Starting or relocating a business in a new community can be daunting. Preparing your new offices or facilities, moving employees and acclimating to a new environment all require detailed planning.
However, the enthusiasm, economic growth and identity you bring to a new community can reward your efforts almost immediately. To succeed in a new location, you must embrace and invest in it. Getting to know your area ensures your business forms a lasting bond with its new home.
Listen to Peter and Jonathan talk about the friendliest and least friendly cities for businesses on the fourteenth episode of The Bcast, Bplan’s official podcast (at 27:42):
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1. Know Your Local Government
It’s critical to introduce yourself—and your business—to local government officials and offices. Local congressional members, clerks, city council representatives and the mayor want to know how your business is going to positively impact their community. These officials can’t necessarily do anything to politically aid your company, but they have important connections and insight into the current growth and long-term goals of the community.
Reaching out makes these offices aware that you strive to become an asset to the community. If you’re planning for expansion, the local government can aid your company’s growth and provide valuable resources; your personal success will bolster the community’s growth and success. In addition, your local government offices can provide information on similar or complementary businesses that could potentially lead to community partnerships.
2. Research Your Economic Resources
Our company was faced with relocating quickly, so we didn’t have time to research every detail that would make our new beginning as smooth as possible. Luckily, our new community and state have incredible economic development resources available. We reached out to them and, in turn, learned about possible state grants, internship connections and like-minded manufacturers we didn’t even know existed. These resources dramatically changed how efficiently we could establish ourselves and how quickly we could gain new business relationships.
Most cities have at least a regional economic development center or organization that, along with local government, can make your transition more manageable. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and your local chamber of commerce are great places to start researching the plentiful support available in your new community.
3. Embrace Your Work Family
Your business’s success during a transition fundamentally depends on the well-being of your personnel. Our company, like many startups, is like a family. Social events and personal experiences revolve around work life, in many cases. As the leader of this work family, it’s important that you make the transition not only effective, but also exciting, for your employees.
Our company was able to help with moving costs and initial transitions for our employees. Their enthusiasm for our new facility and community was substantial, but it’s natural that people miss their former locale and friends. Hosting company events and weekly social gatherings and joining with other businesses to create a community of peers can help employees feel welcome. Encourage your work family to participate in local events and notify you if they find organizations, restaurants, parks or other recreational activities the whole company might enjoy.
4. Reach Out To Other Businesses
The other businesses in your city are vital to your continued growth, both professionally and personally. As our company adjusts to new surroundings, we’ve reached out to nearby companies and begun socializing on a regular basis. We’ve gone bowling, taken tours, and hosted wine-and-cheese dinners so we can fully experience what the community has to offer.
Establishing these rewarding connections requires you to introduce yourself to your community and communicate your company’s vision in your new city. The number of local businesses that are willing to help you organize fun events, research incentive programs or even donate office furniture to your venture might surprise you. It’s easy to forget that nearly every established business in the community was once the new company trying to find its way around.
5. Establish Your Network
Growing companies are a source of employment, talent and energy for a community. They can spur new ideas and economic development. To fully realize these goals, it’s crucial that you establish a reliable and mutually beneficial network. If possible, try to establish those connections before your move. The more research and preparation you do, the more information and possible network connections you can gain.
In addition to introducing your business to the community, ask about any professional conferences, events or workshops the city currently hosts. Become involved in these opportunities to further expand your brand and your involvement.
Launching or relocating your venture to a new location can be intimidating. If you begin your journey in your new home with a positive mindset, enthusiasm and curiosity, you’ll benefit from the personal and professional advantages your new community offers. Through bonding with your work family and community networks, you can build lasting relationships.