Finding the ideal location for your new business can make the difference between a successful start-up with strong traffic, or an agonizing first year of hunting for customers.
No - there is no secret to finding the right location to open up shop (though GIS-based location scientists might disagree), but there are a few important questions to consider before making that decision.
Q: What is the desired image of your business? Potential foot traffic shouldn't be the only aspect of your site selection. Think about the surrounding business and their clientele.
Q: Where do your customers want you to be? Are your target customers willing to travel to your store?
Q: How far will you have to travel to/from work every day?
Q: How virtual is your business presence? Do many of your customers purchase your products online? If so, it might not be necessary to lease a fancy 2000 sq. ft. prime piece of real estate.
Let's say that you are thinking about opening a new toy store in the lower mainland. Rather than pouring through pages in a phone book or driving down countless streets, a quick search in Google maps for 'Toys', using the search category of BUSINESSES gives you an instant glimpse at the geographic locations of your local competitors.
Is it better for your business to be near likely competitors, or a safe distance away?
Next - take a close look at that little orange man on the left-hand side of the map.... this guy:
Maybe you're considering leasing a vacant business location that you researched online...but don't want to drive all the way out to the address listed to view the site in person. Just type the address into Google maps, then pull that little orange guy directly in front of the proposed location, and voila:
Maybe 1290 East 12th Ave, Vancouver isn't the perfect site for your new urban bistro concept...
Try playing around with Google maps and street view to find your way around the business landscape of your city. If nothing else it will save you some gas & mileage!