Only scout retail locations with plenty of traffic. In the age of online shopping, today’s retail companies thrive in areas where the general public has easy access. That typically means a substantial level of foot traffic, or, if you’re in the suburbs, plenty of other businesses in close proximity. Make sure the retail space you decide to rent or buy is located in a highly populated area where awareness of your brand will be strong upon opening and only improve each day after. A commercial real estate firm that knows your target community and market will know which areas to check out and which to avoid altogether.
Ensure the facilities are up to snuff. When considering a retail space, hire an inspector to closely examine the electrical, plumbing, foundation, and other aspects of the property. Without careful inspections, you could end up in a lengthy lease with lots of maintenance issues that you’re responsible for, taking time and money away from your business. For a larger complex, such as a shopping mall or strip mall, be sure to inspect common areas as well. If you do encounter issues, don’t be so quick to dismiss the property: you may be able to negotiate for repairs or upgrades as part of your lease.
Take stock of your competition. In addition to considering the condition of your retail space and the surrounding property, it’s important to take an inventory of the surrounding businesses. If you’re planning on opening a children’s clothing store, for instance, you’ll want to avoid choosing a location that’s close to a Kids ‘R’ Us or similar big-box retailer that offers similar goods at lower prices. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to attract clients and turn a profit.
Crunch the numbers to determine what you can afford. At the end of the day, the cost to lease or buy a retail space will be the determining factor for your move. During your search for the right space, review your finances to ensure you know what you can — and can’t — afford. After all, establishing your business in the first few months after opening are difficult enough without having to worry about an expensive lease draining your business’s capital. Even after you find the right retail space at the right price, you should continue to track your finances carefully to make sure you’re bringing in enough revenue to justify the lease or purchase.