By Maduka Nweke
While assembling facilities for your estate, there are items you should not alternate otherwise you will have to re-do the job again. Some of facilities in an estate could be alternated while some could be left alone for some time due to some reasons. Others are, a matter of necessity that must be done to avoid damaging the facility. It is therefore obvious that before you take decision on the facilities you must not leave out and those you can alternate right from the earliest time.
One of the major decisions that a small business owner must make is choosing a facility from which they can run their business. If you’re not running your business from home (or must move your operations out of your home) you likely have some big decisions to make.
If you are just starting out in business, and you’re selecting your first business facility, spend some time to consider what you need from your facility. This process will require a lot of cold, hard planning, as well as some measure of dreaming. (If you didn’t have at least a little bit of the dreamer in you, you probably wouldn’t be an entrepreneur!)
If you have been in business for some time (possibly working out of your home) and are now considering moving to a new facility, you may have a good idea about what you need. In this case, you may be ready to decide how to choose the right facility.
Finally, maybe you have a clear picture of your facility needs and have identified one or more potential sites for your business. The next question is often the toughest one: should you rent or buy? Because important, and complex, tax and cash management issues are tied up in this rent or buy question, many small business owners rely heavily on the advice of their accountant or attorney when making this decision. You may also wish to do so. But even if you do, you should be aware that the decision on the rent or buy question will, down the road, influence other business decisions that go beyond tax and cash management issues.
What do you need in a facility?
As a small business owner, one of your vital concerns is to accurately determine your facility needs so that the facility where you conduct business contributes to your profitability.
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
•How it could be constructed or decorated to provide the capabilities and business atmosphere that best suits your operation
•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)
•Its provision for necessary features such as parking facilities and loading docks
The community you choose
Possibly you also think about the community in which you will locate your business and consider the following questions:
•Will it be in the heart of a large city, in a suburb, in a small town, or out in 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
•Substandard transportation access for customers, suppliers, or employees
Your business facility and profitability
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.
•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?”
Functions facilities must perform
It’s clear that many 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:
•Foster efficient business operation
•Present your business in a good light
•Allow for future business growth
•Accomplish these objectives at an economical cost
The foundation of determining your business facility needs is figuring out what is required to foster efficient business operation.
What makes a business facility efficient?
No matter what kind of business you have and how you conduct it, if you own or rent a business facility, you do so in order to perform vital business functions there. This is true regardless of whether the facility houses your business headquarters and office, a retail store or a wholesale outlet, an inventory or equipment storage area, or a combination of several of these functions. An efficient facility isn’t hard to define in the abstract, but tailoring the definition to an actual concrete list of needs can be more complex.
Your search for the ideal facility will go much more smoothly — and will more likely be successful — if you are armed with a firm, fairly detailed idea about your facility requirements when you actually start the search:
• If you are presently in business. This may be a rather straightforward process if you are currently in business, and, for whatever reason, will be relocating. In this case, envisioning your replacement facility may be no more difficult than thinking about what aspects of your present facility you are satisfied with, and how you would improve upon those aspects that didn’t measure up. It’s likely this will be easier said than done, but at least you have had the valuable experience of seeing how your business ran out of the present facility. Your proposed solutions to any facility problems may be theoretical, but they are grounded in what you have learned from running the business.