Business location is critical in having a successful endeavor. For retailers, putting your business in the wrong place can cause you to spend enormous amounts of advertising dollars to attract customers. If your business is B2B, you may think location is not important, but that’s not true. Let’s examine this a bit more.
Retailers A business owner will consider a number of factors when choosing a location but a lot of times it comes down to what they can afford. However, a cheaper location can become very, very expensive if you’re not near where the most business is located. Have you ever wondered why near most McDonald’s there are also Burger Kings, and a whole array of other fast food locations? Obvious answer: They are not looking for “cheap” they’re looking for “visibility”. So, they are willing to pay for that because without visibility they will spend enormous amounts of money trying to get customers through the door.
I once had a car dealer customer who sold a vacant piece of land to another car dealer who had a very, very popular vehicle brand. “Why did you do it?”, I asked him. At my younger age I thought this just didn’t make sense, to let your competitor move right next door to you. He immediately replied “Are you kidding? That brand is the #1 brand in the US. Every customer that goes there has to pass my dealership first! I get a chance to draw them in before they get to my competitor!” Time has proven him correct. His dealership grew to more than double its size since his competitor moved in.
Another interesting strategy was from a restaurant owner. Being in a location that is a tourist destination, he depends on a steady stream of visitors. Reaching them through traditional advertising would be cost prohibitive, as he would have to advertise in a multitude of far flung markets. How does he attract customers? Well, he knows there are huge attractions such as ski slopes, water parks and a gambling casino. All of them spend millions in advertising to draw people to the area. So, he uses only billboards along the major routes, and email marketing to bring in customers. Does it work? He’s packed all the time.
B2B While it may not be as much of an issue, the logistics of selling B2B can impose challenges. If you are located too far from your customers, you will increase lag time for filling orders. You may also spend a lot of time and money caring for those customers when a closer location would be perhaps more costly but much more effective. Sometimes, a creative solution will serve you well.
When I sold accessories to car dealers, I had dealers that used a lot of pre-painted spoilers. I did not have enough storage space, so I relied on the fast turnaround of my suppliers when I needed 6 or 10 spoilers right away. When I placed the orders, I would generally have them in about 3 days. The problem was that if any of those vehicles were sold before I could get back, then I lost the sale and was stuck holding a pre-painted spoiler until I could sell it. Better solution: I located some storage space with one of my dealership customers, which was located right in the heart of where most of my business was. I then stocked a fair amount of inventory. I added other items I knew would sell quickly such as step bars, vent visors, etc. The result? I was able to fill orders THAT DAY for customers. It reduced my frustration, as well as theirs. They got what they needed, and I was able to substantially increase my sales volume.
If your business relies on sales to other businesses, you might need to examine things like distance to your customers, shipping costs, how convenient is it for them to come to your location if they need something quickly, and whether or not any of your competitors are in closer proximity to your customers. If evaluating this leads to the conclusion that a new location would be better for your business then make the change.
Physical location is not the only issue in our digital age. In our next post, we’ll discuss your digital footprint and how you can use it to build more business.