Of all the decisions you’ll make as a studio owner, where you open your studio is one of the most critical. You need to do planning and research prior to engaging in the negotiations for space. You need to assess competition, demographics, taxes, state laws, and many more considerations. Don’t confuse a cheap location for the right location. Here are a few of the things to consider prior to locking in on a location:
* Competition – Are the businesses around you complementary to a martial arts business or competitive? How many martial arts studios are within a 2-5 mile radius? What about gyms, MMA locations, etc?
* Demographics – Research the local demographics around age, households, income. High traffic is a big contributor to awareness of your studio. What are the traffic generators in the neighborhood – restaurants, retail, office parks, colleges, hospitals, etc.
* Image – Is the location supportive or not of the image you want to uphold for the Moo Duk Kwan®?
* Labor Market – Your office staff will come from the local market or from your student base. Is there a local labor market that support a studio and what does a commute look like?
* Growth Potential – How well will the studio support growth over the next 2-3 years? How will the space need to adjust over time?
* Safety – What does the space look like after dark? What’s the crime rate in that neighborhood?
* Parking – How easy will it be for your students to come and go from the Do Jang?
* Local Zoning – What are the zoning laws for that location? Are the zoning regulations in line with the services you’ll provide as a Soo Bahk Do studio? How will your signage be impacted by zoning regulations?
* Hidden Costs – What are the costs to make the space studio-ready? What about renovation, internet services, computers, decorating, mirrors, stretching bars, dressing room build out?
* Taxes – What are the income, sales, property taxes for that location?
* Employee Wages – What is the minimum wage for that state/county for office employees?
* Government Small Business Incentives – Are there any small business economic programs that you can take advantage of to start up the studio?
* Lease/Mortgage Terms – What are the leasing and mortgage terms and how will that affect your monthly business planning?
There are a number of good articles that provide other points of view and recommendations to assess a potential location. The links for those articles are below. It is highly recommended that you thoroughly understand what to look for in a location and understand the demographics of the surrounding area to determine the right fit of clientele to what your goals are for running a business.
https://www.sba.gov/blogs/how-choose-best-location-your-business http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/73784 http://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/demographics http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/05/choosing-a-franchise-location.html http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/choosing-successful-location-business-29678.html