Deciding to open a business can be both exciting and intimidating. Designing a brand-new business location is unlike opening a franchise or other type of business that may already have a typical layout or floor plan that can be emulated. Starting from scratch is challenging, but well worth the effort for business owners that are looking to open a unique and profitable business.
Norwest Contractors has helped small business owners build their businesses from the ground-up by offering our expertise in areas of architectural, infrastructure, interior design, and more. As long as you consider location, layout, flow, and other factors, your small business design is sure to offer your customers a worthwhile experience. To help you make some decisions regarding your small business design, we’ve compiled the top considerations you should take into account while in the planning and designing phases of your business building.
The Exterior of Your Business
- Geographical Location
Retail locations come in all shapes and sizes. You may consider moving your business to a strip shopping center, downtown district, or free-standing building. Regardless of where you choose to relocate or build your business, the design plans you decide to incorporate will ultimately revolve around the location you move into. Try to keep an open mind about which spot you ultimately choose and be sure to consider multiple possibilities.
- Building Features
Once you have found a space for your small business, your next set of challenges will likely come from the original architecture of the space itself. Will your lease agreement allow you to change the colors of the exterior building? What about adding a specific trim or decorative feature? A leasing contract may bind you to only change certain elements on the exterior of your new business space or none at all. Some areas require that the historical integrity of the buildings be maintained. Therefore, businesses must abide by specific regulations when it comes to changing any part of the building’s exterior.
- Entrance and Window Design
The entrance and the windows of your business are often the first impressions that your customers receive when viewing or entering your business. Any professional retail space will have window displays, if applicable, and inviting entrances that entice customers to come inside. You will want to consider how to best use these building structures in your small business design. You may want to ensure your budget accounts for window stickers with your logo, door signs, and other features that will add a personal and inviting look to your business. Window displays of some kind are also a great way to give potential customers a preview of your best selling or seasonal items.
The Interior of Your Business
Once you have gone over the exterior design for your small business, you will need to move on to interior design planning. During this phase, you will have multiple considerations to make in terms of customer experience and flow. The best retail spaces accommodate customers in a way that makes their retail experience comfortable and encourages them to come back.
At Norwest Contractors, we guide our clients through the best layouts and floorplans they might want to incorporate in the interior of their businesses. Read on to find out more about the different kinds of floorplans that are most popular and whether or not your business will best be served by choosing one over another.
- Store Layout and Customer Flow
The first kind of store layout you might consider in your small business design plans is known as a grid layout. Grid layouts allow customers to move quickly and efficiently through your store, are comfortable and familiar due to their popularity, and help simplify inventory for retail businesses. Grid layouts make shopping easier because they offer a clear line of sight throughout your store. Larger retailers typically use grid layouts and you may find a similar setup beneficial for your business.
The most widely recognized forced-path design from any retail store in recent years comes from IKEA. If you have ever been to an IKEA store, you know that their layout forces customers to walk through every area of their showrooms from living spaces and kitchenware, to lighting and artwork. This type of design has been shown to increase customer flow and overall sales.
Loop layouts are often set up like a racetrack. They are sometimes even referred to as a “yellow brick road” design, where the beginning of the path takes the customer through the entire store and finally leads them to the checkout area. This design offers a visible and clear customer flow without boxing customers into a fixed shopping pattern.
For your small business design, you may opt for a combination of several different kinds of layouts. Freeform, mixed, or creative layouts may suit your business better compared to a fixed setup. Free flow or mixed layouts allow for the most creativity. You can incorporate angles, straight lines, and curves to help better display merchandise.
- Customer Accessibility
Any small business design that is sure to lead to customer success will incorporate design elements that display your products well and allow customers to access them easily. To choose the right store layout for your business design, you will need to consider spacing between aisles, wheelchair accessibility, and other factors that could make or break how comfortable it is for your customers to move about your store. A stuffy or crowded space is sure to be a turn-off to a majority of customers, especially if they are in a wheelchair or use other mobility assistive devices. You will want to take into consideration all of the potential customers you may serve and guarantee that your business design and layout will accommodate all persons.
- Colors, Lighting, and Overall Interior Design
No small business design is complete without a proper interior design. One of the most significant factors you will need to consider when it comes to your business is how well the colors, lighting, and overall mood of your store fits together. Most small business owners will hire interior designers to take over these elements. An interior designer can help create a well-designed space that incentivizes customers to stay inside of your business for longer and increase their potential purchases as well.
The interior design of your small business should never be considered last, as it is often the first thing your customers will notice. The little details make a difference, especially when it comes to interior colors. According to Georganne Bender, a retail consultant, orange and browns have an inviting and reassuring effect on shoppers, while greens or blues entice a calming effect. Yellow and red are great as accent colors, especially around product displays, since they grab customer attention quickly. However, while the color red can incentivize customers to purchase more, it can also cause agitation if used too much. Finding the right balance of colors is key to promoting sales and increasing overall customer satisfaction.
Hire a Retail Contractor to Help
As a business owner, you already have a lot on your plate. Whether you are well into the designing process of your small business build-out, or you are just getting started, chances are you could use some help. The basic design elements of any small business space are just the start when it comes to covering all of the details involved with constructing a business location. Hiring a retail contractor is a great way to ensure that you don’t miss any relevant features that may help increase your sales and improve the operation of your business overall.
There are pros and cons to every kind of store layout, physical location, and interior design that you might consider for your business. Hiring the right small business contractor will be well worth the investment. Working with a retail contractor is a great way to tie in all the essential considerations you will need to make to open and run a successful business location. A contractor will also keep your unique needs in mind and help you stay on track with your budget.
Norwest Contractors is the Small Business Contractor You Need!
Norwest Contractors has years of experience helping small businesses get off the ground by renovating and revamping their locations in a way that promotes sales and a positive experience that keeps customers coming back for more. You can take a look at some of our past small business designs here.
If you are a business owner in the Portland-Metro area and looking for an experienced retail contractor, let Norwest Contractors help! Our team of interior designs, architects, and project managers will see to it that no detail of your small business design is left untouched. Our thorough property inspections, proven design strategies, and careful budget planning will make the transition to a physical business location easy and as simple as possible.
Give our team at Norwest Contractors a call now at 503-291-6986 or fill out our contact form here to get started with your small business design planning today!