Has rent in your current business locality increased beyond your means? Are new markets developing in other places?
If you answered yes (even unwillingly) to any of these questions, it may be time to consider moving your small business to a new location.
It sounds simple, at least in theory. But the reality of making a business move involves juggling many tasks: finding appropriate space, coordinating employees, informing clients, selecting storage and distribution, and making the move physically.
No business owner can just dodge around it – moving involves a lot of hard work, and a lot of decision-making.
Director of the University of Georgia’s Business Outreach Services/Small Business Development Center Robert Andoh says that businesses need to have backups, and backups of those backups. It’s also important to plan the move ahead of time, and have contingency plans for every step of the move.
With that in mind, here are a few best practices to better manage the entire process and reduce the downstream strain on your business operations:
Create a schedule
As you are moving, coordinating the move can be a daunting task with all the furniture and equipment lying in your existing office. Analyze the organization of your office to see how you want things to be laid out in the new location and what items will be going out or coming in. Create a schedule for moving the equipment and furniture to the new location 2-3 months in advance.
Advance scheduling is particularly important when a business is making a long-distance move from its current location. If your new office is just down the street, you can schedule the move for the two locations in a relatively small amount of time. But moving to another end of the state requires decision-making – down to each paper clip – a few months in advance. Be precise, yet flexible at the same time, because plans can change.
Have a physical, actionable moving partner
A good moving partner can save you thousands of dollars by ensuring your business remains functional throughout the moving process. The right warehouse management partner will protect and transport your production equipment, stock, office furniture, pallet racking, and other important items at a reasonable cost. A warehouse storage and distribution provider will also give you dedicated space during the move while making sure your product supply chain keeps functioning smoothly.
You don’t want to be missing any necessities when you start operations in your new office, so let your warehousing vendor know well in advance if there are adjustments to be made before the move. Order any new furniture or equipment earlier so that it has time to arrive and be organized before you make the move physically.
Take out the clutter
If there are unused items lying around in your office, dispose them (recycle, sell to another company, or donate). A rule of thumb to detect such items is: if no one in the office has used it for the past year or two, chances are it is not required. Use a business move as an opportunity to reduce the clutter; get rid of old folders and furniture that will occupy valuable warehouse space.
Get employees involved in this process. And be gracious to anyone who is willing to help. A team working together for a business move should be able to efficiently move from one place to another, and get operations running again quickly.