Back to list July 18, 2018Common Business Site Selection MistakesWhen it’s time to launch a new endeavor — or to grow a business that’s already successful — location is critical. You may have a superior product or a reputation for excellent service, but unless your customers can access your organization in a way that’s convenient to them, you’re unlikely to capitalize on that goodwill to the greatest extent possible.Ultimately, a new location can make or break things. Accessibility problems, an unsustainable rent or a mismatch between the nature of your business and the demographics of the area can all have significant consequences. In this article, we look at some of the most common site selection mistakes and how your business can avoid them.Feeling Pressure to Break GroundThe site selection process should begin at least six months ahead of when you plan to launch your new location. Rushing the process can lead to hasty decision-making that will impact your success. First, you should assess your requirements and narrow your search down to some potential neighborhoods.Once you start viewing locations, you’ll need time to identify comparables and complete a detailed assessment. Don’t rush into something because a realtor is pressuring you or because of a time-sensitive incentive. Doing so will likely cause more problems in the long run.Focusing on the Bottom LineOpening a new location for your business is an aspirational action — it speaks to ambitions for the venture and ultimately enables you to take the next steps in your path to growth. While it’s important to choose a location you can afford, your decision shouldn’t be focused entirely on the bottom line. Intangible factors, such as the cachet of being in a trendy neighborhood, will add value that can’t be encapsulated in your monthly rent.To look beyond the bottom line, think carefully about who your customers are and where you see your business in the future. Your site should be able to accommodate a best-case growth scenario — otherwise, you risk having to move again when business picks up.Lack of InformationWhen it comes to commercial real estate, knowledge is power. To make an informed decision — one that looks beyond the bottom line — you need access to up-to-date data about the community and its demographics, local labor market trends, average real estate prices and taxation issues, among other factors. This information will give you a more comprehensive picture of a potential location’s suitability for your business.Go beyond the conventional wisdom about an area and look closely at the numbers. You’re likely to find some surprising information, not only about where a neighborhood is today but also where it might be headed one, five or 10 years from now.Lack of ExpertiseTo make the best use of the information you uncover, you need to put together the right team and respect their expertise. Drawing the right conclusions from demographic data requires an in-depth understanding of logistics, costs, local trends, policies and environmental issues, among other matters. More importantly, you need to think critically about your business and prioritize specific search criteria, as this will be important in filtering out inadequate locations early in the selection process.With this in mind, your selection team should be empowered to perform the necessary reviews and you should have the flexibility to incorporate their findings into your decision-making even when they contradict your gut instinct.Failing to Do Your Due DiligenceOnce you’ve consulted with your internal team and found what you think is the perfect location, it’s time to do your due diligence and complete a thorough technical review. The technical review process is designed to identify any potential issues which can delay construction or cost you money. These can include bylaws and permitting requirements, environmental policies, or specific structural, topographic or geotechnical features of the property.Be sure to bring in outside experts to complement the internal capacities of your team. Put together detailed estimates that account for all development costs and establish a realistic timeline for completion. The more of these issues you can sort out beforehand, the smoother the process will go and the sooner you’ll be up and running in your new home.How We Can HelpThe Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) is a longstanding partner to businesses interested in setting up shop in the Cumberland County area. We are an independent, objective team that knows the ins and outs of our region and can provide in-depth local insights. Unlike a real estate broker, our goal is to match you with a location that your business can thrive in — one that will support the ongoing economic growth of our area.Cumberland County is an up-and-coming region with a diverse and healthy economy. We’ve put together a wide range of resources for businesses considering opening up in the area. Check out available properties here and drill down on population demographics on this page. For more information about who we are and how we can help, visit our development and site selection page today.