The location of your practice will be one of the biggest decisions you make in the creation of your business. The opportunities are endless and you have the ability to choose exactly where you want to be in your market. Not taking the time to analyze your market, potential locations, and their effects on your future success is a mistake that many business owners make. I will outline the three main considerations that you should take into account when choosing the perfect location for your business.
When choosing a location you want to accomplish as many goals as possible without many compromises. Visibility takes on two potential benefits: marketing and reputation. The first benefit of choosing a location with great visibility is marketing. If you choose a location that can be seen from major roads and is not obstructed by other buildings or landscaping, then you should put a professionally made sign outside your business to make sure you take advantage of this opportunity of “free advertising”. Another tip is to try to pick a location on or near a traffic light. When traffic has to stop at the traffic light, heads start to turn and drivers look around at their surroundings. If your practice is in eyesight of these drivers then everyone who stops at the light has time to look at your business. This leads into the next section on reputation and appearance. Just because you are on a main road or at an intersection doesn’t mean money will pour in to your practice. The appearance of your practice with all this visibility plays a major role. Make sure your “storefront” is set to impress, it should be clean cut and reflect the professional and relaxing atmosphere that you are promoting. This is even more important when choosing a location with great visibility because your appearance will be amplified.
While visibility is usually the most thought about requirement when looking for a business location, synergy is something that can work wonders for your practice. Synergy is the process of 1 +1 =3. In other words, taking advantage of situations that when combined create benefits that would be nonexistent if they were separate. A good example of synergy when choosing a location for your massage practice is choosing a location close to or in the same plaza or parking lot as a business that has clients that would be willing to receive a massage. These types of businesses would be gyms, yoga studios, acupuncturists and chiropractors. The patrons of these businesses have the mindset of taking care of their body in a natural way and would be open to receiving a massage. If your location is visible either from these businesses themselves or on the way to one of these locations, then you are guaranteeing synergistic eye traffic. Before you choose a location ripe with synergy opportunities, be sure to check and make sure that none of the businesses already offer massage services as this would defeat your purpose. After you choose your location, introduce yourself to these particular business owners. Because you are both benefiting each other, offer to take some of their marketing materials back to your practice and leave some of your business cards and brochures for their patrons to see. Maybe in the future you can work out discounts for any of their clients who come to see you and vice versa.
Accessibility is very rarely thought about when choosing a location despite its importance. Accessibility deals with the actual ability for clients or potential clients to visit your practice. Make sure that you choose a location that is within the area of your target market. If most of your potential clients and network connections are on the east side of town, choosing a location on the west side doesn’t make much sense and hurts the accessibility of your practice by east side clients. From a more practical side of accessibility, look at the actual roads and entrances to your practice. Can someone make a left hand turn to enter your parking lot or do they have to travel two miles down the road to do a U-turn just to make a visit? Are you in a big plaza that acts more like a maze opposed for a funnel for clients to get to your practice or find places to park?
Overall, thinking like a client and driving to your potential practice location from different directions will allow you to analyze all three of these location must haves. Can you see your sign if you are coming from one direction? Do you see or pass any potential synergy opportunities? Is the location easy to get to? This type of analysis will help you in the decision making process when differentiating between multiple potential practice locations.