Opening a Branch Office – Five Preparatory Analyses

Situation: The Company plans to open their first branch office. There are considering several possible locations. What are the most important considerations as they prepare?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Perform an ROI analysis for the planned office. How is the ROI for the branch office different from your primary office? Look for potential economies of scale in your business model. This may prompt a rethinking of how you generate your products or services.
  • Simultaneously, look at your potential costs per location and the level of business required to (1) break even and (2) to match/exceed home office return in the new location. As you consider different geographical locations, compare costs and potential contribution of each against the others.
  • Decide whether you need to build full operations in your branch offices, or whether you can use a distributed services model, working from a central hub that performs some operations that need not be replicated in the branch offices.
  • Once you have completed these three analyses, perform a make/buy analysis to determine whether you get a better return from setting up your own office or purchasing a local company, if one exists.
  • Lower risk by starting with a relatively low cost operation – essentially a satellite office with minimal staff. As the new office develops initial business, they can be supported by your home office operations. They will serve as local feet on the street to evaluate the true potential and local barriers to entry within the new market.

Key Words: Branch Office, Location, ROI, Economies of Scale, Make/Buy, Barriers to Entry       

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