Don’t Know Where to Locate your Business? Try These 4 Helpful Resources

Are you wondering where to locate your brick and mortar business?  In order to figure out which locations are a good match for your company, you should spend some time studying your target market and its behaviour.

Before starting, make sure your target market is well-defined. What are their ages, income levels, or interests? Are they of a particular ethnicity? What do they value? Where do they work? Once you get to know what your target market is, you can move on to asking where they are and which competitors are already serving them. Here are four useful resources:

Use StatsCan to learn about your target market.

Statistics Canada has compiled easy-to-use census profiles for communities across Canada. Searching by name or postal code, you can discover whether a particular community is right for your business by learning more about its age distribution, family characteristics, household characteristics, and languages spoken.  You will also need to know if your target segment is growing or declining in that particular community. Look for changes from the 2006 and 2001 community profiles.

Measure foot traffic.

Another excellent method for gauging the potential of a location is by studying foot traffic counts in the area. The city of Vancouver conducts pedestrian studies every few years and the results are accessible online. From the city’s data, you can determine not only how many pedestrians could pass by your store on any given day, but also where these pedestrians are coming from, the purpose of their trip, If your company is a restaurant, café, or boutique-style retail store, having a fair amount of foot traffic passing by in the area is a boon to your business.

Consider local developments.

Don’t neglect to consider new developments and city plans to redevelop a community. For example, the City of Surrey is heavily investing in developing its Surrey City Central area. It plans to build a new library, civic centre, and recreation centre, guaranteeing an increase in pedestrian traffic for local businesses. As part of its redevelopment plan, it is also offering tax incentives to businesses looking to locate in the area. Most cities have made development goals and economic action plans available on their websites.

Don’t forget about the competition.

Lastly, you should look at the competitive environment in the area. Is the market already saturated with many companies already serving the needs of your target market? Is there some moderate competition that you can easily differentiate yourself from? The easiest way to do this is to conduct a quick Google Maps search of similar businesses in the area and make note of which ones you would be directly competing with.

Do you know of any other resources that have been useful to you in the past?