Every year, different industry groups, consultants and government entities publish their lists of “Top Locations for Business” (Cities, States & Countries). While the intent is good, and the methodology sound, there is significant fault in the findings and corporations should only use them as a comparative starting point.
The data points are solid: Accessibility, cost of living, quality of life, availability of labor, tax costs, availability and cost of real estate, etc. However, the vast majority of this information is pulled from government studies that, at release are already out of date. It also creates somewhat of a “Lemming mentality.” I.E- A bunch of customer service center operators hear that Jacksonville is a great location for their business model, so they open facilities there, only to find that labor costs and availability have been driven up and down dramatically by this influx, making them no longer suitable locations.
This year’s lists of “Best U.S. States for Business” have several that made the cut on multiple publishers’ lists:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
These are all fine locations for business. However, you need to dig much deeper in order to identify the best site for your business, particularly for long term success. For starters, there are huge variances from city to city within these states. Beyond that, your company’s business plan and needs can vary widely from those of companies in other industries, and even of those in your industry.
Once you have your site selection criteria identified, use the widely published studies as an initial guidepost, then create site selection criteria that are specific to your company’s needs and develop your own, custom MSA study. This will yield far better results and keep your business’s new location performing at peak levels for many years to come.