Some are fond of saying that the first rule of starting a business is location, location, location. The idea is simply that nothing matters more to the success or failure of your business than where it is physically located.

Is that true? It can be for some businesses, but it is certainly not for others. For instance, perhaps you’re starting an online business and the physical location is just for storing and shipping items. It doesn’t matter if anyone can find that building because you make all of your sales online anyway.

For other businesses, though, finding the ideal location is the most important thing an owner can do. Buying or leasing the right commercial real estate will define how well the business does. Businesses to which this may be very important include:

  • Restaurants: One could argue that location really is the single defining factor
  • Bars: These places rely on foot traffic, especially when groups drift from bar to bar
  • Ice cream shops: Again, a pedestrian-heavy area is crucial

Even places that don’t rely on walkability may need a great location. For instance, most people drive to the gym. Being in a walkable location isn’t as important. What is, though, is having a location with a lot of parking. Most people come to the gym alone. If you want 100 people inside at the same time, you need at least 100 parking spots.

The key is to analyze each property carefully. What does it offer? What do you really need? How can you maximize your return? Once you find the right location, you need to know what steps to take.