Determining Your Facility Needs

When you visualize the ideal facility for your business, your thoughts may run along several lines. You may first think of the interior layout: the amount of space, how it would be subdivided into rooms or work areas to best serve you, and how it could be constructed or decorated to provide the capabilities and business atmosphere that best suits your operation. Or you may envision its exterior: its appearance (and that of surrounding buildings) and the impression that it conveys about your business, its location (on well-traveled streets, or tucked away in the country), and its provision for necessary features such as parking facilities and loading docks.

Possibly you first think about the community in which you will locate your business. Will it be in the heart of a large city, in a suburb, in a small town, or out in the a wilderness area? Will its location provide necessities such as a trained workforce or convenient access to a major airport or other transportation facilities? Can you locate it "anywhere," or will you count on your presence in a particular location to make a statement about your business?

Or maybe a bad experience with a previous or current facility makes you think along the lines of what to avoid: poor business location, inadequate building space, or substandard transportation access for customers, suppliers, or employees.

However you choose to envision your ideal business facility, as a small business owner, one of your vital concerns is to see that the facility where you conduct business contributes to your profitability, rather than detracts from it. If you are just getting into business, the decisions that surround the choice of a business facility can be particularly worrisome. Where do you start? Do you first decide the community in which you wish to locate the business, amassing all the information on it? Should you look at prospective sites and buildings, and imagine how well your business would operate in each? Should you look around for geographic areas not well served by potential competitors, then "hit 'em where they ain't?"

These and many more inquiries deserve consideration as you search out a business facility. But, particularly if this is the first time that you have set out to acquire a business facility, we strongly suggest that your first move should be to map out your facility needs in some detail. To do this, you may wish to consider what small business owners generally look for in a business facility and how the facility can aid their businesses. As a small business owner, you can greatly increase the chances that you will acquire a business facility that will make a positive contribution to your bottom line if you carefully consider the functions that the facility must perform for your business. A good facility should: