Commercial Real Estate Broker
My name is Jack Edwards. I have been a commercial real estate broker for 40 years. I have observed that individuals hoping to open a new business sometimes overlook certain things or make judgmental errors which big chains do not make, and that's the difference between the chain's success and the individual's failure.
You need to determine whether the market around you intended location will adequately serve your customers. For example, if you're going to open a liquor store, you store should be on the "going home" side of the street.
It is very difficult to find a McDonald's which is unsuccessful. They occupy the "primest" of the prime real estate locations. If you think you have a better mousetrap and the world will beat a pathway to your door, you're fooling yourself. Most retail businesses require good accessibility and visibility. The public needs to be able to find you easily, even if they're not looking for you. Be as imposing as possible.
Another important aspect of your location will be your lease document. This is a document drawn by lawyers and understood by lawyers. So, rely on your own real estate lawyer to give advice in this area. There are many subtle points in a lease that can be negotiated, so don't just be stampeded into signing the document.
It usually is wise to take a short-term lease with options to extend, because a long-term lease could turn into the anchor that sinks your boat. On the odd chance that you business doesn't work out, it would be a real burden on you to be saddled with the obligations of a long-term lease after you're out of business.
One final comment regarding leasing. Remember that really great locations are sort of like buses, because another one comes along every ten minutes. So, if you think you've got the greatest location in the world and there's nothing else like it, remain calm. If you can't make the deal you want, pass the location. You will find another one just as good or sometimes better.