Business Column By: LaNisha Rene CEO of LR Consulting Enterprise, LLC
Chances are you’ve heard the term “location, location, location” more than a few times. Well this word that seems to be minor–holds much weight to those looking to invest in the dream of owning a business and could possibly be the most important decision one will make on their road to success.
One of the basic concepts taught in almost every introductory marketing course is The Four P’s: Price,Product, Promotion and Place. “Place” refers generally to distribution, i.e., where your customer evaluates and ultimately receives your product or service. While this may not matter much for people who work virtually, or who run a business that drop-ships from a third party, it’s critical for restaurants, retailers, and even many service businesses. Ironically, while “place” is often the most permanent of the four P’s, it’s also often the most overlooked. This is partially due to the enormous time, search efforts, and strenuous processes involved with finding the right place.
It’s time to put location at the top of your to-do list this year, especially during travel season. But first, before you think about how the struggle of finding the perfect location would be a hassle or such an inconvenience, don’t bring that negativity into what should be the greatest and most productive moment of the year. The best way to make the best out of determining a perfect location is to do this while vacationing, visiting family, driving to the grocery or even while online looking for shopping plazas. While scouting the best location, look with a consumer’s eye and if abroad, view with a tourist mindset. You will ultimately see things differently. Have you ever hated the way a parking lot was congested, a customer service, manager or company representative was inconsiderate and rude? If you answered yes, think about how you can make this customer, client, consumer experience different in your business. Many companies even base their mission and objectives on customer satisfaction solely for this reason.
Do you travel annually? Of course, we all do because a vacation rejuvenates our perspective on life and makes us feel awesome. Why not use that feel-good-energy while on vacation to search for the type of location that fits your business’s theme, personality, and atmosphere? Think about it like this, if you like traveling out-of-state, chances are many others do as well. Take this mind-set and begin thinking about areas that are relaxing yet fun with lots of activities and location options before booking your next trip.
Carlos Silva, co-founder of Memphis Championship Barbecue in Las Vegas, learned all about finding a good location when he and his three co-founders (Dick Hart, Mike Mills and Dan Volland) opened their first restaurant in 1994. “We opened our first business in the middle of nowhere, and we had to work to get people to go to it,” says Silva. Once you’ve narrowed down a few locations; check your demographics for each place individually. “Do your due diligence,” advises Michael Rodelle, director of real estate for the Papa Gino’s Inc./D’Angelo Sandwich Shops franchise, based in Dedham, Massachusetts. “Get a demographic overview of the area you’re looking at-age, income, households, etc.”
Location is about more than just choosing a building. Perhaps for you, opening your business in your own town, out-of-town, abroad or even in your part of town, is a given. But consider the big picture; the main point is to focus on how to make this process fun, beneficial, and convenient. Use the proper steps so you don’t get burnt out before you open your because there is much more to come!