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Pinellas Park, Florida, United States
I founded Core Business Solutions with the goal of helping business owners improve operating results, add value, and recapture the energy and passion that was present when the business was new. We also have the expertise to assist start-up companies create the foundational structure needed to provide the best opportunity for the business to grow and prosper in uncertain economic times. Our goal is to help the business entrepreneur/owner, through mentoring and coaching, develop or enhance managerial skills while providing that independent and objective advice and expertise usually provided by a board of directors.
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top 7 Reasons Businesses Fail...Part Six

The past 5 blogs in this series have reviewed the first five of the seven areas that I think contribute greatly to business failure. The first five were 1-A Lack of Planning(No business plan), 2- Starting a Business for the Wrong Reasons, 3- Insufficient Capital, #4-"No Website" and # 5 Poor Management.
Number six in our top 7 countdown (Casey Kasem anyone?) of the reasons businesses fail is the Location of your business.

Location, Location, Location...Isn't that a real estate axiom that a property's location is one of the most critical selling points? Actually is was William Dillard, an American Businessman and the founder of Dillard's Department Store who said it many years ago when asked why his stores were so successful.
Well, when you have a business, the location of your business can both negatively and positively impact your success.
Your college professor was right -- location is critical to the success of your business. Whereas a good location may enable a struggling business to ultimately survive and thrive, a bad location could spell disaster to even the best-managed enterprise.

But consider this: Does your business really need a physical location? I've seen many service oriented businesses fail because the owner really, really, really wanted a physical place, office, building or location for their business. In the management consulting segment alone I've seen business owners struggle to be profitable because they had to have a nice big office in an office building or some other place and the monthly expense and time, etc, was more than they could handle. They just had to have a 'Bricks & Mortar' location to feel like they really had a going concern. Remember, your business is you, not an office or a location. You are the engine that makes your business run. Lets face facts, all businesses have monthly expenses (marketing, travel, advertising, websites, supplies, etc, etc.) that must be paid before anything else. It's been called "making your nut". If you can operate your business without renting office space, do it. Adding the weight of another $400-$1,500 per month expense (plus what you have to buy to fill and furnish the office) can drag a business under very quickly. I know many service type businesses (Computer Repair, Financial Planning and Insurance Sales, Photographers, Consultants of any type, and many more) that do very well working out of a home office scenario. The key is to have a separate room to use for the business and to have the discipline to work in it and not get involved in any daily household activities that could interrupt your business processes. [I'll get into that issue in a future posting to this blog]

However, if you absolutely need a physical location because your customers need to find you to buy your product or use your service then here are some factors to consider:

  • Where are your customers? Select a location that's closest to your customers and one that can be found easily. Does it have visibility. What are the signage possibilities?
  • Look at traffic, accessibility, parking and lighting. Is the location attractive both outside as well as inside?
  • Location of competitors- Are your competitors nearby? If yes, is that problem? It may not be. Sometimes you can get sales from customers from a nearby business that has a similar customer demographic. Customers may want to try something different or new.
  • Will the office and location really suit your needs? Don't settle. Get what you need. You'll not be very happy after you've signed a long term lease and it's just not right. Have a trusted advisor review you plans and your location for an objective viewpoint.
  • Condition and safety of the building obviously should be a large item for consideration. Is the building up to code? Is the inside well lit? Can you say 'liability'?
  • Sometimes there are local incentive programs for business start-ups in specific targeted areas of a town or city that provide financial assistance if you make improvements to the property. Contact local officials and inquire or talk to other business owners in the area to see if there are programs to help.
  • The history, community flavor and receptiveness to a new business at a prospective site is important to know. I once knew a restaurant owner that opened in a location that in the recent past was the location of a poorly managed restaurant that never really succeeded. Just putting a sign up saying "Under New Management" is not going to change most potential customers' perception. You may have to spend much more in marketing costs to attract your customers than would at some other more favorable location.
  • What are the lease terms. Monthly plus, plus, plus? Or are all the utilities and cleaning services included. Are there advantages to leasing for a stated term versus month to month. Can you make a deal with the landlord?

The bottom line is if you have to have an office or business location, do your homework!

A little extra due diligence upfront can save you a huge heartache and headache.


Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.

John Welch
1935-, American Businessman, Chairman of General Electric

In 2 weeks or so I'll provide the 7Th and final Top Reason Businesses Fail installment to wrap up this entire series.
Until then-
Live Simply.
Speak Kindly.
Care Deeply.
Love Generously.
All The Very Best...Always,
Walt Morey - Executive Business Advisor- Accredited by the Institute for Independent Business


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