The Site Selection Process: Choosing the Best Business Location

Business Site Selection

Selecting a new site for your business?

If so, don’t write off the concept of “location, location, location” as a cliche for real estate professionals. Your business location can have serious implications on your ability to minimize costs, avoid risks, attract employees (and in retail, customers), and grow.

However, business site selection is more complex than picking an attractive lease in a buzzworthy zip code. Without the right process in place, what looks good on paper may be bad for your business.

To secure your best, next location, your site selection process must consider these factors:

  • Easy access to major highways, interstates, and major roads
  • Short, favorable travel times for employees, vendors, and customers
  • Proximity to landmarks, population clusters, and other high-traffic areas
  • Availability of tax breaks and other financial incentives
  • Your competitor’s locations
  • Market saturation, including locations where your target demographics are concentrated—and areas you are currently underserving
  • Environmental concerns, including areas that may put your business operations at risk

And more.

Learn about the factors and principles of site selection, how to choose a business site selection successfully, and how Maptive’s robust GIS mapping software can streamline the site selection process.

Simplify your site selection process. Start your free 10 day trial of Maptive today.

What is business site selection?

Site selection is the process of combining financial, demographic, and geospatial research and analysis to choose the optimal location for your business.

There are two main types of site selection for businesses:

  • Retail site selection: often done in tandem with catchment area analysis, retail site selection aims to intelligently plant stores in the best and most densely-populated places for your target market demographics. Competitor locations are critical.
  • Corporate site selection: for an office or headquarters to be a growth center, it must be located in a financially-friendly, well-connected area with a thriving workforce. Corporate site selection prioritizes a balance of low risk, minimal costs, and maximum opportunity.

In site selection, research is everything. The more valuable data you have, the smarter, more-informed business location decisions you can make.

However, research alone can quickly become abstract. And the massive volumes of spreadsheet data you’ll need for sound decision making can be very overwhelming.

That’s why most teams conducting business site selection trust GIS software like Maptive to transform their troves of business location data into practical, intuitive, and actionable data visualization maps in seconds. Try Maptive free for 10 days. No credit card required.

What are the 5 Principles of the Site Selection Process?

Site selection without the guidance of principles is rudderless—and puts your business at risk of inefficiency, unnecessary expenses, and damaging decisions. Trust these five principles:

  1. Business sites should be quick and easy to reach.
  2. Business sites should be conveniently located for dense populations of your ideal employees and/or customers.
  3. Business sites should take advantage of the best financial incentives like tax credits and tax breaks available.
  4. Business sites should limit exposure to risks caused by compliance issues, environmental factors, entrenched competition, and more.
  5. Business sites should be placed in locations forecasting long-term economic growth.

Data mapping can help you easily extract a shortlist of high-upside potential business locations. And Maptive’s wide range of powerful features can help you hone in on your best choice. Schedule your free live demo to get guidance, tips and tricks on site selection for your business.

How to Choose a Business Location in 5 Simple Steps

There’s no substitution for a clear process. Here’s how to choose a business location, from initial steps and what to research all the way through getting the best out of your data.

Step 1: Assemble your site selection project team

In site selection, there are too many variables—and too high of stakes—to go it alone. Put together a site selection team of key players from your executive, operations, HR, and financial departments. Even site selection consultants, if need be.

Step 2: Align your goal

What is the purpose of your new business site? Is it a retail or corporate location? What are your parameters? Budget? How will you measure the site’s success?

Step 3: Compile and filter initial data

Once you have your criteria in place, collect initial data. Internal business data, external commercial real estate data, and United States Census and Demographics data—available to you in an instant with Maptive—each give your site selection map valuable depth. Then, use Maptive’s Filter Tool to hone in on your ideal target areas.

Step 4: Collect in-depth data to select top options

Now that you have target areas in mind, conduct comprehensive research on every important factor that may impact a site’s viability. Collect data on:

  • Access to major roads, highways, airports, and quality infrastructure
  • Zip code-by-zip code demographics on your talent- and customer-pool, including education and household income
  • Competition, including size, location, and average wages
  • Finances: including utility and logistics costs, labor costs, tax rates, and government tax incentives
  • The local economy, including major industries, recent market trends, and forecasts
  • Environmental factors that could put your business, office, or employees at risk in the short- and/or long-term—or influence public policy, employee turnover, or operations

Simply upload your Excel spreadsheet, Google Sheet, CRM, or other .CSV data—or copy-and-paste or manually enter it—into Maptive, and the software will handle the heavy lifting and analysis for you.  Maptive makes it easy to pick your best options in a matter of minutes!

Step 5: Conduct site visits & decide on your site selection!

Visit your best potential site selections, conduct due diligence, make a decision, and negotiate your lease or purchase price. You now have your brand new business location!

While the process is far from easy, Maptive helps businesses choose office locations by making the most tedious and time-consuming steps as simple as a click of a button. Ready to choose your business location? Start your free, no-risk 10 day trial of Maptive now.

Site Selection Criteria for Specific Industries: What are Some Additional Factors of Site Selection?

Wholesale & Distribution: supply chain logistics between distribution centers, suppliers, and clients.

Real Estate: current market conditions and outlook, rental occupancy rates, real estate sales figures, and street-by-street insights for real estate brokers

Private Infrastructure: existing electric, fiber optics, water and sewer systems, and government contracts and spending data.

Airports: local domestic and international travel statistics, regional competition, access to interstates and major highways, and airline networks.

Restaurant Chains & Retailers:  local business climate, labor availability, access to suppliers, and local taxes.

Want to gain insight on factors specific to your business and industry? Brainstorm ideas and learn solutions with our rockstar support team. Schedule your live demo now.

Tap into Maptive for Confident & Productive Site Selection

With its industry-leading range of enterprise-level and user-friendly features, Maptive makes it easy to choose your best business location possible. Here are some (of many) examples.

Intuitively map your potential locations, suppliers, competitors, and more.

Your site selection map should be rich with layers of important data. However, that poses another question: how can you intuitively read so much information? With Maptive’s Grouping Tools: simply color and customize your markers by category, then filter them for easy retrieval.

Visualize market demographics with the click of a button.

No business location map is complete without demographic data. With Maptive, you get instant access to the latest U.S. Census Demographic Data, so you can get deeper insights on your chosen location’s population density, median household income, education, and more.

Meet your market demand efficiently with heat maps.

With hot spot heat maps available at your fingertips, you can identify where you’re succeeding—and where you need to open locations. All from your spreadsheet data. Visualize and track your concentrations of data, identify hot spots, and discover your cold spots.

Identify risky geographical and environmental factors.

A bad weather system can set your business back in an instant. Business-shattering factors can creep up on you with climate change. Identify geographic and environmental risks easily with rich satellite imagery sourced via Google Maps.

Optimize routes, drive times, and logistics in real time.

When it comes to employees, customers, and delivery trucks, time and stress behind the wheel can have an outsized impact on your bottom line. Maptive’s dynamic duo of driving intelligence tools—the Driving Radius Maps and Drive Time Polygon Tools—can help you track how far you can reach, where you can go, and where your business should be—with real-time data.

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