Does physical location matter anymore?

March 29, 2011

embassy flagsOf course, the D.C. area has been kind of a center for politics for years. But as it turns out, more international companies are making themselves comfortable in the D.C. area to be close to that political center, as well.

A story in the Washington Post earlier this week discussed how, considering all the embassies in Washington, more foreign companies are opening branches in the metro area. The story gives a few examples:

Germany’s Volkswagen Group of America to the United Kingdom’s Rolls-Royce, and to Canada’s Research in Motion (maker of the ubiquitous BlackBerry), CGI and TD Bank.

It’s not just good for foreign companies, the story explains; the metro D.C. area now ranks fifth around the country in the number of international firms.

So, what does this tell us about business? And, what can we learn from it?

In today’s digital age, more and more business is being conducted over the Internet and via email. But, there’s something to be said about being close, physically, to your client base. Say you offer a specialty product: Your client probably doesn’t want to wait for you to ship it out when they can visit a nearby competitor, instead. And there’s something to be said about the level of customer service that can be offered by a smaller business.

What do you think? Are these international businesses onto something?

This post is brought to you by Dale Carnegie Training of Maryland and the DC Metro Area. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of ghbrett via Flickr
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