If you’re thinking about relocating your business or a part of your business to another city or state,first you should do in-depth research and ask a lot of questions to ensure the continued success of your business. Don’t let your relocation efforts become a case study in disaster because you were too quick to move without the facts to make a smart, informed decision.
What Questions Should You Ask?
Is the relocation essential to help your business grow? Even the best relocations can be risky and extremely stressful. Have you exhausted all less radical means before considering relocation? Is the potential relocation based on long-term financial factors such as the cost of doing business or the need to be closer to customers, transportation hubs, or a skilled labor pool? Or is it based primarily on a desire to just get out of town? Some decisions are made on little more than a whim and some state or city’s fancy marketing materials.
If you must move, ask yourself what are the essentials, the “must-haves” for your business. Moving from one place to another is often a matter of trading one set of plusses and negatives for another. What is heaven to one business can be hell to another. Before shopping for a location, confirm your business’ essentials to help determine where your heaven is located.
Investigate City Marketing Claims
In recent years cities and states have stepped up their new-business efforts with chamber of commerce Web sites as well as brochures and ads touting the advantages of their area. Included in almost every Web site and marketing piece is a survey from some government or private organization claiming their city or state is the top location for business. You need to ask what aspect of business it is. Is it the “top location” because of tax incentives, the general cost of doing business, or the availability of skilled labor? Are the statistics about small business? Large business? Has the location received high marks for launching new businesses or building established leaders? Is the location recommended because it has the infrastructure for streamlining relocation or for providing ongoing business support?
Find out if the area is a top location for your specific business needs. Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming head many “best for business” surveys because of their tax advantages. But obviously if a deep-water port is No. 1 on your list of needs, those states are not the best for your business.
You might also want to question the results of a survey. Do the results represent a widespread perspective or just the perspective of a small universe of respondents or the survey creators? The answer can often be found in additional surveys on other Web sites, including the Department of Labor and the Tax Foundation. A city or state that ranks high for your business across a variety of surveys is worth investigating.
Asking questions of city or state officials on the phone, by e-mail, or in person can also help you avoid marketing claims and get the relevant facts. If your questions don’t get answered it might be all you need to know about a city. Some cities might not have a staffer or a department responsible for fielding relocation questions, which doesn’t say much about a city’s commitment to new business.
Asking questions until it hurts can help in every aspect of relocation, in choosing the best site, the best real estate agent, the best moving company, and the best incentives for your business through the move and into the future.