One of the most important parts of starting or owning a business is making sure there is a market for your products. Depending on your business type, where you decide to set up shop can make or break your business before it even starts. Since many of you have already planted your roots than this can serve as a reminder if you decide to expand or possibly help you sell to your clientele.
Different areas could have completely different living situations or lifestyles. Now these areas, could be more or less wealthy. They could be further away from a typical grocery store which means they will rely heavily on your business to get their food. The differences between areas are limitless, but there are many tools to help you build you business. This can blog may also serve as a guide to building a successful business in different geographical locations.
- Rural Areas: This is the type of situation when a grocery store may not be easily accessible. Not only will your customers rely on you for their food, but they could also need medicine or clothes. While on the topic of more "luxury" products, you want to make sure it is affordable. In a census from 2010, about 13-percent of the rural population is in poverty so make sure you supply the right goods that they can afford. This does not mean you should find distributors right away, rather, research the area around and see where people get their goods from. You may even notice that there is a certain product that isn't offered in that area, which you can then capitalize on.
- Suburban Areas: A majority of the U.S. population lives in suburban environment, according to the most recent census. The number currently sits at 52-percent of Americans, which means it is more than likely well developed. That should not discourage you, though, as most people rely on C-Stores and gas stations to supply them with simple goods at a faster pace than most super markets or grocery stores. East-Coast suburbs currently lead the nation in median household income. If that involves your business than you should be carrying some of the more expensive "name-brand" products in your store for people to buy.
- Urban Areas: This classifies your cities and heavy population areas. 26-percent of the population is located in the city which is a great opportunity for an small retailer. The advantage generally lies with C-store and other small store owners in this situation because space is limited and most C-stores do not take up the same amount of area as a Grocery store. Limited space can also be a downside as it is hard to find an area to create your store, rent may be more expensive, or foot traffic might not be that high in your area. Urban settings usually means tighter competition, with limited area more businesses are crammed closer together which means your sales plan has to be well developed so you can always stay ahead of competition.
- Outliers: While some of these facts may seem black-and-white about where you decide to build your business, that fact of the matter is that some rural communities may do better than a gas station in the middle of a wealthy suburb. What these statistics don't show is that you could have a store in a underpopulated area, but it is next to a college with residents who might not claim they live there on a census. If you happen to own a store in a college area then you understand that students have limited budgets and time making C-Stores ideal for them. You may also find it easy to hire a staff with young adults looking for jobs every semester. You could also have your business strategically placed next to a complimentary business. Generally, you will find a pharmacy or C-store near a movie theater for all the people that do not want to pay for over priced food. Whatever the case my be, find somewhere that can compliment your business and make you more successful.
The point is do not take numbers on the page as absolutes. Sometimes you can plan your business accordingly and it does not work out. Other times you start your business and it is the "diamond in the ruff". There is no way to predict that, but do your primary and secondary searches. Study the market and hand out surveys or create focus groups to see if what you have to offer is what people need. There are many tools to help your business and this blog is one of them so remember to subscribe to our newsletter and track us on social-media.