According to a 2011 survey by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, more than 30% of all small business owners in the UK are thinking about moving their business to a different location.
If you are one of these businesses, here’s a to-do list to make sure your move goes as smoothly as possible:
1. Give yourself at least a year to prepare. When you move your business, you’re not just moving furniture: You’ll be moving employees. You’re going to be affecting your accessibility to your current clients. You’re going to need new utility lines, new phone and Internet providers.
And ideally, you’re going to have to accomplish all these things without stopping operations for more than a day. In effect, you’ll be doing a feat like a bus driver loading and unloading people without ever stopping his bus.
This needs a lot of preparation, planning, human and logistic resources. This will need a lot of time. Give yourself a year to do it.
2. Give your employees and clients time to prepare. As we said before, you’re not the only one moving here. Warn your clients and employees of your plans way ahead of time. This will give your employees a chance to find a new place to rent, if necessary.
Some of your clients will not be able to go with you. If so, they will appreciate the advance warning that allows them to find somebody to replace your services. In return for your courtesy, they just might refer you to somebody to replace their business in the place you’re moving to.
Or they just might figure out a way to retain your services despite them move. They will be more inclined to do that if you warn them ahead of time.
3. Schedule the best date. You’re looking for a weekend when it’s least likely that you’ll have existing projects being disrupted. Most companies whose business is not in retail sales choose the Christmas or Easter season to make the move.
4. Prepare a budget, and then add 20%. What will you need to spend on? Well, there are removal fees, layout and installation of facilities for the new location, removal and transport of existing furniture and machinery, site de-commissioning and disposal, and backfilling of activity shortfalls, and dilapidation costs for your old office.
And then, there’s the fact that no matter how well you prepare, there will always be unexpected problems, which translate to unexpected costs. That’s what you need the extra 20% for.
5. Hire a relocation company to help you make the move. This may sound like extra cost at first, but when you consider the amount of time and effort professional services can save you, you will realize they are well worth their pay.
In choosing a provider, make sure you know what is included in your contract. Some provide only basic transportation services. Others include furniture planning and procurement, interior design, electronic installations, even office cleaning. Choose according to your company’s own needs, and don’t take shortcuts, which are guaranteed to cost you more in the long run.