A surfboard maker in Kansas? Not likely. Where you locate your business requires in-depth research beforehand and a clear mission statement for your company or organization. Site location is not a part of your business plan to take lightly. Locate in the wrong place, and you could have trouble attracting qualified employees, high-caliber managers and the supplies you need in small business to keep your operation going.

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Site Selection More Than A Nice Building

Here are some good pointers for choosing where to start a business:

  • What are the demographics? Will you hire a lot of Ph.D.s? Then you better know what type of lifestyle this segment of your workforce desires, so they will move where you are. Maybe your workers are mainly blue collar. If so, is that the dominant workforce in the community you are considering? Do the housing prices suit your desired workforce? How about schools and social offerings? You need an overview of wages, education levels, etc. as part of your research into your site location.
  • Are taxes and other laws favorable to your type of business?
  • Are your competitors in town? If not, maybe they know something you should know. The closer to the competition you can locate, the better, advises Greg Kahn, founder and CEO of Kahn Research Group in Huntersville, N.C. They have already done their homework, and the area is probably already known for your product. This way, you don't have to spend as much money on site selection because the competition already has.
  • Investigate the area to make sure it's financially feasible and adequate for years to come.

Local Wages, Employee Pool

The local employment pool can tell you whether a particular area is the right site location for your business. Government resources-local, state and federal-as well as chambers of commerce and universities offer resources such as labor demographics that can help you determine the best location.

A simple reminder is if you plan to start out hiring nominally skilled employees, will they be able to grow with you as you start a business and expand, or will you have to hire upper-level employees from outside the area? This could prove problematic if you are located in an area that doesn't attract such professionals.

Remember, regions are known for their types of workforce. For instance, general high tech workers gravitate to Silicon Valley, Texas and the Northeast. Blue collar jobs are common all over, but especially in more rural areas.

Infrastructure and Government Policies

Transportation is critical. Make sure you consider the types of transportation options that are available in an area. Will you require a lot of air travel or access to rail? Is access to water necessary? Another related thought is traffic. Is there mass transit available so your employees don't have to spend a lot of time sitting in traffic?

Real Estate is a main priority. Seek a professional commercial real estate expert or site selection firm to help you. Decide whether you need to build a new facility or can rent or lease an existing one. Remember that when opening a business, it will take time to turn a profit. In the meantime, you'll need a cash cushion. For this reason, you may want to consider renting or leasing space at the outset.

Government policies have a big impact. You need to know whether the government in a particular area is business-friendly. Taxes, fees and other costs can severely limit what you can do, so make sure you seek dependable information on this before you move forward.

Amenities will help attract qualified employees. Potential employees will be more fulfilled if they can take advantage of great schools, parks, a clean environment and a safe community. Do your homework and check periodic rankings of great places to live that magazines and others publish. These can help you determine where the best schools are for your employees' families-a priority for a quality workforce.

Where you locate can shape the success-or failure-of your business or organization. You can't control for everything, but you need to perform extensive due diligence so you locate in the place where you can take advantage of the types of workers you need, where the competition has already built a good reputation for the area, and where your employees and their families can thrive outside of work.

Get started Incorporate Your Business Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Incorporate Your Business Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.