When your business is ready to take the next step and move into a new building, there is a lot to prepare for. With business growth comes new challenges. But choosing the right location for your business’s new home doesn’t have to be challenging – as long as you follow the right steps. Below, we’ve compiled five essential components to choosing the right commercial property for your business needs.

1. Long-Term Plans

Begin the process with the end in mind. Start with creating a plan for exactly what you want and need for your business. Focusing on your short-term goals is great for determining your basic needs. However, looking to the future will give you the ability to assess your needs and sustain growth. Choosing a building before you have at least a three-year plan can have negative ramifications later on. If one of your goals is to expand or renovate, look for a commercial property that can accommodate those long-term plans.

2. Aesthetics

Unfortunately, the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t extend to your property. Your storefront is the first thing potential customers see. Consider the look of the shopping center or office complex along with the businesses located there. How will your customers perceive your business when they visit? Will their experience be consistent with how you envision it? You may need to do some renovations to the building as well to make it truly shine. Be sure to get quotes for the renovations you desire and make sure the landlord would allow it (if you are leasing).

3. Location

Finding the right location for your business is key to your success. The location may look great, but there are things to consider beyond aesthetics. Make sure your customers will be able to find your location and access the building easily. Buildings that are hard to find could hurt your business and give customers a negative experience. If you have a storefront that faces the main road with no obstructions, it can serve as its own billboard for local awareness to future customers. Lastly, be sure to consider parking. A large, empty lot can appear like a slow business. A small lot might deter customers if it is packed. The goal is that your parking lot has enough room to accommodate the flow of customers without appearing empty.

4. Target Market

The perspective of the people you serve should be your main filter for any decisions you make. If you have a few locations in mind for your business, think about your customer’s needs and their possible experience as they encounter your location. Which location is most convenient for your customers? What sorts of things are important to them when choosing a business? You should also consider commute time for your ideal client to get to your location. If it is a barrier to entry because a competitor is closer, it might be best to look for a different location.

5. Finances

Cost is usually a determining factor when choosing your commercial property location. Look at monthly operational costs as well as costs for renovations. You should also account for other costs, such as licensing or permits. If you’re renting, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your lease agreement. Work with a commercial real estate broker to ensure the contract is sound. If you want to buy, use an accredited inspection company to evaluate the building for existing damage and structural integrity.

Buying or leasing a commercial property can be overwhelming, but you can always ask for help. Working with the right commercial real estate broker can ensure you make the best decision and stay within your budget. For the best results, choose a local commercial real estate agent that’s familiar with and established in the area you’re looking at.