Should you set up your office in a city or a suburb? Why?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Go Where Your Employees Want to Be
You should be where your employees want to live and work. This includes your future employees that you haven’t hired yet. Recent grads want to be in the city. More experienced employees with families want a shorter commute from home.
There aren’t many good reasons to choose a suburb unless you have a business that specifically favors it. Otherwise, the city offers the larger customer base, the larger talent pool for hiring, more interesting options for food, and easier relationships with others in the business community because of the density.
We are an eCommerce business; I’m working with my team in-house or remotely. We don’t meet with clients, so there’s no need for us to be in the city. All that matters is we achieve great results and are productive as a team. Therefore, I’m a very practical person. We prefer a place where an office lease is cheaper and where I can easily drop by and check on my team.
As the newest generation of young adults enters the workforce, the idea of the “perfect suburban life” evaporates. Millennials want to be in a city, exploring and experiencing things rather than accumulating them in their home. Providing an enriching work experience in the middle of a vibrant city will allow you to recruit at a high level and build a premier organization.
5. Your Location Should Depend on Your Company Requirements and Team Location
If you don’t need to regularly get together in person, set up your office in a suburb because it’s more cost effective and conducive to work. It also helps you be closer to your personal life for better balance. However, if your team needs to fly in for meetings or you need to meet in person regularly, opt for the city location that keeps you closer to everything necessary to do that.
6. There Is No “One Size Fits All” Office Location
Whether you should setup your office in a city, suburb or Fiji for that matter comes down to your unique business and goals. Will you need talented people? If so, are they in the city or suburbs? Would a city zip code increase your credibility? Would a suburb office save you overhead? There is no “one size fits all.” Weigh the pros and cons to determine where you should hang your shingle.
Why even have an office? Why not move towards having a virtual work environment, allowing your employees to choose where they want to be in the world? The ability to recruit astounding talent is supported by giving your employees this incredible perk, and all of a sudden, you are not limiting yourself to talent in a geographical space. The world becomes your oyster to recruit incredible talent.
I engage with a lot of business owners every day working in Vancouver. It seems to me that there are dozens – if not hundreds – of opportunities I would have missed if I were located in the suburbs. It’s more interesting to be downtown for the connections you make, which are harder to find in the suburbs.
9. Suburbs Are Less Expensive and Have Less Traffic
Our office is in the suburbs of Washington D.C. I chose it for easy access and less cost compared to D.C. Parking is free and my clients can come easily to my by driving. Our suburbs have lots of commercial office space, so it makes it a good business area for clients. If you can find a suburb with some commercial space, it is always better than a city. Anything within 30 miles of the city is good.
10. Your Location Should Depend on Your Company and Its Culture
I prefer a city because it’s usually more convenient for more people to get to, there are other businesses in close proximity, and it allows us to be in the “center of things.” But there are massive companies that don’t do the same thing. Facebook is in Palo Alto, Apple’s in Cupertino, and Google is in Mountain View — three are suburbs in northern California.
The ideal location for your business depends on the talent you are trying to attract, retain and inspire. Once you have a very clear picture of the demographics of your desired employees then your site selection strategy should present itself.