Although an increasing number of businesses are now able to operate with a virtual office, employing remote workers who can contribute and communicate from home, most businesses still need a physical location. This may be an office, or even more crucially it could be a shop front where you meet and interact with your customers. In most cases, it will serve a combination of purposes.

How to look for business premises

It can be difficult to know where to start if you haven’t done this before or if you’re simply in a location you don’t have too much experience with. Here are a few key tips for the search process.

  • Look somewhere logical – Think about where your ideal customers will actually be, so you can make sure you’re looking somewhere that makes sense. The other businesses around an area will have an impact on your chances of success, and ideally they should be targeting similar people but not direct competitors.
  • Get to the front of the line – This can be difficult, but sometimes an agent will help you do this and sometimes you’ll need to do it yourself. Beating other people to view properties first will give you the best chance of securing one you love.
  • Explore and enquire – Simply visit the area you’d like to be in. Walk around and talk to as many business owners as possible. Ask if they know any properties that are about to become vacant, or if they know the details about any that already are.

Setting up shop

Once you think you’ve secured a great location, you will need to make sure you get the most out of it. Take inspiration from some of your favourite retailers, takeaways, bars and other relevant businesses, looking for tricks they’ve used to extract all the potential from their physical environment. You may notice these tips in action…

  • Location should enhance experience – Customers should enjoy spending time in your establishment, and the look and feel of the place should make their experience better, instead of being a place they have to put up with if they want something from you.
  • Extend your branding – Make sure your branding and your whole visual style are used throughout the premises, as your location is an extension of your business. Choose a colour scheme that makes sense and ensure all the details are consistent with the image you’re trying to portray.
  • Make it a feature – If possible, find the most unique and unusual thing about your chosen location and try to work with it to make a feature of it. If you have one large, plain wall, you could find a striking way to decorate it which can serve as a great backdrop for visitors to take photos with. Perhaps a blend of modern style with any period features in your premises could create a unique feel.

Remember that it might not be easy to find a space for your business and to make it your own on a tight start-up budget, but whatever problems you face there will be a way to get around them. Stay focused, think carefully and get creative to make sure you get a great location that works for your business.