Steps to Success
The location of your business could be your home, a retail location or office, online, or some combination of these. No matter where your business is located -- or before you decide which location is best -- there are a number of issues to consider and just a few are described here. See Municipal Incentives and Permits&Licenses for specific rules and information about business locations in your community, and use the Resources at the bottom of the page to help you address these issues.
Locating your business in your home can be extremely cost-effective if it suits your business. A home office, studio, workshop, or similar setups are often convenient fits but you must check with your community's officials about zoning rules for your business as well as any permits or licenses that may be required. It's also important to talk with a tax advisor about a home office deduction. In addition, one of the considerations often overlooked is the need to manage your time effectively at home with the temptation to also take care of non-business duties.
Building or office
The nature of your business may dictate that you have a building or office outside your home, and for certain businesses the actual location is a key contributor to your success. Retail stores, restaurants and similar businesses benefit greatly from having an accessible, high-traffic location. There is usually a trade-off, however, because that desirable location comes at a higher cost. Whether you're considering leasing or buying, it's important to find a commercial agent who understands your needs and can work with you to find the best location that fits your budget. Remember to check with local officials about zoning, permits and licenses, and any available incentives.
In addition to managing most of the same issues you would have for any business, an online business requires you to establish your online presence with a website and/or online store and by using appropriate social media channels. More importantly,with an online business you must research and identify the best sales channels for your products or services. Amazon and eBay are obvious choices for many businesses because of their immense reach, but costs and the challenge to stand out in these vast marketplaces may encourage you to consider other options as well like Etsy, Shopify, Bonanza, CaféPress or selling sites that are specific to your type of product. You must also learn about online business regulations, tax requirements and international trade laws if your business includes international sales.
Additional Business Location Resources
Whether yours is a home-based business, an online business or one with an office or store, the links below provide information that will help you make decisions about your business location.
SBDC Workshop: Starting Your Business...
SBDC Info Session: City of Champaign’s...