A Practical Guide to Brick-and-Mortar Businesses
Once you have a business plan, name, and product or service, it’s time to select a place to do business from. Before you lease that business space, storefront, or office, there are many decisions that go into selecting the right place.
How to choose your business location
The type of business you operate significantly impacts the location. If you are a retailer or restaurant, you want to consider what part of town gets you the most foot traffic. What fits your style? Depending on the size of your retail business and what you are selling, you might even consider a kiosk location. If you run a traditional service-based business, then you will want to consider locations in commercial buildings. Your customers and prospects will also determine your company’s location.
Safety and accessibility
If your customers, vendors, and suppliers, and employees need to come to you, then you will need to consider other factors. You’ll want to address such issues as safety, accessibility, traffic, and parking. These factors will be part of the customer experience. Clientele will determine how well your vendors and employees feel about working with you as well. Accessibility is also important.
Proximity to the competition is also critical. You don’t want to be next door to another restaurant or retailer that offers the same thing. This will become a marketing and strategic nightmare not to mention confuse your customers and create pricing wars. Sometimes it is best to be the only type of business in the general area offering a certain product or service.
Rules and regulations
It’s important to ensure that you can do business in a place. This means checking with the city or county about any types of zoning restrictions. Are there ordinances that prohibit your type of business in that area?
Amenities in certain areas are critical to business success. For example, certain businesses may not have updated their technology for the type of equipment you use. Does this new area have the fiber optics you need to maintain a certain internet speed? You may require other features in your new business operations. An example would be refrigeration, storage, and heating and cooling options. Some buildings don’t have these capabilities.
Costs and budget
Overhead costs should be kept as low as possible. That means considering how much the utilities will cost or whether you have access to solar to keep your bill down. You don’t want a space that is too big for your business size. However, you want a location where future expansion can be accommodated. All of this comes with a price, but don’t blow your entire business budget for the location.
People tend to make up their minds about someone or something within the first 30 seconds of the initial meeting. Since your brick and mortar business signage is usually the first thing that people see, it needs to create a great first impression. When it comes to retail signage, blending in is a bad idea. You want to stand out from the crowd with imaginative and creative signage. Look at the nearby competition and businesses.
Mobile marketing for your business
Next, let’s go over the basics of how a brick-and-mortar business can harness the power of mobile marketing to maximize branding and sales opportunities. We’re entering a phase where the mobile market is reaching maturity. In 2014, we saw mobile usage overtake desktop usage in popularity.
How your business could benefit from marketing via a mobile app
There are numerous reasons you might want to consider creating an app for your business. Apps open a whole new frontier of marketing opportunities that you’d miss out on otherwise, including an expanded range of location-specific features. With geofencing technology, you can send offers, coupons, sale notifications, or similar marketing messages to consumers who are approaching your store. This technology has the potential to completely revolutionize the effectiveness of your marketing.
Push notifications are another option that’s popular with brick-and-mortar businesses. A push notification is a message that a business can mass-send to its users who have opted to receive them. For business owners, push notifications are appealing because they allow you to message your customer base even when your customers are not actively using your company’s app. There’s an art to writing push notifications that convert sales. While this type of messaging can be effective in certain circumstances, you must be cautious in selecting the information you choose to push.
In-app messaging is a means to get the attention of your customers once they’re actively using your app. These messages can be text-based, and they can also include images. There’s no need to have your user base opt for in-app messages.
Encourage mobile payments in your store
Innovative retailers are setting up in-store kiosks to allow mobile users to research products and then pay for them using their mobile devices. Enabling self-checkout apps paired with services like Android Pay and Apple Pay can make it intuitive and easy for mobile users to pay for their purchases. Check out the payment’s options available to Keap users.
Learn more about the mobile marketing tools available to you
Now that you’re empowered with a basic understanding of the technologies for optimizing your brick-and-mortar store’s mobile marketing program, it’s time to connect you with some of the tools you could use for making it happen:
- Keap is indispensable for organizing your sales and marketing efforts across all channels—mobile and others
- Foursquare is a leader in location awareness technologies
- Google Drive API facilitates push notifications
- Apple’s iBeacon technology includes hardware and software for facilitating location awareness
- PulsateHQ offers geofencing technology for marketing to your mobile app users
Once you have your business location, it’s important to ensure it is secure both physically and digitally.
How secure is your small business?
It doesn’t matter if you have a home office or storefront, physical merchandise, or intellectual property, theft or damage of resources can quickly put your company at serious financial risk. The costs associated with replacing or repairing these resources, or the downtime experienced while your business is unable to operate normally, can be devastating.
- Assess your risk
- Add some surveillance
- Change your locks
- Controlling paper documentation
Examples of different document classifications would be:
- Customer confidential
- Company confidential
Once your documentation has been categorized, you should consider setting up document templates and incorporating the document classifications which will better enable you to monitor the circulation of your documents.
All businesses must protect their physical assets as well as those in the cyber world. A large part of running a successful small business is improving both its physical and cyber security posture.
Written by: Twilla Grissom, Shabbir Moosabhoy, Philip Piletic, John Rampton & Ron Smith
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