Choosing a successful location for your software company

Choosing a successful location for your software company

Every business owner must figure out how location will (or won’t) contribute to the success of the business — and choose a spot accordingly. Though there are many issues to consider when you’re looking for space to house your business, make sure you ask yourself these four important questions:
• Is location important for the success of your business?
• What type of location is best for your business?
• How much rent can you afford?
• Is your proposed location appropriate for what you plan to do there?

Is Location Important for the Success of Your Business?
For some businesses, the classic advice “location, location, location” is right on the mark — location can mean the difference between feast or famine. But for other enterprises, location may be much less important than finding affordable rental space. In fact, location is almost irrelevant for some businesses: service businesses that do all their work at their customers’ locations (such as roofers and plumbers) and businesses that have little contact with the public (such as mail-order companies, Internet-based businesses, and wholesalers). If these types of companies can pass on rent savings to their customers and their profit margin, picking a low-cost spot in an out-of-the-way area might be an advantage.

Banking Software companies generally fall into this category. Most of the time, the clients of a software company do not go to their office. Software can be shipped, delivered by the company or sent electronically. Fancy, expensive office space is no necessary and the company can cut back on overhead by using a more practical space.

What Type of Location Is Best for Your Business?
The key to picking a profitable location is determining the factors that will increase customer volume for your business. Ask yourself questions such as:
• Will customers come on foot?
• Will customers drive and, if so, where will they park?
• Will more customers come if you locate near other similar businesses?
• Will the reputation of the neighborhood or even of a particular building help draw customers?

How Much Rent Can You Afford?
Work with a broker or real estate agent to help find an office in an area that best suits your software company’s location needs. They will be able to determine the average rent in certain areas which will allow you to narrow down your search.

Is Your Proposed Location Appropriate for What You Plan to Do There?
If you have a software company, the technological capabilities of your space are going to be very important. Having to rewire your entire space before moving in can add unnecessary costs to your moving expenses.

Besides high-tech communications wiring, don’t overlook plain-old electrical power as an important consideration in choosing a business space. Make sure that any space you’re looking at has enough power for your needs, both in terms of the number of outlets in your space and the capacity of the circuits. If you’ll be running machinery or other electricity-hungry equipment, find out from the landlord how much juice the circuits can handle and whether a generator is available during power outages. Also, if you’ll keep sensitive computer equipment at your office, ask the landlord how many hours of air conditioning are included in the terms of your lease, and negotiate longer hours if necessary.

Adequate parking is another common need for many businesses. If a significant percentage of your customers will come by car and there isn’t enough parking at your chosen spot, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. In fact, the city planning or zoning board might not allow you to operate in a space that doesn’t have adequate parking.

Finally, the location that you choose needs to be legally acceptable for whatever you plan to do there. A certain spot may be good for business, but if it’s not zoned for what you plan to do, you’re asking for trouble.

You should never sign a lease without being sure you’ll be permitted to operate your business in that space. Your city planning or zoning board determines what activities are permissible in a given location. If your zoning board has a problem with any of your business activities, and it’s not willing to work out a way to accommodate your business, you may have to find another space.

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