The Value of Advance Planning
Choosing a business location is perhaps the most critical decision, and once you are committed to a choice it is expensive to change. It involves looking at demographics, assessing your supply chain, scoping the competition, staying on budget, understanding state laws and taxes, and much more.
This selection should be one that fulfils business objectives in the most cost effective way, and as such is a trade off between cost and quality factors. At the outset, a company needs to identify which factors are the key drivers in the location choice – is it access to market? Availability of skilled labor? Transport infrastructure? Most likely it is a combination of all these, and others. By working through this issues, a set of quantitative and qualitative data points can be developed.
Typically, the factors to consider will include:
- Cost: Labor, Property, Utilities, Corporate Tax, Incentives
- Quality: Labor Skills, Labor Flexibility, Connectivity, Infrastructure, Risk, Quality of Life
All of these factors can also be broken down into sub-factors.
A robust corporate location process involves using a range of primary and secondary data sources, starting out with a “long list” of states or cities, and through robust and logical analysis identifying 2 – 3 cities that meet the criteria. At this point, a company should visit these locations, talk to similar companies, government officials, and even recruiters, to understand which city is the right “fit” for them.