5 things to consider when moving your business off the web and into a physical locationOutgrowing your home or web-based business? Want to get more involved with your local community and actually shake hands with your customers?

Congratulations! That said, taking the leap is easier said than done these days.

Running a brick and mortar business requires keen attention to detail and is often apples and oranges compared to a smaller, single-person operation. If you’re serious about moving to a physical location, there are five key points that you really need to consider before taking the leap.

So, where do you start?

Sort Out Your Legalese

Even if you’ve operated a solo or web-based venture, you should understand just how serious legal trouble can be and how it must be avoided at all costs. When running a business with a physical location, there are a whole slew of potential legal issues to face such as…

  • Dealing with customer complaints and lawsuits face-to-face
  • Hidden issues with your building and storefront such as repairs and legal codes
  • Employee liability and dealing with contract legalese (think: non-disclosure agreements and non-compete clauses)

If you haven’t already lawyered up and invested in liability insurance, it should be a matter of “when” not “if.”

Switch Up Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing a web-based business and a local business are two totally different ballgames. For starters, it’s crucial focus for physical businesses to focus on local SEO, targeting local keywords to help you dominate Google for relevant search terms in your own backyard. Meanwhile, social ads via Facebook can help you target people in your local community versus a blanket ad strategy that targets everyone.

Additionally, you might need to invest in physical signage and bring your digital assets into the real world (think: business cards and banners). In many cases, you should expect to spend some time out and about talking to people and networking face-to-face rather than simply hoping customers will show up at your storefront.

Do You Have Your Nest Egg?

Money is obviously the most important factor that determines whether or not your business is built for survival. While you shouldn’t give up on your dream of having a physical storefront, you need to be realistic in terms of how you’re going to keep the lights on and whether your dream could potentially bankrupt you.

Between your rent budget and a nest egg for hard times, you should expect to have cash on hand for months on end. Additionally, it never hurts to have a back-up plan in place in case of an emergency.

Have You Tested the Waters?

In some cases, there are in-between options for those looking to move from a home-based business to a physical location. Pop-up shops, co-working spaces and food-trucks are great examples of how solopreneurs can get involved with customer face-to-face without being tied down to an actual shop. If you’re in such an industry, it might be worthwhile to test the waters before getting stuck with something you can’t afford.

Be Prepared to Commit

Last but not least, consider that your decision to invest in a physical storefront may be one of the most important personal and financial commitments of your life.

Are you ready to live in the same area for the long-term? Is your family on board with your decision? Are you prepared to work through some tough times? You need to feel confident in your answers to these questions before spending a dime on a physical space for your business.

None of these considerations should deter you from your desire to open a storefront, but rather help you understand exactly what you’re getting to. Still food good after reading this list? Then there’s a good chance your mind is in the right place.