Location, location, location. Where is Your Business Located?

You have heard the old addage before. But I want to turn it around to another idea. Instead of asking where your business is located, ask where are your customers located.

  1. Are you centrally located?
  2. Would relocating increase your business?

Mark your customers on a map.

Get a map of your area. Gather together all sources of customers' addresses. Invoices, statements, and brake tag lists are a good starting point. You can also make a day-to-day list of addresses from checks received each day. Use Yahoo Maps or some other map service to plot the exact location. Mark each location with a pin. Ignore the few pins that are quite distant from the others. Draw a circle around the group if the concentration is large enough.

Entrances to subdivisions.

In some cases you should put the pin at the entrance of a subdivision if the resident of the address must first drive to the entrance before he can go to any business or shopping area.

When you have a good sampling, study the map.

  1. Is your shop in the easy vicinity of your customers' closest shopping malls and areas?
  2. Is it too close to the edge of the circle and therefore somewhat inconvenient for many of your customers?
  3. How many other shops do your customers pass when they drive to your shop?

The answers will give you some sense of whether your customers are moving away from you.

Is there a better place within the circle?

Find a location within the circle to which you can move your shop and do these two things:

  1. Not move away from your customers, and
  2. Move to where you are closer to prospective new customers.

But what if I have to pay much more rent or even own my own building now?

Work it out. Write out two imaginary checkbooks with estimates for a year. In one imaginary checkbook, write the income and expenses where you are now. In the other imaginary checkbook, write the income and expenses at a new location adding in your estimated additional income and subtracting your new expenses. Compare the two. If the one suggesting a move has the larger balance, you still have much research to do, but at least you know it is worth looking into. Do not be your own tough landlord who will not let you out of a bad lease.