Getting into business involves many aspects. Aside from the concept, one has to consider the physical locations where to establish. Here is a young Architect Elmer Mamiit, a graduate of BS Architecture in Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT), who has done extensive works for many entrepreneurs. Hailing from a family of architects, Elmer is popularly known for his space saving and out of the box ideas. The Business Mentor sought out his tips and more on what to be on the look out for.

The Place
Architect Elmer: On scouting a place, shop, location or stand alone sites, I recommend that you already have an Architect or Designer with you on the preliminary site oculars so that design details be checked already beforehand based on your corporate branding standard requirements. It might be too costly to implement on the client’s part if the existing space, detail stub-outs, and Utility actuals be not available or suited on the proposed/ intended store or business.
For a good or visible location, depending on the kind of food business, it can be incorporated on a foot traffic basis of customers plying on that route or hallway, Busy foot traffic is recommended;

From an old dilapidated house, it was restored and converted into a well-known Sulu Coffee chain called Dennis Coffee Garden situated in San Jose Zamboanga City.

Shape of Space
Architect Elmer: For easy planning, not-too-costly type of shape, rectangular is the best shape as per our experience and is highly recommended; square is second best and circular might get you too costly for a fit-out. Irregular-shape plans might be costly too for interior fit-out due to numerous walls and corners to deal with but sometimes this kind of plan make it interesting of a plan depending on the type of business.

Store Fronts
Architect Elmer: usually, storefronts are given by the Lessor/Mall as per their own Design Guidelines, but as per design of a certain type of business we recommend out-of-the-box design and just have it approved from the design team of the lessor/Mall. If not approved, Compromise. They can give you suggestions on how to re-do the whole concept not sacrificing the store front design guidelines of the Mall and your own corporate branding, standard and design

Floors Walls and Ceilings
Architect Elmer: Check for appropriate durable materials. Do not splurge on the material concept sacrificing cost. There is always an alternative material that will be cheaper, more durable and would define the character of your shop.

A space utilized for a Fiorgelato International located in International departure NAIA Terminal 3

Utility Systems
Architect Elmer: Check for:
-Electrical: The system of a Mall or place is not always 240V, check availability of power load, especially the existing stub out if the Main Breaker is sufficient enough to power up your store;

-Mechanicals and Sanitary: These utilities might sometimes be tricky. Assure always that the space or location you get is well planned for This Utilities to
Incorporate on the plans. Design Guidelines of the Mall or Place will be a BIG help in deciding what utility to use and what utility is appropriate to your design.

-COST: Certainly, we need a good cost, not an expensive, too expensive fit-out / renovation cost but a well-planned, well-designated cost for all materials, equipment and labor. Sometimes clients tend to get the lowest bid of cost making sure he/she gets a good cost for his/her money but not knowing sacrificing the quality and standards of the construction /renovation.

Recommendations:
1. Know your materials, what you really need, what should really be, and when should it be needed.
2. Get an Architect. An architect should know what, when, and how it should or will be done for you. He or she should be of help and not of a burden to you.

Safety Requirements
Architect Elmer: Safety requirements should also be provided by the mall or space; There Utility is costly if there are no stub outs on the area. ALWAYS refer to the Design Guidelines of the MALL or space before planning out the entire space or maybe before making a Down payment for the space.

Communications
Architect Elmer: Telephone lines, private automatic branch exchange
(PABX) lines or Cable lines will also be a great help for the shop. Alternatives can be a cellular network. Look for strong signals and available Internet providers.

Finally it is always good to understand and be guided by a professional. Mistakes may be costly including delays in launching a business. The trial and error of being a know all or trying to save few amount may be creating more damage. In choosing an architect including contractor, make sure to do background check. Ask for referrals and know the area of expertise.

Time is always of the essence.