When Gary Duncanson decided to move his company to a new location, he carefully considered several options.
But ultimately, the President and CEO of No Magic Inc. settled on a space in One Allen Center in Allen, Texas, for the headquarters of his company, a leading global provider of integrated modeling, simulation and analysis solutions and services.
“I really love this area because it has so much to offer,” says Duncanson. “Then I started talking to various cities in the region about location options. It was quite the battle as to where to go, but when I totaled everything up, Allen and this location came up as No. 1.”
Smart Business spoke with Duncanson about finding the right location for your business and the things you need to consider when making a move.
What prompted your decision to move your business?
We were busting at the seams and needed a new space. It was inevitable that somewhere down the line in the next year or so, we would have to move. However, what really topped it off was that, at our previous location, we had gotten all the bandwidth that we could potentially get and we needed to go somewhere where the infrastructure was newer and better.
We are a high-tech company and we live and die by our Internet presence and Internet speed. This location had the infrastructure to support our needs, so it was really a logical choice. There are so many high-tech companies moving to this area. Dallas is already the new computer gaming capital.
How can a local economic development board help a company moving into a new location?
Working with an economic development staff and board can make the process go much more smoothly. In our case, the Allen Economic Development Board jumped through hoops to help us like you would not believe. This was truly receiving the red carpet treatment. Everyone involved worked to get us in and up and running as quickly as possible, including my broker, Mark Five Commercial; our new landlord, Duke Realty; Allen Economic Development Corporation (AEDC); our city of Allen inspectors and administrators; and our service providers. They pulled off the almost impossible in a really short time frame. Once I decided to move, I wanted to do it as soon as possible, by the end of the month. It took a little bit longer than that to get through the incentives and abatements the board offered, but everything was done in 45 days.
Also, a strong economic development board can help you make connections. In our case, the board not only helped us get into the right facility, but even before we were in the facility, board members were already making introductions for us to other companies and really helping our business. In this day and age, that is critical. Having someone bring new customers to our realm was very helpful.
What else should a company consider when looking for a new location?
Incentives and abatements definitely don’t hurt. If a business can get some incentives, it can turn around and help create more jobs in the community.
Second, don’t lock yourself into a space that you will outgrow in a year or two.
We moved into more space than we need right now because we are growing rapidly and have the capacity to accommodate three times the number of employees that we moved in with.
Also look for amenities such as easy access to transportation. Affordability of homes, good schools to attract employees from other locations and proximity to restaurants, shops and entertainment are also things to consider.
You should also look for a place that is conducive to business, where your business is going to be supported. Make sure that the city, county and state are going to support business growth, not hinder it.
Also consider your employees. Are they going to be happy with where you are moving to, and will they be willing to go with you? Are there universities nearby where employees can continue their education and from which you can draw a pool of talent? Finally, make sure it is a safe area with a low crime rate that employees will be comfortable in.
What are the benefits of locating in Texas?
When I left California, I wanted to move to a state with zero income tax and, for the business, a state with a low corporate income tax, both of which I found here in Texas.
Also, this area is growing like mad, and people are still building homes. The housing market didn’t spike here like it did in other locations, so it hasn’t gone down like crazy, either.
The location is in the middle of the country, affording opportunities to easily do business on both coasts and in Europe. We’re only 30 minutes from Dallas and, even in rush hour, it’s less than an hour to the airport. There’s a cultural center, concerts at the events center, ballparks, and it’s a great place to raise a family.
I would encourage any company looking to make a move to consider this area. With a low corporate income tax, a good business environment and an excellent place for people, it is the ideal location. A huge university system puts out a lot of top talent, and there are so many places to extend your education that it’s good for the entire work force.
Gary Duncanson is President and CEO of No Magic Inc. Reach him at (214) 291-9100.
Insights Economic Development is brought to you by the Allen Economic Development Corporation, strategically positioned in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro.