1. Choose your team strategically
Handpick each member based on their background, experience, and knowledge of the project needs, and only enlist the help of other company departments (legal, risk management, etc.) as needed in order to keep everything streamlined.
2. Narrow your options upfront
Start the site selection process with the most basic parameters that any company should consider—for instance, proximity to the customer base, available labor pool, and a business-friendly economic environment.
3. Use digital platforms
As an alternative to visiting locations in person, as you typically would during a site selection process, use a web-based tool to accomplish this process virtually. You can also use online video platforms to work with local commercial real estate agents to help find sites that fit your size and configuration requirements.
4. Lean on local partners
After identifying sites that met your needs, start probing the local economic development groups in each of the target areas to gain a better understanding of how the region would match up with your criteria: location, logistics, talent pool, cost of doing business. Finding partners that can connect with you virtually while advocating for you physically is invaluable in the new operating environment for growing businesses.
5. Virtual or bust
Ultimately, the time and money invested in the virtual process were considerably less than if it had been approached in a conventional manner. This will be the de facto way of making expansion decisions moving forward.