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One of the Best Business Decisions I Ever Made: Relocating to Florida Things like community, business climate, infrastructure, and quality of life can make all the difference.

Courtesy of Enterprise Florida
Tampa, Florida

Where your business is physically located can be the determining factor in your business's success. There are many reasons. Among them can be access to capital, talented workforce, taxes, infrastructure, and more. If you don't have one or all these things where you are, you might need to find a new home for your business.

For a company of any size, the decision to relocate is a massive undertaking. Leaders who are looking to move their business have a significant number of variables to consider, from how a relocation could positively or negatively affect business operations to how it might affect employees and their families' livelihoods. When Shirl Penney, founder and CEO of Dynasty Financial Partners, began to consider options for relocation, this kickstarted an extensive search to find a city that would not only allow the business to flourish but would ultimately enhance his employees' quality of life.

Dynasty Financial Partners was founded at the end of 2010 in Midtown Manhattan. Over the years, Penney and his team began to recognize that factors such as cost of living, commute times, tax environments, and competition for talent had steadily increased. "The board of directors eventually got together to discuss what we could do to put the business in the best position to enhance our economics over time and increase capital for investing in technologies for the business," Penney remembers.

Say hello to the Sunshine State.

They soon settled on the decision that relocation would allow them to achieve these business goals, but Penney made certain that his employees' well-being would be prioritized throughout the search for a new home base. He considered a long list of cities, and even personally made trips to many of them with his wife to determine which location would provide the best quality of life for his employees while advancing long term business goals.

"We had to consider every little detail, for example, what the surrounding school districts were like for employees with children to what housing for employees of certain pay levels may look like," Penney explains.

Dynasty Financial Partners' office in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Image credit: Dynasty Financial Partners

After roughly 18 months of research and exploration, Penney decided to take Dynasty Financial Partners to St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2019. According to Penney, there were three main qualities that helped St. Petersburg outshine the other locations: the city's community, infrastructure, and economics. And state resources like Enterprise Florida help businesses grow and create their futures in Florida.

On Florida's Gulf Coast near Tampa, the area around St. Petersburg is growing rapidly and attracting big businesses with its cost-friendly and pro-business climate. With proximity to Port Tampa Bay and the area's top-rated airport, the region has become a center for distribution and logistics. But the business landscape offers much more, with startups, mid-size companies and large corporations spanning industries like financial services, information technology, life sciences and healthcare, and defense and security.

"The standout for me, specifically, was the community; it felt like every time we visited, we got to experience the community "bear hug,'" Penney says. "Each and every time we visited, other business leaders, the economic development committee, the mayor's office, and even the professional sports teams were aligned and shouting from the rooftops about the opportunity that exists in St. Pete. It truly seems like the leadership here has a vision and passion for smart, controlled growth, and that, as a leader myself, spoke to me."

A place where businesses can shine.

In addition to the tight-knit community and support that St. Petersburg offers Dynasty Financial Partners and their employees, the city's infrastructure and economics have played a significant role in how business has grown since their relocation.

"It's a big deal for a national financial firm like ours to be able to have our clients and our team book direct flights for traveling the country and conducting business," Penney says. "The investments that the community has made in infrastructure, such as public transport and access to several different airports, has been just as critical in our decision as the city's economics."

Everything from the cost of living to the cost of real estate and talent has been conducive to being able to make more significant investments in the business, Penney says. Since relocating to Florida, Dynasty Financial Partners has tapped the local talent pool to hire more than 50 new employees. Penney says the business has grown by every metric.

Dynasty Financial Partners employees on a sunny Florida day.
Image credit: Dynasty Financial Partners

"Assets, revenue, personnel, basically everything across the board has doubled since we decided to move the business to Florida," he says. "Our employees are set up to be in a better position financially, too. When you apply the cost of living and the tax savings, the average person within the company essentially got a 20- to 25-percent raise."

To Penney, relocating to Florida and immersing the business in St. Petersburg's spirit of collaboration and community was one of the best decisions he has made for his company. "I can't wait to see what's to come," he says.

Find out more about how you can find a future for your business in Florida. Visit EnterpriseFlorida.com.