Even if you have cutting edge or highly sought products, your retail business can only ever be as good as its physical location. The space that you choose to rent will play a huge role in determining whether or not your business is a success, making it important that you choose wisely when selecting a new storefront or building to rent. Keep these tips in mind as you research and tour prospective spaces:
1. Enlist the Help of a Broker
Space in prime locations often fills up quickly. As a result, there's a chance you won't even hear about a vacancy in an in-demand area. Tenant rep brokers can help get you in the door, so that you have a chance of securing that perfect space. Plus, a tenant representative broker will evaluate your needs and match them to spaces in your desired location. Brokers are also a valuable asset during the negotiation process, and their services are even paid for by the landlord rather than your business.
2. Consider Location Carefully
It can be tempting to opt for a space in an out-of-the-way or hidden location to save money on your rent, but this can prove to be disastrous. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and ask yourself how willing you would be to visit your store in a certain space. Is your business one that attracts foot traffic on its own or will you rely on other nearby businesses to lure in people? How easy is it to access the location and find parking? Do neighboring businesses match your brand and send the right message to prospective customers? Check out Yelp reviews for neighboring businesses to see if their customers have any complaints about the area.
3. Set a Frugal Budget
Retail business can be very unpredictable and highly seasonable, so it's important that you set a budget that will work for your business throughout the year. Examine your profits from month to month and establish a budget for rent and common area maintenance fees that you can comfortably afford from month to month.
4. Keep Your Options Open
Initially, you should consider four to 10 retail locations for your business. Then, narrow down the options to two or three. Even as you proceed to the negotiation process at your number one choice of space, keep the door open to your second and third place picks. This way, you won't have to start from scratch if things fall through.
5. Pay Careful Attention to Customization
Retail stores typically need to be built out to suit their needs. Make sure that you clearly understand who will be responsible for these costs. In addition, inquire about future improvements that may be required to keep your space up to code. If changes are made to local safety laws or to ADA requirements, you don't want to find yourself faced with a surprise renovation project to fund.
6. Don't Sell Yourself Short With Space
While you don't want to end up with empty square footage, you can't afford to short change yourself. Make sure that you consider your spatial needs for stockrooms, offices, break rooms, bathrooms, dressing rooms and storage, not just the sales floor.
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