17 Steps In Opening A New Business Location
If your business has reached the point of success where it needs its own building – congratulations! What a wonderful achievement.
When people start businesses, the precarious nature of it all means that achieving anything, big or small, feels like a huge step in the right direction.
Asides having the qualities of a good businessman, if you have grown your business to the point where it needs its own space to continue operations, it means you’re definitely doing something right. But when it’s time to move or open a new one, you surely need some guidance.
Last two years, when my mum moved her catering business to another town, they were the most difficult weeks of our lives. I quickly learnt that moving a business from one location to the other is not always as easy as it seems.
Through those tough days, I kept reminding myself that if moving my mother’s business to another location was such a headache to the entire family, what about those relatively larger businesses?
The most excruciating thing about the whole process was that there was no guide to refer to. Of course, this led to regrettable mistakes. It was through these mistakes that I learnt some key things that can assist you if you plan to relocate your business.
First and foremost, you need to get rid of the idea that relocating is a day’s job, it isn’t.
If you plan on relocating your business seamlessly, you need to bring out time and dedicate a whole week or two to fully move staff and equipment to your new base.
Well, I suppose I have to go into details, so let’s dive right in to discuss the 18 steps you can employ to seamlessly transfer your operations to another location.
Whether you are looking to buy or build a workspace for your business to thrive and grow, there are some factors which need careful consideration.
Read on to get your head around the things which you must consider when looking to build a workspace in a new business location.
1. Get the right location
Indeed, it is not just what your business can do for those who need it, but where it is based, which is crucial. If you are looking to build a purpose-built space for your business, the location of this construction is the first thing that must be decided upon.
No matter how fantastic your business is, if it is placed in the wrong area, it could suffer immensely.
So, how can you decide on a location or plan the relocation of your business? If you are already operating successfully in a particular area of your city or town, it is wise to stick with the customer base you’ve created.
A business is only as good as the people who make it. Stick with your customers and they will stick with you.
If you’re moving to another location, other factors should be considered such as noise levels from the street, expense in certain locations versus others, crime rates, housing prices and demand for your services in that area.
Research is crucial when picking a location – do not cut corners when it comes to research in this area!
2. Make Payments Beforehand
Do not, I repeat, do not for any reason move your operations to a new location, until you must have taken care of the rent and any other payments on the other end.
I remember this was the first major problem we encountered and it was the biggest one in my opinion. The point here is to make sure that you have made all necessary transactions before you even begin to buy those moving boxes.
I remember how a couple of agents turned up at the new location with some thugs ready to destroy our properties because they didn’t get their commission. Of course, the police were called in, but my mother had to raise that commission and paid them off to avoid further harassment.
So, to avoid instances like this, I strongly advise that you settle things in your new base before you start committing to moving. Check with the landlord or real estate agent a week, three days and the day before moving.
Also, make sure you have your keys before allowing the transport company to move those boxes. In our case, a lot of problems spawned from not concluding business on the other side before moving out properties.
I don’t need to remind you to check all appliances, especially the electricity bill before moving into any rented space.
I have heard stories of new tenants inheriting electricity and phone bills from previous tenants, and although we didn’t have to deal with this, I think stories of these complications are all too common and should be checked before any conclusions are made financially.
3. Set A Date for Moving
Once you have concluded all the legalities/financial transactions on the other end, and you have your keys & property papers in your possession, it is time to set that date for moving.
If you run an essential service establishment like a hospital, news outlet or bank, you might need to keep working even as you transfer to a new location. This is why setting a date for moving is important.
The way around this would be weekends, but personally, I would choose Sunday as my moving date for two reasons.
Firstly, Sunday is usually the calmest day of the week, a few people go to work, while others sit at home and bond with their family. The majority go to church and return to their homes where they sleep for the whole day.
The point is, traffic on the road is a lot lesser on weekends, especially Sundays. So, you should consider Sunday as a moving date.
The second reason is related to the first thing I pointed out. Unless you are a pastor, work should be a bit slower on Sundays, so you should have some time to properly plan your relocation, and make trips to your new base to ensure it is all good over there.
At the end of the day, only you can actually know the date that is most convenient for you to move.
4. Take Inventory
This was another problem that surfaced when we were done settling the agents. Apparently, my mother didn’t take proper inventory of what she had in her previous office, so we had to go looking for missing utensils and some other properties.
However, because she didn’t make an inventory list in the first place, it made searching for any missing thing quite difficult.
Therefore, I urge you to set out time and make a list of everything in your office before you move a pen. Some stuff can go missing on the way, and if you don’t have a list, the moving company can exonerate themselves.
It doesn’t matter if you plan on moving your properties with your own van, you have to make a list you can refer to when you are finally settled in your new base.
It took us almost a week after moving to realize that the microwave was missing. My mother was livid because customers wanted warm food all the time, she had to purchase another one that same day.
Had it been she had an inventory of things she packed, she could have held the moving company accountable. It isn’t a big task considering the kind of troubles that could surface if overlooked.
Just take out a pen and your diary, walk around and make a list of the most important things first, the smaller things, and the essential service tools. I will explain further in the next paragraph.
5. Buy & Label Your Boxes
Moving fragile properties can make you so nervous. Buying and labelling your moving boxes is a great way to keep inventory and also ensure the safety of your property. Moving can be a very tiring task and you need to save yourself from stress as a business owner.
