It’s not an overstatement to say that choosing a location for your business or commercial project may be one of the single most important moves you make toward getting your business started. Most other miscalculations can be repaired with a little time and effort, but the wrong choice of business location just might doom your efforts right from the start.

To avoid disaster, have a few things in mind while you’re going through your search. It would be a good idea to prepare a list, and jot down those aspects of location that you simply cannot do without, those that would be nice-to-have, those that you absolutely don’t want, and those that you could tolerate. Once you’ve categorized these elements, a picture should emerge about the kind of location you’re looking for and if you can rent an existing building or if you must build a new commercial space. Here are some other things to keep in mind.

Demographics of the Area

Before you start up a business or re-locate an existing one, you must know who your customers are. That fact will tell you whether it’s important that those customers are located close to where your business is, and whether you need to position yourself accordingly. If this is a factor, you’ll need to know whether the community you’re moving in to contains the kind of people who would reasonably become customers for your business. Also, if your business is to be staffed by workers from the surrounding community, are there skilled workers in the area who would be good candidates?


If yours is a business which requires a high volume of customer access such as a retail outlet, can the location be easily accessed by customers, either by foot or by transit systems. Is there sufficient parking available? Your vendors will also need to have vehicle access, and if you receive in shipments of goods via delivery services, there will have to be convenient access for them as well.

Competition and Cooperation

In the area you consider locating, are there competitors nearby who might siphon off customers from your business? It’s not usually a good idea to move into an area where you must fight for your life against stiff competition. On the flip side of that coin, are there other businesses which might help yours by being nearby? For instance, if you have a retail store, there might be restaurants nearby which attract customers, and they could spill over into your business, simply by being in close proximity.

Image and Background

It’s a good idea to make sure that the location you move into projects the kind of image you want for your business, so that a positive image becomes associated with your company. Part of that involves investigating the history or the background of the area, and the specific location you are considering for your building. If it turns out that a whole string of businesses have suffered failure in exactly the same spot, you might want to think twice about becoming the next victim.

Local Regulations and Ordinances

You should always find out about any local ordinances which might affect the way your business has to be conducted. Obviously, you would need the area to be zoned for business, but there may be other subtler impacts on your business such as hours of operation, operating costs in a new city or state, type of business, etc. You won’t want to run afoul of any of these after having already moved in.