Running A Profitable Business In A Bad Location

A bad location can be a big reason as to why many businesses fail. It’s not important to all businesses - if customers don’t need to visit your premises and you’re able to conduct work remotely, then you can work from practically anywhere. However, if you rely on footfall, then your location could be instrumental to your success. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome a bad location without having to relocate your business. Below is a brief guide on how to run a profitable business in a bad location. There are many signs that you’re based in a bad location. Below are some of the most clear signs. 

Your location is too remote
For companies that rely on footfall, a remote location can have a significant negative impact on sales. Trendy urban areas are likely to attract crowds - in such areas, customers are more likely to notice your shop and take a browse. Remote locations may have few passers by and as a result your store is less likely to be noticed. If customers have to drive out to your location, then your market is likely to be reduced even further. Bars and restaurants in remote locations can often suffer because drivers aren’t able to drink a lot of alcohol. Of course, some roads are busy enough that they can still maintain a steady flow of customers. A remote location could also affect your ability to attract employees. There may be less applicants who are able to drive and who are willing to travel to your location. 

There’s no parking space
Parking space can be essential if you are based in a remote location - or if customers need to transport heavy goods from your store via their car. It may also be important for you and your employees, who may need to commute by car. Limited parking space could put off customers and irritate your employees (especially if they have to pay for parking elsewhere). This can sometimes be more of an issue in urban areas rather than remote areas - space is more limited and towns and cities, which is why many supermarkets and stores selling large items are located on the outskirts.

The rent is too high
While being located in a busy urban area can attract more footfall, it can often have the negative side effect of expensive rent. When the rent is high, it’s often much more difficult to make a profit. You may have to charge customers more to compensate - which could deter customers.

There’s too much competition
If there’s a lot of competition in the area, this too could have a negative impact on sales. Your target market is likely to be spread thin, making it harder to attract the volumes of customers that you need. Standing out from your competitors is likely to require a lot more effort and resources. 

Your business is too niche for the area
It’s possible that there may not be a large enough market for your product or service in the area. Cities are often better suited for niche businesses because there is a much larger and diverse consumer base on your doorstep. That said, certain niche industries may thrive in small towns and rural areas such as gardening, pets and outdoor adventure. 

How to overcome a bad location
Although it isn’t easy, it’s possible to overcome the pitfalls of a bad location. Below are some of the ways in which you can attract more customers to help compensate. 

Increase visibility with signage
Big and bold signage will help you to get noticed - especially if you’re in a remote area or trying to stand out from competitors. Try to make your company visible from every direction. This could include using pavement signage or road signage if your premises is tucked away. Regularly updating signage will help you to stay noticeable. You may be able to invest in banner printers to create banners that advertise temporary deals. If you run a shop, pay attention to your shop window display - by displaying your most eye-catching products and by using props you can hook people’s interest.

Build your online presence
If you cannot compete with the physical presence of other companies, consider whether you can make up for this by boosting your online presence. You could find ways of focusing on online sales or you could use the web as a useful tool for navigating customers to your premises. Digital marketing strategies like local SEO can be very useful for increasing exposure when you’re based in a bad location. For instance, if you own an Italian restaurant, you could pour money into an SEO campaign promoting the keyword ‘italian restaurants near me’, so that your site comes up top of the rankings when this term is searched. Creating a Google My Business account could also be useful. This ensures that when people search your business, information comes up containing your contact details and address. It will also increase your exposure on Google Maps. You may also be able to increase exposure via social media marketing. PPC ad campaigns are also worth investing in. 

Broaden your target market
If your company is too niche for the area, broadening your market can be an effective way of encouraging more customers. It could also help to boost your revenue if you’re based somewhere remote, have limited accessibility or are struggling with high rent. When appealing to more customers, it’s important to not go too broad to the point that you lose your identity. For instance, if you own a store that sells organic foods, consider also offering a range of other organic products that may still appeal to your original customer base. 

Double-down on your USP
Sometimes the opposite strategy of focusing more on a niche can work. If there’s a lot of local competition, a clear USP can sometimes be what you need to cut through the noise. You may even be able to offer entirely unique products and services that attract customers from far and wide. It could be worth maintaining some sort of general appeal while having a specialist focus. For instance, if you run a veterinary clinic, you could make horse care your specialism, while still treating other animals. 

Should you relocate your business?
Relocating a business can be expensive, but could be a worthwhile investment in the long run if you feel that your location is truly killing your sales. Consider how much it will cost you to move all your inventory and equipment, as well as the cost of renovating your new premises - it’s possible that you may be able to fund the move with a loan.

When looking for a new location, make sure to not make the same mistake twice. Many businesses trying to access cheaper rates end up relocating to a remote location and suffering the opposite problem - both are likely to be as harmful to your profits. Ideally you want to find a middle-ground that doesn’t cost you too much to rent but also attracts enough customers.

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