Corporate Expansion/Relocation Conundrum – Do you know the right questions to ask?
Many companies go through a major growth opportunity once or possibly twice in their life cycle. The first concern of the Corporate Executive and their staff should be the continuous operation of their business. This can only be accomplished if the Executive and their staff stay focused on their primary objective – GROWING the Business.
If you as the Owner or the President say “How hard can finding a location be? I can do this.”, then you have just fallen into an age old misconception. You are the expert in operating the business, but not in the process of conducting a site search. This process can be either a traumatic experience or a profitable one. Often, in an effort to save capital, a company executive will either attempt this task on his/her own or assign it to another executive to complete, however too many times it ends in a costly and time consuming venture. This situation can be alleviated by looking seriously at hiring a Site Selection Professional. This expert can assist and guide the Executive in dealing with the details of the site search and help in determining what impact the project truly is intended to deliver.
The business of looking for optimum expansion and/or relocation sites and incentive packages have become significantly more complicated with the use of the internet and the amount of data available. Much too often, the wrong data is used to make decisions on an eventual location. In addition, when the decision is made, a company rarely ends up with a location package that allows the company to enter the new marketplace with a strategic advantage over their competitors. Professional assistance in sifting through the information and hype can save the Company both time, and money. A trained Site Selection Professional can provide a company with greater insight on direction as well as the types of things to consider as the location process goes forward.
Some key issues a Company Executive should consider for their expansion or relocation are:
• What is your Corporate Culture?
• What are you looking for in a new facility and location?
• What are your expectations for the new facility?
• Will it meet your immediate needs and/or will there be adequate room for additional growth?
• What are the types of individuals you will be looking for in Employees?
• What markets are you trying to impact?
• What are your criteria for potential locations?
• How will you differentiate the good data from the bad data?
• How will you determine whether the incentive package you receive is reasonable and appropriate?
• Can you afford the project, and if so, how will you absorb the growth?
• Is there a plan in place to carry the project forward?
These are just a few of the questions that a trained Professional should ask at the front end of an expansion/relocation project. The seasoned Professional can then provide you with a clear and organized approach to determine the best steps to take towards the project in question.
Steps that should be included in any site determination include the following critical points:
Corporate Culture Analysis – Interviews of various individuals of the workforce, over a single or multi-day period, to determine a profile for the company or division. This is done to better understand the company and how it operates so that optimal locations can be provided that best match to the way the company does business.
Corporate Needs Determination – An interview of the key decision making team to obtain the parameters for the project including: market to be served, size of facility, expansion opportunities, employment expectations, skill sets, type of project, time frame, and numerous other pertinent data dealing with the success of the project.
Demographic and Area Profiles – Once the Corporate Needs Determination has been completed, a review of potential areas of the country that match the initial needs determination will be conducted. Additionally, a matching of the demographics of the potential areas will also be completed to identify the optimum sites that meet the initial needs of the Client.
Community and Area Visitation Analysis – Having completed the initial screening against the Needs, the Professional will travel to the areas selected to do a reconnaissance of the area prior to any direct contact with the community or area in question. This is done to receive an unbiased and candid observation of the area. This could include, but is not limited to, interviews with various townspeople, employers, other visitors and other research that is done online as well as in person.
Comparative Analysis – The accumulated information and a comparison of the identified communities or areas will be placed on a matrix. This data will be weighted, based on the initial interviews with Company officials and will be reviewed and analyzed. From this matrix will come a list of finalists based on the number required by the Client.
Client Community Visitation – After the potential sites have been reduced to the prescribed number, the Professional will set up community visitations by the client and receive direct presentations by each community. From these visitations the field will be reduced to one site and then specific negotiations will take place.
Selection of Site – Once a site or building has been selected by the company, with the assistance of the Professional; a Memorandum of Understanding will be negotiated, including all appropriate incentives, to be signed by all parties committing each to the eventual location. At this time an announcement can be made pertaining to the location.
By following these steps and using a Professional a company can save both money and time by keeping focused on the running of the business. Working with a Site Selection Professional will provide the company with an optimum site for the business and allow the Executives to concentrate on operating the business during the process.
For more information, contact James Kinnett at 812-290-5663.
Submitted By James R. Kinnett II, CEcD, President and CEO, The Kinnett Consulting Group – Site Selection Experts