Q:I'm thinking about moving my business to another part of the country. How can I be sure this decision is right for my business?
A: Every year, the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence to many entrepreneurs, so they pull up stakes and move to a new city.
Chief among current reasons for relocation is the need for a suitable work force. Unemployment rates are lower than they've been in decades, and the shortage of workers in some occupations is acute. For firms that need specialized employees, it may be well worth it to relocate to an area where they can easily find these kinds of employees.
When a company is in outmoded or undersized facilities, that's another reason to consider moving. Most businesses start in a small facility and then move to bigger quarters in the same city. On the other hand, cost is a concern in any business decision, and a move can cure-or create-many cost issues. Companies often must compromise between staying close to target markets and choosing the lowest-cost facility.
Depending on circumstances, you may have other financial issues to consider. Large companies often land well-publicized tax concessions worth billions of dollars. Growing businesses rarely receive such perks because incentives are based on the number of jobs the business will create. An entrepreneur, however, may be able to tap a cash-flow windfall by selling a building or land that has appreciated in value, then purchasing or renting lower-cost space.
Quality of life is another issue to consider. Companies evaluating relocation often look at recreational opportunities, education facilities, crime rates, health care, climate and other factors when evaluating a city's quality of life.
In business, as in your personal life, not every move works out. But by looking closely at your reasons for moving and making sure the chosen spot addresses your needs, you'll increase the odds that the new location is the best choice for your business.