Running a customer-facing business is one of the most rewarding models you can choose. However, this doesn’t make it any easier than running a B2B business. When you’re running a retail or customer-facing business, your premises is one of the most important things to plan and manage. If you’re about to launch a customer-facing business, then here’s some important considerations for the premises you’re using.
Firstly, size and appearance. The size of any premises, customer-facing or otherwise, is going to have big effects on the entire operation. Think about the equipment and furniture you need, the layout you’re planning on using, and the space you’ll need to accommodate for it. I’m sure you want to avoid breaking the budget wherever possible, but it’s better to splash out and have too much space than to scrimp on property and have too little. Cramped conditions will be unpleasant for your customers, and may even infringe on certain health and safety laws. Try to keep an open mind when you’re looking at property as well. If there are cramped toilets already, you could install some new bathroom pods and use the existing space for something else.
Once you’ve narrowed down the property hunt to a few candidates, then you’ll have to check how the legal requirements fit into your plans. You may have to make what lawyers call “reasonable adjustments” to the premises in order to make it accessible to all your customers and staff. When you’re looking to make little changes to the interior of the home, then you probably won’t have to notify anyone. However, if you want to make larger alterations, which could affect the buildings around you, then you may need to acquire some planning permission. The conditions around this can be pretty pedantic. If you’re ever in doubt, call the council and tell them exactly what you intend to do. The legalese surrounding your business premises may have huge repercussions, so don’t skip over them!
Finally, consider the location carefully. If you want your customer-facing business to be successful, then you need to make sure it has a good location. Generally, you should target high-street properties which aren’t too close to one of your big competitors. Think about how convenient the location is for the kinds of customers you’re attracting. If you’re setting up a small, general retail operation, then being near transport links is a huge advantage. If you’re going to have to settle on a more remote location, then you’ll need to think about parking facilities. Of course, the location also comes with some heavy pricing implications. If you want to set up somewhere central with a lot of foot traffic, it will cost you far more than setting up in a more industrial part of town. You might want to consider somewhere more out of the way, and moving once your cash flow is more stable.
Setting up your first business premises might feel like an intimidating task. However, if you put in a lot of preparation work, everything that follows becomes easier.