Turning Point

You Wanna Do What?

By G. David Doran

Selling the concept of an unusual, offbeat business such as an oxygen bar to customers is difficult enough, but given today's tight commercial real estate market, you may also have to sell the concept to a prospective landlord.

"[Landlords] don't want trouble," says associate commercial real estate broker Cynthia J. Kratchman of Friedman Real Estate Group Inc. in Farmington Hills, Michigan. "They want stability. If the use is too offbeat, the chances of the business surviving are less and they end up having to re-rent the space."

So how do you convince a landlord your unique business won't end up as just another empty storefront with soaped windows? Kratchman suggests a little salesmanship is in order. "The landlord might try and put you off, so be persistent and try to get a meeting," she says. "You're selling the landlord on the fact that you have the mental, physical and financial wherewithal to start and run this business. You should also be prepared: Bring some financial information with you and show a good business plan."

If the landlord remains skeptical, says Kratchman, hire a local commercial real estate broker who knows the spaces and their landlords, and let that person do the talking for you.

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This article was originally published in the April 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Turning Point.

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