As we all know, Amazon is looking for a second North American headquarters. It published its RFI, and the news media, economic development professionals, and community leaders took it from there.
Amazon was the first company to take a mega-project (>$1 billion) public in such a way. But what does this mean if you are a company who happens to be lower profile than Amazon with a project that is less than $1 billion? Here are some takeaways.
- You shouldn’t just assume the best place to expand is right where you’re at. I’ve seen research that suggests that as many as 90% of relocations and expansions happen within 10 miles of current operations. What do you have to lose by looking more broadly instead of just doing what everyone else is doing?
- You should be clear about what you’re trying to achieve by relocating or expanding. There are benefits to looking in different regions and states, especially if the reasons for your expansion are to access new markets, optimize supply chains, reduce costs, access different labor pools, or all of the above.
- You should think about what types of things (we call them “location criteria”) are most important to you. For Amazon, there was a very high interest in highly educated talent and real estate, for example. In your dream world, what would be your company’s most important location criteria?
- You should consider hiring a site selection consultant to help guide you through this process. Amazon reportedly engaged a firm, as well as used its own in-house consultants. There is a small profession of site selectors and location advisors who exist just to help companies make the best decisions for their relocations and expansions.