Saturday, March 25, 2017

Site Selection - Consider the Variables

"Location, Location, Location" - that's the famous line that's so solidly connected to the world of Retail Business!

Of course, the location for a business certainly goes beyond just the retail segment of the economy. 

In fact, location has relevance and application to numerous other business and commercial endeavours. Perhaps you have some examples you'd like to share as a comment to this post!

However, to come back to the Retail Sector, I was working very recently with a client who was considering this exact same challenge for their new business. As their Business Coach it was important for me to help them consider their target audience and factors related to the expectations of their clients. In this case, my client was a small retail business start-up, looking to locate in a specific community, just off of a main thoroughfare. As they were working with a limited marketing budget, it's fortunate that they chose a variety of additional marketing options, enabling them to more effectively reach their target audience. Signage on the building alone, while helpful for those passing that immediate location, would not have been enough to achieve their business objectives. They anticipate opening later this year and we're looking forward to their grand opening!

NOW, with some further tips related to finding a great location for your business, we welcome the following from our friends at The Lease Coach. Thank you very much Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield.

Looking at Site Selection Variables – For Commercial Tenants

By: Jeff Grandfield and Dale Willerton – The Lease Coach

When you’re looking for the right property for your new business or wish to expand or move your operation, having a checklist of desirable criteria can help you stay on track. 

As The Lease Coach, we appreciate and applaud tenants who provide a detailed checklist of what they are looking for in each location.

You should weigh many demographic aspects when considering leasing a location in a certain area or territory. Just because you’ve found a new property with space for lease doesn’t mean the demographics will fit your ideal criteria. As a commercial tenant, the following points will be specifically important to you when searching:

Age: The average age of people living in a particular area is extremely important to many business-owners. Will your business be more attractive to parents with young families or retired seniors?  

Income: As mean income and the proportion of two-income households vary, so do the ability and desire to spend disposable income at your business.

Residency: Set up shop where your target customers already live if possible, rather than try to make them come to you.

Location: If you don’t think it matters which side of the street you’re located on, think again! Certain operations do better on one side of the street than the other. In your case, your business may likely do better on a route where most people are driving home after work. Many people may not have the time to stop in on their way into work and might prefer to do this on their way home from the office.

Visibility (or lack thereof): Lack of visibility for your store front can cause people to drive right by it – especially if traffic is heavy. Trees in a parking lot can block signage and restrict visibility for drivers passing by. Some landlords have been known to overbuild their pad sites near the road, therefore blocking the visibility of the retail plaza behind it.

Adjacent Property: If you find a great property with space available for lease, look around. If there is a bare patch of ground between your desired unit for lease, assume that someday, the landlord will lease that pad site or construct a building there that blocks visibility to both your signage and storefront.

Competition: Be aware of any, and all, competition within the area. Not only should you be acutely aware of your competitor, you should have someone “secret shop” their business and report back to you about the entire experience. You could also have your secret shopper ask them about your business (if you are already open) so as to discover what your competition is saying about you. Remember to also think in terms of future competitors. Check out which competing businesses are expanding within your city or planning to come to town. 

How can you distinguish sites that make sense for your business? Begin by understanding that just because a developer bought some land and put up a building it doesn’t mean that the site is automatically a winner. Perhaps it was a great neighborhood 30 years ago, but has it gone downhill? Perhaps the area is overdeveloped, meaning that another retail site isn’t needed or justified.

Consider the following two questions before choosing a specific commercial site for your business and signing a long-term lease agreement or a lease renewal:

  • Are you planning to open a business that people will travel for miles to visit?

  • Are you taking your business to where people already are (e.g. downtown, the suburbs, or a large shopping entertainment development)?

For a complimentary copy of our CD, Leasing Do’s & Don’ts for Commercial Tenants, please email

Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield - The Lease Coach are Commercial Lease Consultants who work exclusively for tenants. Dale and Jeff are professional speakers and co-authors of Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES (Wiley, 2013). Got a leasing question? Need help with your new lease or renewal? Call 1-800-738-9202, e-mail or visit

What's been your experience?

Feel free to add your comments and thank you in advance for sharing this post with those in your circle of contacts!
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