Welcome back to our series on how to start a small business in Florissant.
This week, we're offering tips and resources on how to choose the ideal Florissant location for your business.
Last week’s experts, Richard Shoaf and Chris Coleman, are back with more tips for potential small business owners, and Bob Russell, the City of Florissant’s director of economic development, is also back with advice for finding a location in Florissant.
Finding your spot
Finding your ideal location will depend on a number of factors, most importantly, the type of business you’re running.
“Any realtor will tell you location, location, location and this is very true,” Shoaf said. “Your location will become part of your brand and with some industries this can be critical.”
You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions before making a final decision, according to the Small Business Association (SBA).
- Do your customers come to you?
- Do you have to go to your customers?
- Do you have employees?
- Do you manufacture products for distribution?
The SBA points out that if your business depends on pedestrian or drive-by traffic, you will do well to find a location in a popular retail area, such as a mall or strip mall. This will allow you to place attention-grabbing signs that will draw your customers in.
Russell said that you need to decide if it’s important to be on the most traveled roads, as these locations are highly sought after.
“These are the most expensive locations,” Russell said. “If not, other suitable locations will accomplish the same result.”
If your customers are more likely to seek you out, the SBA notes, you don’t need a retail space, but you should find a space that’s easy to find and close to major roads and more populated areas.
If you’re running a business in which you go to your customers or you deal with them primarily online, you could save money and time by establishing a home-based business instead.
Tips from our experts
Russell said that you first need to determine how many square feet you’ll need for your business.
“Determine how many square feet will be needed for the business,” he said. “A common mistake is to lease too much space--remember you are paying by the square foot.”
But Shoaf said you might need more space than you initially think, so he uses a formula of his own.
“You always need about 25 percent more space than you think you can do without,” Shoaf said. “And with the ability to do so much work vertically, you can even consider shared business spaces depending on your profession."
He said he recommends Jason Jacobs, an agent with Schneider Real Estate, to his local clients.
“They have been a great help to us with our companies,” he added.
Coleman suggests that potential business owners first check out the area with the economic development department.
“Verify by demographics that your business can be supported,” he said.
Coleman also recommends getting involved with the Chamber of Commerce and connecting with other business owners outside the Florissant area.
“Talk to others that have gone before you and get their insights on their success and struggles,” he said. “You may have to get outside the Florissant area for competition reasons to get these answers in some cases.”
If you're looking for a property in the City of Florissant, get in touch with Bob Russell, the city's economic developer, for assistance. He can send you a list of properties and offer advice on which ones might work for you.
In Case You Missed It
In case you’ve missed previous editions of our small business series, we have shared ideas for choosing a business concept, including the development of unique business ideas and tips and suggestions for franchise opportunities.
We’ve also discussed how to write business plans and given tips and ideas on ways to find free and low-cost business training opportunities. Last week, we discussed business options and legal structures.
About the Experts
Bob Russell is the City of Florissant's ecomonic developer.
Local entrepreneur and business consultant Richard Shoaf owns several locally-based businesses, including Compass Consultants and STCI. Both companies serve business owners in Florissant.
Chris Coleman owns St. Louis-based FranNet, a company that helps would-be business owners choose and develop franchise businesses. FranNet's clients include several Florissant area business owners, Coleman said.
Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Subscribe to our daily newsletter so you won’t miss a single part of this ongoing series! Next week, we’ll offer tips and resources for getting your business registered and getting the permits and licenses you’ll need to start doing business.
Do you own your own business in Florissant? We want to share your story with the community! Contact Patch reporter Angela Atkinson at email@example.com to arrange for an interview.