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A look at small business questions from the Southwestern Oregon Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
By Arlene M. Soto CMA, CGBP, Southwestern SBDC Director

How do I choose the right location for my small business?

Choosing a business location is a process that includes: knowing your business needs, knowing your customers, understanding the competition, finding a place that is affordable, appropriate and accessible and planning for the future of your business venture. There are a lot of things to research and plan before selecting a place of operation. Fortunately, there are many resources available to assist with the location planning process.

What are your business space needs; office, retail, manufacturing, warehouse, or a combination? Knowing what type and size of space is needed to operate effectively will help narrow the search of available commercial real estate to rent or buy. How important is location for the success of your business? For a manufacturer, affordable rent might be a more important consideration than having a place customers can easily access which is key for a retailer. What is your facility budget? Knowing what is affordable before looking at a business location will help determine the feasibility of any site. Commercial realtors, the chamber of commerce, site selection consultants (a directory can be found at and economic development organizations are a good starting place to find available business sites.

Facility costs are often a major fixed cost for a business. Once a lease is signed or a building purchased it’s too late to alter the impact of that cost on the success of the business. Find or create a checklist that identifies all the issues that are important for your business success. Will the facility not only meet current needs but also the future needs of the business? Moving a business is expensive and can result in lost sales.

Interview the landlord prior to signing a lease to be sure they are someone you want to do business with for many years. Ask an attorney to review any legal documents before signing them to make sure your interests are covered as well as the building owner’s. A right of first refusal is a contractual option to hold onto a potential location while you shop for the right fit, analyze your budget or put other business startup resources in place.

Research and planning for the right facility before choosing a location can mean the difference between business success and failure. Additional help in completing a location checklist is available through the Small Business Development Center Network>

The SBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, the Oregon Business Development Department and Southwestern Oregon Community College. Arlene M. Soto has been the Director of the Southwestern Small Business Development Center since July 2007. To ask a question call 541-756-6445, e-mail, or write 2455 Maple Leaf, North Bend, OR 97459. Additional help is available at the OSBDCN Web page


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