Originally published in Inc.
Relocation isn't something businesses do regularly, so owners understandably weigh options carefully before making a decision. Whether it is a move across town or to a new city entirely, there are many important factors to consider when selecting the next home for your business.
I recently spoke with Scott Fadness about what to look for when relocating your business. As the mayor Fishers, IN, an entrepreneurial city looking to attract new businesses, Scott has had countless conversations with business owners regarding relocation and has learned a lot about what they deem most important when selecting a location.
For business owners considering making a move in the next year, here are three primary questions Scott recommends asking yourself before selecting a location:
1) Will the local workforce be able to fill the talent that your business needs?
If your business is part of the idea economy, it's important to think about where you will be able to get talented people to come and work. Unlike workforces for manufacturing and industrial industries, members of the creative class and those with advanced degrees tend to be a lot more transient. So, this not only means a place where talent lives currently, but a place where they would be willing to relocate themselves.
Take Memory Ventures for example, which recently relocated from Los Angeles to the City of Fishers. The company weighed many options but preferred Fishers based, in part, on their ability to recruit from a pool of local Indiana talent. This provided a growth trajectory thatconvinced 12 of their best employees from LA to make the move along with the company.
2) Does the interaction feel transactional?
Yes, relocation means you're buying into a community. You're also investing into moving costs, the cost of keeping both locations running while you transition and operating costs in your new location. Even with all of this considered, the choice to move a business shouldn't feel transactional.
This can be especially hard when cities are offering tax advantages or other monetary incentives to make a move. However, relocating involves a lot more than a simple exchange of goods, services or funds. So look for a location that welcomes your business as a member of the community and a partner in the area's economic growth and development, rather than customer or a line item on a balance sheet.
3) Is there a sense of place?
Everyone from founders of co-working spaces to city leaders talk about a "sense of place" where businesses and entrepreneurs can flourish, but it takes more than available office space and business resources to create that unique feeling.
"Sense of place" involves a combination of characteristics that make a place special and unique. That could be a historic downtown combined with top-ranked schools. It could be a thriving nightlife and great music scene or a place with parks and community activities. Whatever makes up that location's "sense of place," it's important that it match the needs and the values of your business. When the sense of place matches your business needs and values, you've likely found an ecosystem where your business can thrive.
The reasons businesses choose to relocate vary, but asking yourself the right questions to determine if specific location is right for your business is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success. Location can impact talent, your company's relationship with the community around it and overall business success, so make sure you choose wisely.