Retail gap analysis

Smoky River Regional Economic Development

Dan Dibbelt
Smoky River Regional
Economic Development

Once in awhile, someone pops into our office and expresses an interest in starting or opening up a new business in the region, but they are not sure what kind of business. Often they are looking for information that might direct them to potential opportunities and often they already have an idea in mind.

Some entrepreneurs may already have an idea in mind. Perhaps their dad was a baker or butcher and they think there may be an opportunity there. Others notice they drive out of town on a regular basis to pick up certain items or secure certain services, and they see an opportunity to bring that product/service back to their community. Others simply have a passion that they wish to follow. What they all have in common is they would like to make money and run a successful business.

The actual rates of survival for new businesses are about 66 per cent in the first two years. That means about one-third of new businesses will fail. Statistics also show that the longer a business survives, the greater the chances that it will continue to survive.

It should be noted, however, that just because a business closed in the first two years, does not indicate that it was not successful. They may have closed for personal reasons, inability to get staff, or even they were simply too busy and the demand took a toll on the owners who were not anticipating such a rapid growth rate.

There is no way to guarantee a new business will be a success, however, there are certainly some indicators that will improve its chances. The owner’s passion for a business is certainly vital. Opening a new business is a major commitment of both money and time. If the owner is passionate about the business they are more willing to commit the long hours required to keep a business afloat and growing.

But realistically, the best tool to indicate the potential success is simply doing your homework before you jump in head first.

Smoky River Regional Economic Development has contracted a retail gap analysis to help us and potential businesses with their homework. The retail gap analysis provides a market overview of the Smoky region. It provides information on existing business, available properties and regional demographics.

All these indicators are relevant to starting a business. It is important to know what competition is the region you plan to locate. You also want to know if there are available properties to locate your business. You want to know how many people come into the community to shop and you want to know what average household incomes are in your market area as well.

It is also helpful to understand the minority profile, the age demographic and the percentage of owners versus rentals. All these indicators well provide you some insight into whether your product or service will stand a fair or better chance of surviving and thriving.

Depending on what type of business or service you are offering, you will still need more data to make and educated decision. Presently we are working on a number of other bits of data, including road counts.

It’s nice to know how many people are driving by your community that could be a potential customer. Once we have all this data gathered it will be posted on our website, but we also encourage you to come into the M.D. office if you have an idea you would like to pursue.

We don’t have a crystal ball, but we do have some guidance. We can help direct you through your business plan process or provide you options for financing. We hope to have the updates to the website with this new information by mid-June. In the meantime, feel free to drop in our call.

Share this post