Relocating a Business
by JamieD, Former Moderator
- Created: April 20, 2009, 12:37 pm
- Updated: February 9, 2011, 4:13 pm
Deciding to relocate one's business is an important decision for established and expanding businesses. Workforce issues, proximity to customers, targeting new markets, cost, and lack of space are all reasons that could prompt a business to take a look at relocation. Regardless of the reason, the goal of relocating a business is to increase its odds for success in a new environment.
Set Your Goals and Objectives
The new flashy mini-mall down the street might seem like an ideal location, but is it really the best move for your business? Before you start scouting out new locations, compile a list of your business' needs as well as things you'd like to avoid. Here are some important considerations:
- Proximity to Customers: Who are your customers? Does the new location make it more convenient for customers to comet to you, or for you to get to them?
- Visibility: Are you looking to improve the visibility of your business? How will the new location improve your ability to attract new business?
- Costs: Will the new location help reduce or more effectively control costs or investments? If the costs of the new location are higher, a move may be worth the money if you can draw in new business. If the new location is not likely to draw in new customers, relocating to a higher cost area will cut into your profits, and therefore, may not be a wise move.
- Space: How much space do you need? Make sure you carefully consider both the space you'll need now as well as in the future as your business expands. If you plan to expand your business, you should consider a space that is larger than your current location.
- Neighborhood: Many local governments provide tax incentives, grants and low-interest loans to businesses that are willing to relocate to developing neighborhoods. While these incentives may be attractive, if the neighborhood is not in proximity to your target audience your business will not be as successful as it would be in another area of town.
- Regulatory Requirements: Businesses often overlook some of the 'hidden' costs of doing business in a new location. Licensing requirements and tax rates might make the perfect location less than ideal. Try to get answers the following questions: What are the licensing and taxation requirements in the new location? What other regulations will apply to my business? How much will it cost to comply with these regulations?
Research and Select a Location
Once you've completed your list of goals and objectives, you are ready to begin researching new locations. Work with experienced professionals in your intended area that can help you narrow down your choices. While a lot of this can be done over the phone and Internet, visiting your potential new locations in person is the best way to get a feel for what will or will not work for your business. For help finding a suitable location, utilize your state's site selection assistance resources.
Business Registration Requirements
If you relocate to a new city, county or state, you will need to apply for all applicable business licenses and permits in the new location. For example, if your city government issues your current business license, it will not be valid in a different city. Also, if you are operating a DBA ('doing business as' or under an assumed name) issued by your county government, and you move to a new county, you will need to apply for a new DBA in the new county. For example, if your current business is located in San Francisco, CA, and you move to Marin County, you will need to file a new DBA (Fictitious Business Name Statement) in Marin County.
Visit the Business Name Registration page to learn requirements for registering a DBA in your state.
Register for State and Local Taxes
Conducting business in a new city or state requires you to comply with new tax regulations. Make sure you contact the local revenue agencies to understand your city and/or county tax requirements. If you relocate to a new state, register with the state's revenue agency to obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation, unemployment and disability insurance (if required).
Apply for Licenses and Permits
Many businesses require licenses or permits that allow them to operate in their area. These requirements vary by location and it cannot be assumed that you will or will not need certain licenses or permits based on the requirements of your current location.
To comply with state requirements, chose your state and find specific licenses and permits for that location.
There may be additional requirements established by your new local government. Check out your city and county websites for specific information.
Comply with State and Local Regulations
Operating a business in a new location will require you to know and comply with the workplace, environmental, and insurance regulations of that state. Select your state to find information about specific requirements for your location related to operating a business.
Workforce Development and Networking
Although certain relocations will affect the clients, employees, and vendors of some businesses more than others, a new location will require you to establish a new network of resources. A good place to start would be by contacting and working with your state and local business assistance agencies and organizations. SBA district offices, state small business development centers and economic development agencies, and local SCORE chapters are all excellent resources that will help you fit into your new location. Visit your state's Training and Assistance page for specific resources.
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