few things to ponder when looking for space.
#1. What are My Needs?
If you need office space, you can usually find affordable commercial space in an office park. If you don’t need a customer-friendly space, you can save dough by not looking in expensive retail areas.
On the other hand, if you do need retail space, how much? Do your customers live in a certain area you should consider?
#2. How Easy is it to Get To?
Another common issue is not paying attention to how easy it is to turn off of a street to get to a business. Is it at a difficult intersection? Would it require people to make a U-turn? Is there ample parking? Will people feel safe in the parking lot?
Customers must be able to easily navigate to your store, otherwise your business will flounder. Make it a priority to find a space that fits the bill.
#3. What’s Foot Traffic Like?
Ideally, you’d attract people who are walking past your business on their way to another. That’s where shopping malls and strip malls are a great asset. But look at the types of businesses: if you run a clothing shop and are looking at a shopping center with a quiet travel agency and a bar that only opens after you close, it probably won’t drive the foot traffic you want.
#4. What are the Lease Terms?
If your eyes glaze over when trying to read the commercial lease, have a lawyer look at it. It’s worth spending a little money to ensure that your rights are protected. Is there an exit clause should your business close or you want to move? Few business owners can guarantee that they’ll still be in operation in 10 years, so work to negotiate a shorter-term lease.
Take plenty of time to choose your franchise’s location, because you’ll be tied to it for years. This is a decision almost as important as choosing the franchise itself, so treat the decision accordingly.