Are you thinking about moving your business to a new location? There is a lot of preparing to do.

To make the move to a new city or country you should start by doing a lot of research to learn as much about the location and its people as you can. Even cities less than 100 kilometers away can have different attitudes.

There are many reasons to move a business. Expand into new markets, increase quality of life, access to more labor, decrease costs and increase revenues. Some locations are difficult to find skilled workers. Perhaps you need new facilities. Moving to larger cities gives access to transportation hubs, rail, international airports and ports.

Research

Do research on the city first. What are the population trends? How are the demographics different and how do they relate to your target market. Are the costs of doing business more or less? Are wages higher or lower?

Compare multiple locations. Make a list of everything the new space must have or nice to haves. Just like finding a new place to live, it is important to walk the neighborhood and drive around to get a feel for it. Where will you find vendors and suppliers in the new location? Do a cost benefit analysis of each location.

Networking

Start with your network. Is there someone that can connect you with someone in the new location?

Business Space

Does it cost more to live there or do business? Have you considered rent, lease and mortgages for the new location? When looking for a space try to do the minimum and stay lean. Try the smallest place possible better yet do you even need a space? Look at online ads for space to find the price range. Can you work remotely? Do you need to be there physically?

Will you buy or lease? Buying has more upfront cost but it is an investment. Leasing allows greater flexibility.

Customs

How do the locals behave? How do they dress? Are jeans and t-shirt ok for doing business? What do employees in that city expect? What is the expected organizational culture? What about benefits, work hours, dress code and work life balance?

Your business

If you are expanding and keeping your original space, you must be strong in current market before considering expanding into another. Your home base needs to mostly be autonomous and can support the expansion.

Risks

What works in one location might not work as well in another or maybe you will need to change up long held attitudes. If you are leaving, the original location behind you will likely have to replace your former employees. Running multiple locations at same time can be difficult.