You might be thinking…

I want to start, grow, or relocate my business and want to find an ideal location — where do I start?

Be ready to tell your story and carefully think about the physical needs of your business, like kitchen space or storage, and the kind of space you will need. Organization and communication are critical in your real estate search.

Terms to familiarize yourself with

A presentation (ideally done in PowerPoint or PDF format) of your project and its goals. The concept deck provides background information, a general vision of your idea, and supporting information that will help bring your project to life.

The Small Business Administration/SBA supports small businesses in guaranteeing loans. It sets guidelines for loans made by its partnering lenders, community development organizations, and micro-lending institutions.

A document (usually a spreadsheet with two columns) that details where the project budget funds are coming from (owner equity, investors, bank debt) and how the funds will be spent (hard costs, soft costs, etc.).

Preparing Your Concept Deck

A concept deck is a written presentation document that provides potential landlords or investors with an overview of your business, your experience, your team, and a vision of your company’s future.

A concept deck is a written presentation document that provides potential landlords or investors with an overview of your business, your experience, your team, and a vision of your company’s future.

Suggested Sections to Include in Your Concept Deck

  • Company name/logo
  • Your name and contact information
  • A quality, high-resolution photo that represents your business
  • What motivated you to start or grow your business?
  • About you: What is your relevant background/experience?

Share some key events or moments that have been important in the history of your business and have shaped its growth:

  • This could be the date the business was founded or when your first location opened, when you hit a certain sales or revenue target, or any other achievements you are proud of or feel are important to understanding the business’ strengths.
  • If this is a new business, provide relevant experience, passion, or drive behind the business.
  • If this is an existing business, include images of your business or the work you are doing (i.e. if you are selling from a farmer’s market, running private tours, etc.).
  • Why does your business exist?
  • What makes it different from other similar businesses?
  • What are your core values you want customers and partners to take away from visiting your business?

Provide further information about your business based on the specific business type it is. See suggestions for restaurant, service, and retail business types below:


  • Type of restaurant
  • Service model (quick-service/take-away, full-service/sit-down, etc.)
  • Sample menu
  • Operating hours
  • What separates you from other businesses with similar offerings
  • Target demographic


  • Services offered
  • Describe customer experience
  • Access to your services (membership versus pay-per-visit)
  • Operating hours
  • Target demographic


  • Products or goods sold
  • Describe customer experience
  • Describe the shopping environment
  • Operating hours
  • Target demographic
  • Briefly describe the look and feel of your next space — e.g., size, atmosphere, decor, lighting, etc.
  • Include images of other businesses or spaces that inspire you if you don’t have an existing location or your existing location is not a representation of where you are headed with the business.

Much of this is covered in the “Search Criteria + Considerations” section to come, but it is also important to include in your concept deck.

  • Detail space requirements — i.e., approximate square feet.
  • Be sure to include the space you need for back-of-house functions such as kitchen, storage, bathroom, office, etc. — not just where customers will be.
  • List the neighborhoods where you are interested in opening your business.
  • Share location requirements such as high foot traffic, good visibility, or near public transit.
  • Share what condition you would like the space to be in (new construction versus previously used/occupied).
  • Note any special requirements, such as venting for kitchen exhaust or loading needs.
  • List the key members of the businesses team (ownership or management) and their respective roles, such as operations, finance/accounting, head chef, etc.
  • Share the team members’ background and relevant experience.
  • Tip: include headshots of team members to help personalize the story.
  • Include name(s) of main contact person, phone number, and email.

Additional Resources

We’ve included a sample Concept Deck as part of our Resources section of this Tool Kit. See how a real business in Boston (Las Palmas) presented themselves to potential landlords.

Search Criteria + Considerations

Before reaching out to landlords and brokers to tour spaces, define the following key items. Remember, your time is valuable, so be strategic, targeted, and disciplined with your real estate search.