Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew EXACTLY where to open your new business or that second location you always dreamed about? As the old, often overused adage says, it’s all about “location, location, location.”
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Finding the right location for your small business means weighing all the pros and cons, collecting, gathering, and weeding through data. To do that, you’ll need to know the right data to mine, where to mine it, and then, when all is said and done, how to analyze and make sense of that data. It’s complicated. It’s also something that IdealSpot aims to make a whole lot easier.
Employing the methods, tools, and skills required to acquire reliable location and demographic information is complex. And while large commercial entities, like big box retailers, may have the capital (human and financial) to help them find their next best location, small business owners are traditionally at a disadvantage.
IdealSpot offers customers a unique and affordable solution to this very dilemma. To find out more about the company, I spoke with Stephen Tarleton, Marketing Lead at IdealSpot and accomplished entrepreneur.
Tarleton seemed accustomed to addressing my first concern, which was the growing decline in brick-and-mortar success stories. Over the last decade or so, we’ve been inundated with stories of mom and pop shops heading out to pasture as Walmarts and Starbucks strong armed their way into communities across the U.S.
He was quick to quell that notion by highlighting Amazon’s recent attempts to take their digital footprint into the physical world. With their endeavors into book store ownership and recent acquisition of Whole Foods, he had a point. He also called upon companies like Warby Park who “are online native,” but “as their brand grows, they need brick and mortar access.” Essentially shifting my focus from the “death of retail” to what Tarleton referred to as a “retail renaissance” or “retail realignment”.
Why are the big guys flourishing in this retail renaissance while small businesses struggle? Tarleton highlights the fact that “[big box retailers] can move into retail and start being successful because they have really good info and data. They know what people are searching for and where they are searching for it.”
These companies have the budgets to not only access the data, but to hire the brains necessary to mine and make sense of the data. They also, in most cases, have years of experience as well as historical data – something many small business owners simply don’t have access to.
After we said our goodbyes, there was one thing that Tarelton discussed that stuck with me: the democratization of data. IdealSpot was built on the belief that small business owners, including mom and pop shops, deserve access to the very information that Starbucks or McDonalds use to plot their locale. And with that, he summarized their mission: “We want to bridge the gap.”
IdealSpot answers questions like “what location do I need to open up shop or move to” or “I own a commercial building, who is the right tenant for this location?” using their data-driven solution.
If you’re like me, your next question is probably along the lines of “well, why is this possible now?”
It has to do largely with the advances in the way we, the consumer, search for all our wants and needs has evolved. We turn to Google or social platforms to find our best options, whether that be to eat, relax, or fix a plumbing problem. Of course, all that would mean nothing to us if IdealSpot wasn’t breaking ground by making it accessible.
While some consumers are hesitant to embrace data collection, Tarleton points out that when we collect that data, our “demands are heard.” That is to say that if you search for or post about something you’re looking for, the information you are looking for will come.
Is IdealSpot Useful After A Company Sets Up Shop?
The ebb and flow of community needs can have a big impact on the overall success of a business. And Tarleton pointed out that their clients are beginning to use the data they once used to find the best location to find the perfect product and offerings, bolstering business based on highly effective datasets.
By harnessing information, such as search and social data, IdealSpot can help users identify the needs of not only local residents but of commuters and transient traffic.
The perfect example of IdealSpot’s longevity can be found in a tale of two eating establishments, both with great food and a little more to offer.
Pluckers Wing Bar, an establishment that originated in Austin but now has multiple locations across Texas, had been serving up our favorite, spicy, fried poultry parts, but as Tarleton points out, they were very much a sports bar. He went on to explain how through the use of IdealSpot, they were able to upload their information, cross reference it with the all that juicy data, and identify a demand for watching a game on ESPN.
Boston Pizza, an Irving, Texas eatery also made the most of fandom. “[The owner] actually uses our platform to determine what sports and teams to show on TV,” said Tarleton. His major insight? “There are ton of soccer fans living in Irving, TX, and so he’s been opening early and showing European games.” Pretty neat, if you ask me.
IdealSpot makes the most of data and technology, helps draw definitive conclusions based on consumer behavior, and perhaps most importantly, delivers data in a way that is easy for small business owners to digest and act upon. For those searching for the perfect location for their next endeavor, IdealSpot calls upon the feedback and analysis of every part of a community, from the needs of local residents and commuters to fulfillment and commercial real estate insights. Ultimately, it seems like an ideal solution for new and existing business owners who see the value in location, location, location.
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