Are you having trouble choosing a business location for your company? Depending on your product or service, it may make sense to start a new business in a particular state, city or town—or to not have a physical business location at all. And although it seems like digital shopping has reached a new high and e-commerce is king, data from the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce reveals that in Q1 2016, about 93 percent of all U.S. retail sales came from traditional brick and mortar stores.
I spoke to four small-business owners about what went into their decision to select a physical or virtual business location, and what they’ve learned in the process. Here, Peter Awad, co-founder of Mission Meats in Decorah, Iowa; Lindsay Kolber, co-founder of LogicPrep in Armonk, New York; Brian Podwinski, owner of Blue Blood Brewing Company in Lincoln, Nebraska; and Ismael Wrixen, co-owner of brokerage firm FE International in Boston, Massachusetts, sound off.
What factors went into deciding on a physical or virtual business location for your company?
Peter Awad: I'm 100 percent focused on flexibility, so it is important to have the ability to operate my companies from anywhere with an internet connection. The most important factors are [having] people and groups in the area I can identify and collaborate with; beautiful, quiet co-working spaces where I can plug in easily; and outdoor amenities like the beach and hiking.
Lindsay Kolber: LogicPrep cultivates a motivational space that encourages learning. For this reason, we seek locations that are well-lit, well-designed—clean lines, modern aesthetic—and well-located relative to our clients’ daily routines. We want to make ourselves a convenient respite, a space outside of one’s home and school to learn from inspiring instructors.
Brian Podwinski: We had to look not only [for] manufacturing space but also [for] a good retail environment to interact directly with our customers. We needed a location that would be cost-effective for the manufacturing operations as margins are low and the space requirement high. On the other hand, we required an easily accessible location for customers where margins are significantly higher.
Ismael Wrixen: Expanding from the U.K. into the U.S. was a big decision. The U.S. has many great locations, so we first established a shortlist of five potential cities based upon a heat map of our client base and conference activity. We then worked with attorneys in the U.K. and U.S. to determine which states offered the greatest opportunities over the long-term. We chose Boston primarily for its business-friendly laws, nationally ranked colleges, thriving entrepreneurial tech community and, importantly, the convenient time zone that allows our team to service both European and West Coast clients.
Have a look at the full interview on the AMEX Open Forum.