For your business to thrive, location will go a long way in supporting you and your business. Just like finding a place to live, finding a business space should take sufficient time and thought. Perhaps even more. Imagine investing hundreds of thousands into your business only for it to fail because the location was not ideal? Imagine having a successful business for a while only for you to relocate it to its death? You need to come up with a list of qualities beforehand so you know what you are looking for when you go on your walk around. Below are some elements to focus on.
How much room would you need for your business? How much space would be enough for your business operations to go on without a hitch? What kind of space would you need? Some businesses can do fine with the first, second or even third floor of a building. Others require the ground floor of a building. You should consider this. What kind of business are you running? What would work best? While you do keep in mind that in some buildings the ground floor storefronts might be more expensive than the upper floors.
This is a very important thing to have. This is a business expense and not a personal one. The aim of a business is to have low expenditure and high cash inflows. If you go about haphazardly without having a cap on how much you can spend you may end up making a financially detrimental mistake. The budget should strike a balance between how much is feasible for the business and the amount for the desired type of space. You can go online to look at spaces similar to what you would like in your locations of choice. The rents on these spaces should help you come up with a realistic figure for your budget. The rent should be something you can manage even when you are only breaking even. This is a particularly important point for new businesses. That executive space in Upperhill is well and good but can you manage it financially or will you be evicted and need to downgrade within two months?
You should be able to reach your target market. Here is an example; would you find an LC Waikiki shop right in the middle of Kenyatta Market? Probably not. This is because the target market might not even have the directions to Kenyatta market. From there the upscale shop would not be able to reach their target. Their target customers might consider the brand dialed down if it found a home in a low caliber area.
As mentioned above, a brand affirms its position and status by choosing a fitting location. In the example given above, the store would look misplaced if it was found in a place like that. Clients might even consider it low class for that. Take a brand like Carrefour. They have their stores in high-end malls. They attract higher-level clients due to their locations and lower-income people with their affordable prices.
A business is like a child. If it is nurtured and provided with a good environment and resources to grow then it will. If not, it will stagnate and then die a slow painful death. You should therefore, choose a building that will support your business’ expansion should it be required. You should be able to take up an extra room without having to move to new premises. You should also look at the surrounding businesses. Some landlords will not allow there to be many similar businesses. For example, there is a building in Machakos where the landlord says that one cannot open an MPESA shop in the building as there are already too many. They do this to ensure that the available customers are not divided among too many shops. Competition is healthy but at some point if poorly managed it is designed to cripple.
This is another incredibly important element. You want your business assets to be safe in the space. You want to be safe as you work through the day. You want your clients to feel safe as they walk into your place of business. You should scrutinize the measures the landlord has taken to secure their building like a security company as well as systems. Often the cost of this will be tucked in the agreement where you either have to pay an amount every month or the landlord takes a portion of your rent to pay for it.
The perceptions of your new and potential clients get the very first time they walk into your space should be a good one. If you rent out a badly maintained building then there is a chance that someone will not like being there very much. They will expect that your work will be as sloppy. However, there are situations where aesthetics do not matter. Consider Nairobi Textile for example. It is chaotic and not quite clean. However, this does not matter to the clients who go in there. In some cases, the reputation of the building itself trumps the aesthetics like in the Nairobi Textile case.
Place is a very important element of the marketing mix. Proper placement of the business and its offerings is paramount to the success of the business as well as the ease of distribution of products or services. Proper placement may also be beneficial to the motivation of those working in the company. Who want to wade through traffic to the middle of nowhere in the morning anyway? Choose wisely!