I dropped my iPhone this weekend, breaking its glass cover. Since I’m surgically attached to my iPhone, I needed to get it fixed fast.
While I considered using one of the iPhone repair websites, I can’t bear to wait for 3-5 days to get my phone back. So my best option was to find a repair shop that can replace the glass of my iPhone in our area. I went to Yelp.com to search for repair shops in the Washington D.C. area, and found a downtown shop that got great reviews.
However, the reviews only talked about the quality and speed with which the repairs are done, not the location. The shop is located in K Street, a bustling street in downtown D.C. known as the lobbyists’ boulevard where eateries, offices and even the hottest clubs abound. So I knew I won’t have any trouble going to the area. Alas, the iPhone repair shop is on the wrong end of K Street – the desolate one where only a few souls walk at noontime.
Even worse, the repair shop is located in a garage at the back of a public parking lot. You open a small door into an empty garage space, with four chairs lined up against a concrete wall. I nearly run away, especially after the guy said that they don’t accept credit cards, only cash. But my need to have my iPhone repaired won out. However, the 15 minutes I waited sitting in one of the dinghy chairs inside that garage was one of the freakiest moments in my life.
This experience taught me the huge importance of choosing the right location for your business. This is especially true if you are running a business dependent on face-to-face interaction with customers, such as a repairs shop. As a small business owner, the last thing you want is for your place of business to be called “scary” or “freaky,” as the wrong location can drive customers away. You’d want your target and existing customers to feel comfortable in your place of business and even come back repeatedly.
In the article “Finding the Right Location for Your Small Business”, I listed some of the critical factors you need to consider when choosing the best location:
- Costs = entrepreneurs may be forced to go where they can afford the rent or where they can operate more efficiently.
- Security = the quality of the neighborhood also greatly affects the decision of where to put your business.
- Availability = many entrepreneurs locate where there is available space at the time when they are planning to open.
- Infrastructure = sometimes location decisions are based on selecting an area where there are many business professionals to support entrepreneurs
- Personal considerations = the location of a business may depend on how far you want to drive each day
- Taxes = choosing a location oftentimes is a compromise between tax relief and potential for profit generation.
DiverseStrategies.com also suggests that you look at who your customers are:
Knowing your customers is a key factor in choosing the right location. If you are opening a business that can only draw its customers from the immediate area, and you are catering to an upscale market, you will not want to locate your business in a middle or low-income neighborhood.
NYDailyNews.com suggests that you ask the following questions when looking for the best location for your business:
- Is the area zoned for the type business you want to open?
- Will you be able to establish a good working relationship with the landlord?
- Is the neighborhood safe?
- Is the facility itself in good condition? Will repair work be necessary?
- Does the facility have the right layout? If you need to expand, will you be able to?
- Will there be enough parking for your customers? Is public transportation nearby?
- Are there any local business organizations that will help with marketing?
For more tips on choosing the right location for your business, another excellent resource is SBA. SBA has a comprehensive section on this topic, including zoning considerations and when you operate a home-based business.