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Should you look for a location to start your business?

One of the mistakes many new business owners make is opening a stand-alone location right away. If you aren't going to have walk-up business or serve in the retail or restaurant niche, consider carefully whether you need a business location. This can be one of the largest expenses for a newly formed business, and you can save tens of thousands in the first year by taking a more frugal stance.

Whether or not you start your business out of your garage depends heavily on what you plan to do. Code requirements typically prevent you from starting a food or manufacturing business in a residence, for example, and it might not look professional if you are a lawyer or doctor. If you have a lovely downtown home with an apartment over the garage or a mother-in-law home in the yard, however, you might get away with such tactics.

If you are starting a small business providing online goods and services, or you go to the customer's home or place of business to do your work, your dining table might be all you need in the way of an office. Even with a staff member or two, you might be able to function with everyone working online.

If you can't start your company at home or you grow enough to require a location, choose it wisely. Double check demographics and code to ensure your business can succeed in the area you choose, and don't be afraid to set up shop near a competitor if there's enough business to go around. Before you sign any lease or property contract, work with a business law professional to ensure your business and your interests are fully protected.

Source: Entrepreneur, "How to Find the Best Location," Karen E. Spaeder, accessed Sep. 23, 2016

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