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How do I know if moving our business from home to a retail location is a good idea?

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We have been in business 14 years and have always had a residential studio. I am a little tired of the 24/7 business and people stopping by anytime without appointments. How do I know if moving our business to a retail location is a good idea? We have a very strong referral-based business and sales have been steady even during the slowing economy. I know that opening a retail location will be a draw on our income but I am hoping that having easier access and more exposure will bring in enough additional business to cover our higher overhead.
There are pros and cons to both options, as you already know. The best way to decide if the timing is right for you is to make 2 lists: one for all the reasons why you should do it and one focused on the downside risks. Assign a value to each line item then add up each side and see where the chips fall. Signing a lease for retail space may require locking into a longer term commitment, so you may want to see if there are other similar businesses that have some extra space for you to try on a shorter term basis to lower your risk and out of pocket expense. If the timing is not to move is not right, you should reevaluate within a year and see if you come to the same conclusion. Only you will know when it makes sense for your business.

Good luck,

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