How to Choose a Site for Your Business

Choosing the right location for your business will require you to consider a number of factors. The type of business you have will often be the primary factor in the type of location you choose.

Another important factor to consider is how you want to present your business to your community and customers. Do you want a main street storefront? Do you require extra space for storing finished products? Does the location need to be near your targeted customers or satisfy specific logistical needs? Can your business operate as a web presence without the need for a physical structure for customer interactions? These are just some of the questions you may find yourself asking when looking at potential locations.


 

Image of a map, illustrating various locations throughout Pennsylvania  

Ultimately, you may decide that you can start your business at your home. This is an inexpensive and convenient option for many entrepreneurs. If you decide to work from home, you will want to balance the efficiencies of being at home with your need to project the business image that you desire. The location of your business can affect more than just your operations and finances — it can also be an asset for your marketing plans and growth strategy. As you explore potential locations for your business, investigate the zoning, traffic, parking, signage and building regulations in each prospective location’s municipality.

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Checklist for Business Location Analysis

If home is not the best place for your business, the checklist that follows will help you weigh the benefits of potential locations. Begin by reviewing the list and crossing out the factors that are not important to your business. Next, add any new factors that apply to your business. Finally, identify multiple potential locations and consider each of the following factors:

(This web site does not store any information, you may wish to download, and/or print this form for your records or to share with a business partner)

Appropriate zoning for the type of business
Cost of land, building, facilities
Building codes
Cost of utilities (installation)
Availability and cost of utilities (monthly estimate)
Cost of monthly lease or mortgage payment
Cost of renovation or leasehold improvements
Availability and cost of security system
Availability of police and fire protection
Availability of the types of employees needed by firm
Availability of transportation for customers and employees
Occupancy permit requirements
Access for customers with disabilities
Tax structures and payment methods of local and regional government
Proximity/distance from competition
Maintenance costs for property, building and parking area Expansion potential
Availability/restrictions on parking
Condition of neighboring properties
Convenient proximity to primary highways
Transportation and availability of raw materials
Convenient proximity to entrepreneur’s home

Small Business Incubators

Description and Advantages


 
Small business incubators are facilities where young businesses can start and grow  

Small business incubators are facilities where young businesses can start and grow. Some incubators offer businesses the opportunity to lease space at a lower-than-market rate. Most facilities provide tenants with free or low-cost business counseling and training and shared office equipment and services. These educational opportunities and services help reduce costs and increase profits.

After the startup firm is nurtured for the first few years, it is expected to “graduate” or leave the incubator to move into a business location in the community. Graduation normally occurs in 3–5 years. Incubators may specialize in the types of firms they can assist, i.e., manufacturing, technology, life sciences, distribution.

In summary, the following are common advantages of locating in an incubator:

  • reasonable lease rates for startup firms
  • shared financial, management and other services
  • established entrance and exit policies
  • access to capital and other startup resources

For more information contact DCED’s Small Business Champion Network at 1.800.280.3801 or www.newpa.com/business/business-assistance/sbcn.​​​

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