The right place to do business is the location that offers the greatest potential to drum up trade and close lucrative deals.
In Birmingham, that means seeing, and being seen, in the traditional commercial district based around Colmore Row, the favourite preserve of lawyers, accountants and property dealers.
Or at least that is how it used to be. The continuing success of Brindleyplace, the revitalisation of Edgbaston's office landscape and the ultra-modern Mailbox - not to mention proposals for Paradise Circus and Eastside - have muddied the waters, and if the adage "location, location, location" holds true for the home market, it is a law written in tablets of stone for the business community.
So where is the best place to do business in Birmingham? Are the designer labels of Brindleyplace pushing out the pinstripes of Colmore Row, or is it more a case of style over substance?
Certainly the importance of business location, and an assessment of the merits and limitations of the city's traditional business district, prompts a fierce debate among the land agents, real estate specialists and the companies themselves.
Brindleyplace, the one-time new kid on the block, faced considerable prejudice from many business players in the early years, as Gary Taylor, director of Argent, the developers and managers of the development, admits.
There was initial resistance from the old school tie brigade but, according to Mr Taylor, the business community has now taken off the blinkers and is prepared to look at new locations, but it hasn't been easy.
"What we have seen is that people accept Birmingham is a much bigger place than it used to be," says Mr Taylor.
"We spent years, particularly among the professional services, when they all had to be next to each other at Colmore Row.
"It was such a myopic attitude and it was very frustrating, but when we had Petit Blanc and Bank open, it took us on a quantum leap.
I think it was the straw that broke the camel's back."
Argent started to let out office space at Brindleyplace in 1994 and initially was met with an underwhelming response from some established city firms.
"You ould not believe the attitude. Stuffy senior partners would want to meet their mates on a walk across Colmore Row," says Mr Taylor.
"We did a lot of work in the early days that showed in every other city in the UK, including Manchester and Leeds, all of the office occupiers were open-minded about moving to new office space, but in Birmingham, they would not move."
He adds: "We found it useful when we started to talk to people under the age of 35. The problem was with the people over 55, who were getting closer to retirement. They had a problem with talking about bigger Birmingham and the bigger picture."
However, there started to be a sea change in attitudes, prompted in part by a new generation of businessmen and women relocating to Birmingham, according to Mr Taylor. The Colmore Row axis was less relevant to the new commercial blood, who wanted a modern working environment.
When Argent first started to market Brindleyplace, its top messages were the state-ofthe- art offices and car parking facilities. By 2002, the district was being sold for its vibrant, safe, clean environment.
"People started focusing on their staff and giving them a fantastic place to work. Leisure time and the night-time offer have been important," says Mr Taylor. Workers can now buy flowers, giftware, art work and delicatessen fare during their lunch breaks.
This change in company and staff requirements, and the need to embrace new developments, has been critical to the success of Brindleyplace and will be equally important to the success of the Eastside regeneration project.
Some firms, however, still view the Colmore Row district address as essential, and not all of them are accountants and lawyers.
Public relations firm Headline Communications is based in Church Street, a stone's throw from St Philip's Cathedral. Headline partner Dawn Roberts believes the location is important for the firm's profile and the access it provides to clients.
"Most of our clients are within walking distance and they expect us to be near them. A lot of our staff travel by public transport and you have got to be central," she says.
Headline moved to its premises a year ago and had considered relocating to Edgbaston, but the partners concluded the district was difficult to get to using public transport.
"Our clients are clustered around here and I think it is a quality of life thing," says Ms Roberts, adding: "At Brindleyplace, there is not space for small companies. It is all huge offices.
It was never an option for us." She does, however, believe there is no them-and-us situation and feels Brindleyplace has become more integrated into the traditional business district.
Another PR firm, Willoughby, has chosen to be based in Edgbaston. According to the firm's managing director, Lis Lewis-Jones, a lot of companies are choosing to quit the city centre, with considerations such as possible congestion charging and car parking playing a part.
"Unless you are in the accountancy or the solicitor sector, you can be anywhere because of modern technology," she says. Edgbaston also offers what she describes as a superior quality of life, with plentiful parking and leafy Victorian surroundings.
Rupert Young, managing director of the Birmingham office of commercial real estate consultant CB Richard Ellis, believes many firms still view a central core location as vital.
Again, access is an important consideration. CBRE is also based in Church Street, off Colmore Row, and Mr Young stresses the firm needed to have "teams on the ground" for city centre business.
"If we are letting some space in an office building (in the city centre) and we were based in Edgbaston, it would take us too long to get there. It would not be a good use of time," he says.
He believes the professional services sector, including accountants and lawyers, take a similar view and that these business had shunned attempts to attract them to new locations.
"If you look at the tenant line-up at Brindleyplace it is not really the professional sector," says Mr Young.
"Most of the bigger accountants and lawyers have chosen to stay within the central core.
"That is even at a time when there was not much space available in the core. Even when people's choice has been limited, the professional sector has stayed there."
The financial sector has taken a different view, and many larger organisations, such as Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland, have taken up office space at Brindleyplace. There may well come a time, however, when the traditional business district outgrows itself, and that may not be too far off.
Of all the central core office accommodation, only three per cent can be classified as vacant grade A stock.
"I would say it is below the sort of figure that is tenable. You do need a degree of liquidity in the market," says Mr Young.
Industry predictions about a massive expansion of professional services jobs over the next decade means further pressure will be put on office space in the central core, some of which is based in older civic buildings that lack the flexibility of new-build properties.
With such limited new office space around Colmore Row, it is perhaps inevitable that the traditional business district will transform.
The planned redevelopment of Paradise Circus, equidistant between Brindleyplace and Colmore Row, could well be the spur to expanding the area, providing a strategic link between the traditional and the modern.