You and your team have worked hard, grown the business and the client base, and now there’s no more room in the office or the warehouse. Business growth is certainly a good thing, but when it comes time to move to larger quarters, or to open a satellite office, preparation is the key.
Moving a home is hard, but moving a business can be even harder. It not only means moving physical assets, it means moving people, client interactions, deliveries and pickups, and important meetings scheduled for the week you plan to move.
Preparation is key to moving a business without disrupting services and product delivery. If your office is closed during a business relocation, you’re losing money, and that can’t go on for very long.
1. Schedule your move. Plan well in advance. Make sure the movers are scheduled, the IT techs are in the new office hooking up your network, and that equipment is in place in the new place ASAP.
This is especially important when the move takes the company some distance from its current location. If you’re just moving down the street, you can plan to run the business from two locations for a short time, but if you’re moving to the other end of the state, remote site operations may suffer if the office supplies and computers haven’t arrived. Plan — down to each paper clip — when equipment and staff will move. Be precise, but be flexible, too, since plans can change.
2. Notify everyone. Your business has a lot of stakeholders – employees, clients or customers, suppliers and vendors, taxing agencies, outsources and others. Notify each stakeholder of your planned move. Give them a “heads-up” as soon as your plans are solidified. Then, keep these stakeholders in the loop. If your warehouse isn’t ready for a delivery, a supplier may have storage issues or conflicts in its delivery schedule that may cause that supplier unnecessary problems.
3. Create a moving committee. If your business has numerous departments, the needs of each department may differ during the physical relocation of the business, so get department heads talking to each other. Assign the moving committee specific tasks, e.g., packing up records, maintaining data security, oversight of the actual move – moving a business is complicated, so enlist the help of your company leaders.
4. Layout the new space to best advantage. In some cases, the physical layout of your new space may need renovation, or new office walls installed. Seek input from department managers on their specific requirements. Talk to employees who actually perform the work. Accommodate employees and other staff whenever possible. For example, staff may prefer an open-space design instead of cubicles. Plan the layout of your new business space ahead of time, and call in architects if needed.
5. Contact all leasing companies. If you lease the office copier, the leasing company: (1) needs to know where to send the monthly statement; and (2) may move the copier and set it up for you as part of your lease agreement, or simply as a goodwill gesture. For whatever equipment you lease, notify the leasing company to discuss how the equipment will be moved, and how quickly it can be set up in its new location.
6. Pack wisely. It may be worthwhile to use a moving company to take care of the packing and shipping for you. Call a few companies for quotes before you decide to do it yourself. If you decide to use your own employees, don’t just pick up some empty boxes at the supermarket. Your computers, servers, testing equipment and other materials should be packed securely to prevent damage during shipment. Purchase packing tape, foam box filler and other materials to keep your gear from being damaged in transit – even if you’re just moving across the street.
7. Take out the trash. If you haven’t used “it” in the past 24 months, chances are you don’t need it. Use a business relocation as an opportunity to toss the trash, clean out old files and get rid of old office furniture that takes up valuable space in the warehouse.
8. Label everything. Label every box by department and by contents to shorten the “traction time” it takes when you’re in your new space. It sounds simple, but it’s something that many business owners forget, and they may end up with piles of unmarked boxes that have to be opened, examined and moved to the proper location.
9. Take inventory. Develop a complete list of materials, filing cabinets, computers, office chairs – everything your company owns. Check off items as they’re loaded on the truck and check them again when they arrive at your new location. This is a real time saver, and an assurance that important documents or equipment don’t get lost in transit.
10. Smooth move. The most critical aspect of a business relocation is the problem of business interruption. If your business has to stop delivering services or shipping products to customers, you’re losing business, and you may be losing customers. Plan your move with buyers in mind. These are the companies and individuals who pay the bills. Keep cash flow flowing at all costs by planning a smooth move – one that clients and customers don’t even recognize.
Plan carefully and keep track of changes in plans. Finally, plan your move around the needs of those you serve – your customer or client base. Make it simple for these critical stakeholders, and you make it easier on yourself and your business.
When it’s time to be moving on, do it smartly.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.