Imagine if you boxed your chandelier and you didn’t label it ‘fragile’, you could come back to a broken chandelier, a nightmare in my opinion.
You can purchase moving boxes from a store, and start packing those items that are not too important first. If you must continue working even as you move to your new location, then you must start from items that are not so important and the properties that are large in size.
This is a tip I got from a moving expert, he said: “It is easier to pack those properties that are quite bulky even a week before moving”. It makes the whole process easier because you already took care of the larger stuff.
6. Organize for Transportation
This is another thing you must do to be able to move your services to another location seamlessly. You must organize transportation beforehand. This will help you to manage stress as a business owner.
It doesn’t matter if you plan to hire a van, use your private vehicle or even hire a moving company to do the transportation.
The point is that you must make sure that everything regarding moving is taken care of three weeks before your set moving day.
7. Change Your Mail Address
This is often overlooked by many business managers when they are moving.
They usually realize this after a week or two when they stop receiving mails because the address is still set at the previous location.
So, make sure you change that mailing address immediately after your move is completed.
8. Set A Schedule
First, you should create a schedule that outlines the steps you need to take before the day of your planned move.
For instance, you will need to let your employees know about the planned move and its effect on the company’s day to day operations, licenses, insurance policies, internet and phone services.
You also need to plan for a date when everyone should start packing up the office. Depending on the size of your office, you should create your timeline to begin at least three months or a week before your move.
If you have a medium to large office, you need to plan six to eight months ahead of time. This will help you organize things on the other end to avoid any complications or misunderstandings.
9. Make a Budget
In everything you do, always make a budget beforehand. It will save you a lot of money and time, you can set out a particular amount apart from rent for a long miscellaneous or unplanned events.
Setting out money primarily for unplanned events during moving can save you a lot of worries. You have to understand that things can get broken or missing on the way to your new location.
10. Create a Team
A team is always essential for this kind of tasks, not only does the extra hands help you move things, but you also get ideas and opinions on different things. So, the next thing is that you need to get a team to help you with your move.
It’s important to have regular meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page and tasks go according to the timeline. Creating a checklist in addition to a timeline will help you determine what else needs to be done.
These carefully selected team members should consist of supervisors or managers from different departments who will help make sure everything stays on schedule and everyone does his or her part to ensure a smooth move.
11. Get Security
The famous musician Beyoncé and her husband Jay Z got security to stay at their new home even before they moved.
Are you moving any valuable item to the new location ahead of time? You need to get security to stay around the new location.
Ensure that you are not a victim of burglary before you even move to your new base.
12. Move Slowly but Consistently
One mistake we made when moving my mother’s business was that we tried to move everything at once. It was very stressful, to say the least. This was because most of the larger items had to be carried back and forth because they didn’t fit into the van.
It became clear that we should have taken the moving process slowly, but at a steady pace. If you run a larger business with lots of properties, consider moving your stuff one at a time.
Start with the largest assets that nobody would really miss like the photocopying machine in the hallway that is not frequently used.
The goal is to move your stuff little by little to avoid getting stressed as an entrepreneur.
13. Hire Professional Movers
I cannot overemphasize the importance of hiring professional movers. If you don’t hire professionals to move your stuff, you could end up with more broken items than moved items.
If possible you should hire a moving company to handle both the moving, transportation and offloading of your property.
This way you’re sure that if anything breaks or goes missing, you can hold an establishment accountable and get some kind of compensation.
14. Reach Out to Your Suppliers
It’s important that your suppliers get the memo of your planned move before you actually move. Your clients should also be notified that you are moving.
You can call them, send emails, or print business cards with your new address for them. Your website should also be updated with the new address.
Any appointments that may be on or around your move date should be rescheduled for after your office move.
15. Install The Necessary Amenities in Your New Office
Make sure amenities like water, internet and air conditioners are available in your new office. Ensure they are available before moving your employees to the new base.
You need to install the basic necessary amenities for operations to run smoothly once you’ve completely moved.
You don’t want your employees struggling to provide service to your customers with limited resources.
16. Plan Interior Design at Your New Location
You need to plan the arrangement of your new office space before moving your stuff to your new base. This includes planning the arrangement of large items immediately they are offloaded from the moving truck.
This is to avoid the problem of moving large items after the more professional movers must have left. It can be very stressful doing the moving and shifting of large items after the muscular movers have gone.
Every business is unique, so the building you create for your business should be too. When considering building costs, it is vital that you prioritise your interior fit-out which makes your business unique.
Do you run a restaurant business which specialises in cocktail making? The bar and equipment should be state of the art.
If you run a dental or medical practice, a specialist building company like Medifit should be consulted to complete the work. This will make sure that your business keeps its character and quality, no matter what.
17. Advertise Your Move
Once your space is finished, it’s time to let your customers know where you’re at. Moving locations always causes a momentary dip in a business’ earnings. This is simply due to the fact that your loyal customers need to catch up. Your new ones also need time to find you!
Make sure to advertise your move on social media and with signage on the exterior of the old venue. In addition, it is helpful to do a moving promotion in order to draw customers to your new location!
This could be a sale, dance contest, a welcome event or a giveaway online.
No matter what your business is or how you operate it, opening a new location is exciting and fun.
Use this helpful guide to ensure you get it right!