Moving to a new city can be exciting, but scary. Moving and relocating your company to a new city? That can take some adjustment. While a big move can really ramp up business, it can never hurt to be over-prepared.
To make sure everything on your list gets checked off (twice), we asked a panel of 13 startup founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question.
“What is one often overlooked thing I should consider before moving or expanding my company to a new city?”
Here’s what YEC community members had to say:
1. Ecosystem Support
“If you’re going to try to break into a new market, it helps to have support. Who from your ecosystem has connections or extensions in the new market? What intros can they make? How can you parlay existing relationships into new ones? If you see a great opportunity for your offering in a new market but don’t have the insider track on getting the word out, it will be hard to get traction. ” ~ David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
2. Cost of Living
“Manhattan sounds like a great place to do business, but if you’re moving from Conway, AR, you might be in for a surprise. Don’t let this prevent you from making the switch, but make sure the potential income gains outweigh the increase in expenses you’ll face. ” ~ Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net
3. Minimum Viable Move
“Expanding to a new city tends to get us dreaming about new office space, additional hires and other expensive changes to our companies. But an expansion can be as simple as driving to that city once a month and getting a day pass for a coworking space. Consider what the minimum presence you can get away with is, along with how you can test that you’re moving to the right city.” ~ Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
4. Regional Habits
“Research the area, have knowledge of your target population specific to that region, and understand the area’s consumer habits before moving. ” ~ Zach Cutler, Cutler Group
5. Market Research
“Many people look to expand their companies to other cities because they want to be a national brand, and as a result, they don’t do thorough market research. Understanding the demographics is essential, and evaluating the actual need versus the desire to expand is often the biggest factor in a successful expansion. Visit the city, and get a real feel for it before you even consider the expansion.” ~ Aron Schoenfeld, Do It In Person LLC
“It sounds weird, and it might even be dated, but Craigslist is a great way to gather live data and tie into local communities before setting up shop. You can quickly test assumptions on office lease location and costs as well as gauge the local talent pool by posting a job.” ~ Andrew Fayad, eLearning Mind
“Look at the city’s folkways. In Portland, you can go to meetings wearing jeans and a Polo shirt. But in our new market in Carlsbad, CA, you would be laughed out of the door if you didn’t show up in a suit and tie. Just be mindful of the local market’s customs.” ~ Mychol Robirds, Securus Payments
8. Remote Possibilities
“If you’re moving for talent or moving your existing team, ask yourself, ‘Can I do this remotely?’ We have employees in nine different countries and have offices in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the Philippines. It allows us to scale faster and more efficiently than any local company because when we need more talent, we just hire it regardless of where it is.” ~ Liam Martin, Staff.com
9. Current Market Standings
“Before venturing into a new market, you should look at your current market and see if you are No. 1 in that market. Make sure you have built a dominating business in your current market before you expand to another. If you can dominate your current market, then why go to another?” ~ Matt Ames, MN Pro Paintball
10. Sales Time
“Before moving your company to a new city, consider the sales cycle for your product or brand. Think about how long it took you to establish yourself as an expert in your field in the current region you are operating out of, and add in the same amount of time to brand yourself as an expert in the new field. People often overlook how long it will take to get clients in a new city. ” ~ Kris Ruby, Ruby Media Group
11. Core Leader Candidates
“You have to send a core member of your company to run a new unit. If you’re hiring a new person to run a new unit in a new geography, it puts a lot of doubt into the company. You can have a new office that doesn’t fit with the company culture. During all this confusion, nothing is done right. Move a core person in the beginning, and then once it’s settled, you can hire a new head.” ~ Rohit Singal, Sourcebits
12. Travel Expenses
“Even in the connected world with FaceTime, Skype and other conference solutions, nothing replaces face-to-face meetings for crucial milestones. Consider travel costs, including flights and accommodations. Are you opening an office abroad? Consider the currency exchange, cost of flying out once per month and accommodations. You will need to visit no matter how “smoothly” your business runs.” ~ Gideon Kimbrell, InList Inc
13. Employee Expectations
“In moving from the Midwest to Boston then San Francisco, I’ve seen a wide spectrum of things that new employees expect in startups. Employees in San Francisco expect to have lunches catered daily and fridges stocked with beer in the office. In Boston, they expect you to work late nights, whereas San Francisco pushes work-life balance. Just know what you’re getting into before uprooting your team.” ~ Heidi Allstop, Spill
Moving Photo via Shutterstock
Great post….very topical for my firm as we expand in 2014!
For me, proximity to suppliers is also a plus. Sometimes, it is better to be near your main suppliers so that you spend lower transportation fees for negotiations and transactions.
Just to add to the remote possibilities, communication is key for productivity and a lot of businesses use a cloud phone system. This allows your employees to be all over the world.
Well-written article! Perhaps one of the most important parts of relocating is finding the right office space for your company.