7 secrets for picking the perfect Canadian business location

Navigate variables like demographics, competition, future development, traffic to discover the ideal location for your Canadian business.

7 secrets for picking the perfect Canadian business location

1. Check up on zoning

First things first, check if your area of interest is actually zoned for the type of business you're considering. Ideally, the land should be zoned for all types of business, in case you later change paths.

2. Dig into your demographics

Say you're starting a clothing store and are targeting young women. You would therefore want to look at the demographics of young women, including their spending budgets, their population, their permanence (seasonal students vs. full-time residents) and so on. The Government of Canada's Business Network is a good place to start for studying your target's population, which can make it easier to predict their buying habits.

3. Study your neighbours

It's also important to note where your target audience hangs out. What niche are you serving, and what scenario is most conducive to serving your demographic? Being located near a university but also near bars or nightclubs ensures that young women will bump into your store as they leave the classroom and head out for the night, searching for something to wear.

4. Avoid competition (usually)

Businesses that are firmly established in the community already have a customer base, and it's best not to compete with them. However, a business providing complimentary services can be a boon to your customer influx.

5. Look to the future

Roadwork, zoning changes, additional businesses and other future development should be taken into consideration as they can either expand your business or cause a reduction in customer volume. While predicting the future is impossible, speaking to the local government and digging into regional business news sources can help you get a more informed idea of what's to come.

6. Make yourself easy to find

Canada Business Ontario recommends trying to locate yourself where the foot traffic is heavy, or where the bus stops frequently and/or there are parking spots available. You want it to be as easy as possible for potential customers to find your business.

7. Play the long game

Before you sign the lease, consider whether you'll want to resign it or move to another location as your business gains exposure in the community. If you're flexible, you can move if needed, and if you need to expand, consider how you can do so in the future.

Take a checklist of these items with you to every property you view, and ask plenty of questions, including how successful the last business was, why it moved and if it closed down. Don't be afraid to be picky and discerning, because each factor can potentially have a dramatic affect on your Canadian business's future success. Good luck!

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