What To Look For When Relocating Your Business

— November 22, 2016

There comes a point in the history of every business when the right thing to do is to move. Maybe you started your business in your garage, and it’s time to expand. Perhaps you thought one location would be right, and another would be better. Or maybe you’ve just outgrown your current space. What should you look for when you are considering relocating your business?


Location, location, location


Whether you operate a retail location, or are looking primarily for office space, location is a key factor for any business. Will you have adequate foot traffic in a new space? Are there enough parking spaces for employees and customers? Will the rent be affordable? Who is responsible for extras like trash pickup, recycling, and snow removal?


When you are considering a new location, make sure to factor in all relevant costs. Will your employees need to pay for parking, where they didn’t before? Talk to them about it and give them a head’s up. Your rent might be dramatically more expensive, but if several services are included that aren’t now, you might save money by bundling.


Commute


If you’re considering relocating the business, it’s good to have an honest and open conversation with your current staff. Find out how they get to work. Do they drive, take public transportation, or walk? For some people, changing their method of transportation is impossible; if you move to a location off the bus line, they may not be able to continue to work for you.


While it would be foolish to refuse to move your business because of one employee who speaks up about transportation difficulties, you should also be aware of them. There might be issues that you could work around, if you’re aware that they exist. And issues raised might affect future employees, which could end up being a negative against your potential location.


Service areas


If you’re moving across town, you will probably keep all the same vendors and utilities, but if you are crossing borders, the conversation might get more complicated. Talking to your vendors ahead of time about your potential relocation can help you make sure that you will still be able to get all of the supplies and services that your business needs to operate.


If you find out that you will need to change suppliers or service personnel, you can ask your current partners for recommendations. You can also contact the Chamber of Commerce near your new location to get suggestions. But there’s nothing like moving in to your new location and finding out that your IT contractor can’t travel that far when you need someone to hook up your WiFi. Plan ahead so that everything goes smoothly.


Customer communication


Once you know that you’re moving, and you have a firm date established, you will need to tell your customers about your plans. How will you communicate to them? What channels have you established already to let them know about the upcoming change. Social media feeds, newsletter, email blasts, and ads in the local paper or on the radio are all options. Educating your staff and having signs up in your current location can also help spread the message.


If your business relies less on foot traffic, you may want to make a point of reaching out to your regular clients to let them know about the upcoming move, and how it will affect them. Make sure to let them know if your website will be down, if your orders will be delayed, or if they will need to place any orders early in order to ensure their usual delivery time.


Cash reserves


Moving locations is expensive, whether you’re doing it for your home or your business. You often need to have your first month of rent paid ahead of time, startup fees for any new utilities, and you may need to purchase new furniture for your new location. In general, you should move at a point in your cashflow when your reserves are high, because something will invariably go wrong. You also want to make sure that you can cover your expenses for an extra month or two if it takes a few weeks to hit your stride at the new location.


You also want to make sure that you can cover your expenses for an extra month or two if it takes a few weeks to hit your stride at the new location.


Relocating your business is a complex, and sometimes frustrating and expensive process. But if you plan ahead, you will be able to smooth over many of the bumps and hiccups that would otherwise leave you struggling to keep your business functioning. Sit down with your leadership team and plan for all of the worst case scenarios that you can think of, so that you have an action plan for anything that comes up.

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Author: Sam Davtyan


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