It's the Lease You Can Do: Why Small Business Owners need to Loan Attention to Rent
There are so many components that go into the management of a small business, each one of them vitally important in their own ways. However, one of the most important by far is the physical location of a small business (assuming that it has one). Where your business is actually located can make a big difference on what kind of foot traffic it will get, what times will be the most busy and who will be passing by. Another big potential impact is the rent that you are paying and the agreements that you have signed into the lease. Here’s what small business owners need to consider before they sign a lease for a brick and mortar location.
Don’t put the cart before the horse. If you aren’t ready to get started doing business out of your location, don’t sign a lease. Often, small business owners will find a location that they fall in love with, but don’t have inventory or any clientele, yet sign a lease anyway fearing that they will miss out on their dream location. This can be very, very dangerous as it means that you will be paying for the space with no way of generating revenues out of it until you catch up with the other components of your business. A location does not a business make; you need to have all the parts in place before you take on liabilities.
Read the fine print, and be prepared to negotiate if necessary. A great article from the Bellingham Herald serves as a warning for small business owners of what can befall them if they neglect to fully understand the terms of their lease agreements. The article covers the unfortunate cases of business owners who had the proverbial rugs pulled out from under them, in one case being forced out of a space that had been improved at the business owner’s expense, in another case being hit with fees that they didn’t see coming. The overarching point of the article is that small business owners cannot afford to simply assume that the terms of their agreements are favorable, they must be their own advocates and potentially consult council to ensure that they will not be left holding a bill or looking for an area to start over out of.
Don’t be afraid to ask for additional agreements that are specific to your business. Don’t ever assume that things will simply work themselves out. If your business has additional considerations that go beyond the rent agreement, make your voice heard. It’s important that both tenants and landlords understand what’s going on with each other, special considerations that need to be made and the like. Business is business, and there is no place for ambiguity where your livelihood is concerned.
Photo Credit to ^ Missi ^ On Flickr