Relocating your business—whether across town or across the country—is a grueling, complicated and expensive process. I’ve gone through this several times, relocating from D.C. to Buenos Aires to New York and to New Jersey, with more waiting around the corner. There are a number of steps you can take to be as productive as possible during a relocation process. But those are ancillary issues. The real question that should be answered before you pack your first bag is “Where should I relocate and why?”
Not all states are created equal
Before relocating, it’s important to make sure that the state you are moving to has a business-friendly environment. “We need more jobs” is the mantra repeated by almost every governor in the country on a daily basis. In aggregate, the U.S. needs to create about 20 million jobs this decade to compensate for those lost during the recession, plus the jobs needed to accommodate population growth.
Small and new businesses are responsible for most job creation across the country. Some states have recognized this—others have not. The states that have recognized it are doing what they can to entice business owners to move to their state.
The National Chamber Federation commissioned a study conducted by the Praxis Strategy Group to evaluate initiatives that state governments are taking to entice businesses to relocate or expand. Some states have implemented general policies appealing to all businesses while others are specializing in specific sectors or types of business activity. The study is a great resource for businesses that are thinking of moving or have already made the decision to relocate.
Let’s take a closer look at what some state governments are doing to attract new business.
Keeping it simple in Tennessee
The state of Tennessee offers a compelling all around case for relocation. It has one of the lowest costs of living in the country. The study ranked Tennessee as the best in the country for business taxes and regulatory burden. It has the fourth lowest tax burden in the entire country. The local government also takes seriously the impact of new regulations on businesses. They have a “no surprises” mindset when it comes to regulations, with departments working together to ensure that businesses are notified well in advance of any changes to existing laws.
Learning the ropes in Florida
The Sunshine State ranked first overall for workforce training and placement. This is in large part due to the state’s emphasis on addressing the skills gap faced by many employers. Having to train new employees because they lack basic skills is an expensive proposition for any business. Florida has the “Quick Response Training Program” that provides both new and existing businesses with resources to subsidize the cost and burden of training. The state also has a well-respected higher education system, enjoying one of the highest percentages of students in the country taking advanced placement courses.
Welcome to Maine(.com)
The state of Maine takes its technology infrastructure seriously. The state ranks first in the nation for high-speed broadband penetration. This isn’t an oxymoron. Many broadband connections today are relatively slow. In Maine, those high-speed connections have a minimum speed of three megabits per second. The state is also home to the Three Ring Binder project. This project, assisted with federal funding, is laying a fiber-optic network for use by business, academia and healthcare exclusively.