Back to list August 17, 2016 Why Business Location Matters Whether you’re opening a brand new business or relocating an existing enterprise, the location you choose is one of the most important factors that determine your success. Foot traffic, access to infrastructure, natural resources, zoning, incentives, barriers to entry and quality of the available workforce are just a few of the variables you’ll need to weigh when choosing your business location. Here’s what you need to think about before you make your next move. It’s All About Your Customers If you run an existing business, how will the proposed location affect your customers? Will it be easier and faster for them to find? Is there ample parking? Will your new location have a prominent storefront that will attract foot traffic? If you own a B2B operation that doesn’t depend on in-person customers, are you able to access highways and byways quickly? Will delivery be more convenient? In short, will your new location offer your customers more value for the same price, and let you reach new customers with ease? If so, you’ve hit the jackpot. If you plan to open a new business, you should consider the built-in market for your product or service. Do you have relationships in the community that you plan to serve, or will you need to develop them? Is there an active economic development partnership you can leverage to your advantage? The mountain won’t come to you — you have to go to the mountain. And the mountain is where your customers live. Workforce Matters Businesses of all kinds, from advanced manufacturing to professional services, depend on a skilled and educated workforce. If you’re looking at a remote location to save on real estate expenses, consider how you’ll attract the trained workers you need. Alternatively, if the location you’re considering is more expensive, you’ll need to calculate how much more labor will cost, and decide if it’s worth the cost of moving. Niche enterprises that require specialized skills should consider moving close to a school or technical institute that offers training. The goal is to choose a location that attracts young talent while retaining the experienced leaders your business needs to flourish. Specialized Business Development Services Certain regions are known to attract to certain industries, such as Silicon Valley and technology, Hollywood and filmmaking, or New York City and banking. Beyond those famous associations, localized economic development partnerships work to attract specialized sectors. In addition, doing business in some places is a lot less expensive than others — provided you have access to talent. Balance the available incentives with the cost of doing business in a particular location to see the complete picture of whether or not a proposed space is truly affordable. In Pennsylvania, our specialized business development services provide economic incentives for enterprises in the advanced manufacturing, life sciences and business technology sectors. Cumberland County also provides customs duty relief for international businesses that helps them stay competitive in the global marketplace. Tax credits and access to federal procurement are two more programs that help businesses in our specialized development program place roots in central Pennsylvania. Infrastructure From available space to well-maintained highways to access to mass transit, it’s difficult to overemphasize how important infrastructure is to your business. Although some business owners prefer to build a brand new space, many prefer to rent or buy an existing building and then modify it to suit specific needs. After all, buying land because it’s the cheapest price per square foot doesn’t necessarily make sense if you’ll have to drill for water, run electricity, and build roads and parking — and that’s before construction begins in earnest. On the other hand, building new gives you the opportunity to customize a modern space for your precise needs. Space can be built but a workforce won’t appear out of thin air. If there are plenty of qualified workers in your chosen region, building new might be the best choice. Quality of Life What’s one of the top areas of concern for business owners? Not what they and their employees will do at work, but what they’ll do in their downtime. Don’t underestimate quality of life when choosing your new location. Is there affordable housing, a low crime rate and access to healthcare? Have the local public schools earned solid reputations? What kinds of regional amenities are there to enjoy? Restaurants and shops in vibrant downtown communities, or peaceful rural roads dotted with picturesque villages — or a combination of both? Is there easy access to big city activities such as professional sports, renowned museums and theater? Employees who are happy at home are more likely to be happy at work. About Cumberland County Cumberland County, Pennsylvania is a leading destination for businesses because we have a skilled workforce, excellent infrastructure, abundant space, an outstanding quality of life and offer specialized business incentives. For more information on Cumberland County, contact CAEDC.