If you’re thinking about expanding into a new location, you may be interested in learning about what economic development groups are doing to try to convince businesses to invest in their communities. The below summarizes the three Site Selection Megatrends that I have seen, as well as implications for manufacturers that are considering relocating or expanding. 

Site Selection Megatrend #1: Mitigation of Risk

Economic development groups are working to be more ready and more aligned to mitigate the risk and uncertainties that companies face when making business relocation decisions. 

What does this mean for companies that are considering relocating or expanding?

  • There is a trend toward shovel-ready or certified sites. This means that all the key aspects of a particular site have been checked and re-checked, with a goal of eliminating any costly surprises.
  • Increasingly, incentives policies are being developed to attract the kinds of businesses that are the best fit for a community, to ensure that these projects get preferential treatment.
  • More and more small- to medium-sized companies are retaining the expertise of professional site selection firms. Companies don’t usually have the expertise to do these one-off projects in-house. The costs of a wrong decision are high, and professional site selectors’ goals are aligned with your business’ goal – to select the best location, all costs factored in, to grow your business. 

Site Selection Megatrend #2: Regionalism

A local community is only as strong as the region and state in which it operates. All three need to be aligned and competitive for a community to be successful in attracting business investment.  Sometimes, statewide policies keep a state in the running for a specific project. Other times, a state can be removed from consideration immediately because of its policies.

What are the implications for companies looking to relocate or expand?

  • Ensure that the site selection process includes a systematic analysis of state-, regional-, and local-level information. Too often, companies jump to a single location they are familiar with, potentially focusing efforts in a state whose business climate is incompatible with their business goals, a region without the right type or amount of workforce, or an infrastructure that’s inadequate. 

Site Selection Megatrend #3: Increasing Competition for Business Investment

With the increasing awareness of economic development and competition for at least the higher-profile projects, economic development groups are being challenged to differentiate themselves to an ever discerning customer. 

What are the implications for companies looking to relocate or expand?

  • You have to understand what your objectives for relocating are. Just as we advise communities, regions, and states to know what types of projects are good fits for them, each company must do the same work from its perspective. What are the most important criteria for your business relocation decision? Is it talent, including access to a phenomenal community college? Is it to be near where the engineers and R&D staff want to live? Or, is it about changing your company’s culture? These are just a few examples, but point out the wide range of criteria that are possible, even for companies in the same industry. 

Seek the advice of a professional site selector when you’re deciding whether or not to relocate or expand. We at Ady Advantage can help determine what criteria are important to you as well as ensure that the finalist locations satisfy those needs. To learn more about our site selection services, contact Janet Ady at [email protected] or 608.663.9218.