More and more people are using the internet to search for their homes, apartments, secondary homes, condos and other forms of residential real estate. People are saying that the internet and technology have eaten into the role and profits of residential real estate agents and it will continue to grow as more and more people become comfortable with using the internet to decide on a place to live. I think this trend maybe true for buying or renting a place to live and it may even be true for finding office space, but for the most part, this is NOT a way to find a winning location for your retail business.

There are a couple of things that determine whether a site is good or bad and remember, this is a business and it should not be emotional like buying a home. Here are just a couple of the factors that determine whether a site is suitable or not:

1) Co-Tenancy : Who is around you? Who are your neighbors? Who is going to help or hurt driving traffic to your establishment?

2) The Right Side of the Street: Is your business dependent on you being on a certain side of the street? (Breakfast versus Dinner)

3) Access: How easy is it for your customers to get to your establishment?

4) Parking: Are there enough parking spaces? Do you need surface parking? Are you competing with another tenant for parking spaces?

5) Signage: Do you need pylon/marquee signage? Do your neighbors have their typical signage or are they using a different type of signage to comply with the municipality?

And the list can go on and on. I am a huge fan of technology, but I just do not see how someone can really find a winning site without going to the site. Now, I know there are some exceptions to this rule, but most of the time it is essential to go out to the site.