How important is a business’ location? That is a very loaded question because generally it depends on the type of business. Businesses that rely on foot traffic, obviously, need a location where there are a lot of potential customers walking by. While that seems like an obvious answer what about other businesses? Does a software company need to be in Silicon Valley? Does a surf company need to be in Hawaii? In today’s rapidly evolving economy, more and more businesses are breaking through the old stigmas about business location.
Two West Michigan entrepreneurs are prime examples of this. West Michigan is not known for its skateboard or biking scenes, but that is not stopping Six Starz Skateboarding & Surfing Co. and 616 Bicycle Fabrication from setting up shop here. Six Stars was founded by Chad White who combined his interest in clothing and fashion and his love for skateboarding to start this new business. 616 Bicycle Fabrication was formed by Aaron Joppe and his partners. Joppe sold his ownership interest in the national brand Slingshot Bikes to start this hand crafted bicycle fabrication company. While neither is in an industry that is usually associated with West Michigan, they are both determined to not only impact local culture but to see their businesses succeed on a national level.
The internet has really changed the landscape of the startup business. Startup businesses were once restricted to locations where they could build a local presence and then expand from there. Both the businesses discussed above not only have a large online presence but they also sponsor athletes, bands, and events that receive national attention. With advancements in technology businesses need to expand their vision of who their customers or clients are. These businesses are proof that even a startup business can focus on a national audience and not just the surrounding community to get their business growing. Entrepreneurs should factor in more than the local demand for their product when choosing a location. Cost of the location, comfort level with the area, orientation to suppliers and other factors should be considered. These are just some of the reasons to consult outside help when considering the formation of a business and before getting tied to a location for any number of years.
Source: “Kalamazoo entrepreneur launches Six Starz Skateboarding & Surfing Co. with 10% of profits going to charity” by Yvonne Zipp of MLive.com and “Lean West Michigan company rides the 'fat tire' trend in bicycling” by Jim Harger of MLive.com