The End of “Location, Location, Location”?

No, i’m not talking about the end for location based apps, although any of those apps like Foursquare are seeing their market share eroded by other apps who simply add geo location as a feature – location is not really rocket science. It’s funny what people consider hot for a while. but I digress.

No, I was talking about the old real estate trope : name the three most important attributes of a property? Location, location, location! Well, I’m foreseeing the end of that.

For example, remember how it used to be a really dumb any for anyone to locate a business off the beaten track – if it was impossible to find your business, it was impossible to be successful. Well, I cant remember the last time I didn’t first go to yelp before deciding where to go eat, which led me to the restaurant, no matter how obscure the location. In fact, I found an amazing African place hidden of in the middle of a housing development in San Jose, and I never would have found it without Yelp, Google Maps and my Galaxy S3.

Not just for business – but with the advances in telecommuting we can literally live practically anywhere in the world as long as we can communicate with our colleagues or customers. If the internet is there, most of us can work there.

So when it comes to business, location, location, location is rapidly no longer becoming a factor. As long as your customers can find you online, then you can be successful, no matter where you are – therefore you can locate your business in a much lower rent location. Now on the flip side, you do still have to factor the desirability of your customers to want to travel to you. But the whole physical requirement of foot traffic is not essential.

Case in point: a prospect seeking you out because of excellent social media reviews would much rather travel to you than your competitors which may be closer. You social media presence then becomes your virtual storefront. So, if you pick this strategy, you have to go all out, social media wise, in order to draw people to you.

For example, my wife was contacted by a store owner who wanted to present her wares in her store. The store was in an obscure location in the middle of downtown San Jose, in a repurposed building. She had rented a small room in this building and had opened a shop in this room. If its weren’t for Yelp, Google Maps, and a sandwich board chalk sign at the front of the building, we never would have found it. But my guess is that she will be successful, because she is leveraging social media as her storefront.

Food for thought, for those of you who are thinking of starting a retail location: do you really need to put it in a high traffic, high cost spot? Maybe not anymore.


  1. This is the truth. I am actually moving my business to an obscure town outside of Portland, Oregon based on proximity to Portland. But also far enough out that it feels like a petite vacation. The cool thing is that the rent on the 3,000 sq. ft. building that has been fully restored into beautiful historic awesomeness can be a live/work space and doesn’t need to make much. For $800 per month, I can run a bangin’ business and have a bitchin’ living space, and for what would cost me $9,000 per month in Portland. Big thumbs up on this!

  2. Exactly what I’m saying – this is probably going to be hugely disruptive to the real estate market. On the flip side, your social network presence must be top of mind in all your communications…

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