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The Five Critical Elements of Business: Location


By Bob Fenner


What does it take to provide for a successful design, build-out and running of a retail pet venture? This article details the first of five critical elements of a new business outlet: Location. The other four factors, any of which can totally break a business are Financing, Personnel, Set-up & Stock.

There are a myriad of vital facts, ideas, methods & attitudes that go into producing a winning store, and many ways to classify them. This discussion may serve as a checklist for preparedness or a model to compare your present or planned operation(s) with hypothetical improvements or competition.

Location Considerations: Visibility, accessibility, demographic trends of your target customer are a beginning of criteria for deciding on a location. You must identify who your customer is now and will be in the future and realize that they must travel by or be easily induced to travel to a given area. In studying existing competitors, printed materials, talking with others in and out of the field, it should become obvious to you there are many practical/possible places to site your business. How do you go about selecting among those possible?

Choosing: The Matrix System

After you've found 3-5 or more sites that you think & feel might work out, comes a (the) process for deciding which is best. Pay close attention! I am about to make known to you a tremendously powerful tool.

First an admonition: All the world's demographic and marketing information minus reporting lag time, & statistical massaging will not replace you and yours' field research & inter-rator agreement.

What does all this mean? Only that you and the "other" people involved in this decision-making process should dictate what is more/less/most important in considering site selection. The following mechanism is presented for deciding amongst yourself(ves) in an organized, systematic, replicable way.

Choice Matrix Steps:

1)Get everyone involved together

2) Preliminarily visit , study all your potential sites; talk with "fellow" tenants

3) Study any and all other data available through the papers, local government, chambers of commerce, et al..

4) List: as many important factors as you all can that affect site choice.

5) Rank, or put in order (highest to lowest) these factors &

6) In conjunciton with # 5, assign a relative points value system to each.

7) Copy off these matrix point sheets and have concerned parties score them for all the site choices.


Example: Site Choice Matrix

Your Store (#)___________ Your Name______________

Factors \ Possible Site Address| 1 2 3 pts. poss.

Visibility 10

Cost, Terms, Conds./lease 10

Accessibility 8

Parking 8

Anchor Tenants 6

Future Population Trends 5

Near Good Competitors 5

Near Bad Competitors 5

Distance to Suppliers 4

Other Non-anchor Tenants 3

& so on


Total for columns

Of course; your factors and weighting will probably differ.

8) Add up the columns: the site with the most cumulative points wins!

Easy, eh? You bet. Like the much hailed "quality circles" technology adopted and adapted by Japanese, et al. Concerns, this process does much to even out personal biases and build consensus amongst concerned parties.

If only one person; you; are involved in the site determination; I strongly suggest you secure the help of at least one other intelligent, retail-experienced, interested party. This is where the inter-rator agreement part comes in. Two heads are better than....

You'll be pleased to find that through educating yourself and interacting through this decision-making process that ultimately there is a definite best spot for you next retail location and your next....


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