Planning a Successful Business Relocation
This article is written by Andrea Needham.
Moving your business is a major undertaking, one that should be planned with precision to ensure limited downtime and disruption. For best results, the process should typically start several months in advance of the move itself. Lucrum brokerage services can help you devise a strategy for finding commercial real estate in Los Angeles and SouthernCalifornia. Here are some tips on how to successfully relocate your business.
A successful business relocation limits downtime or the time your company is not inactive selling/productivity mode. If possible, don’t move during a busy season. This will only complicate matters and potentially result in lost profits. Create a process calendar that includes key dates and target activities. You’ll want to note everything from the day the new lease is signed until the day the last item is moved from your current location and the keys turned over. Involve managers and employees in the process so there’s no confusion. If you’re delivering new furniture or making new signs, plan it all in advance.
Organization is key in a relocation. Start by defining processes, like packing, IT and utility shut down and hookup, order processing, billing, and vendor/supplier services. Assign different departments with color-coded packing materials for personal items and a date for packing completion; order inventory and supplies in advance and have them delivered to your new location so you can hit the ground running; hire a reputable and reliable moving company that can ensure everything gets to where it’s going on time and in good condition. Hire a team leader for each major function to ensure there’s a go-to person for troubleshooting.
Plan for a Transitional Period
Depending on the size of your company and the products and services you provide, a transitional or staggered move might be advisable. Using this approach, you may move departments or staff groups one at a time to avoid confusion and limit operational downtime. Regardless of approach, you’ll want to use the weeks preceding the move to get ahead on work product or order fulfillment so you aren’t scrambling to meet deadlines while still getting settled into your new location. Also, go easy on employee productivity during this time period. There will be a lot of moving parts to the transition, which will be stressful for everyone.
Stay in regular contact with employees, customers, and vendors, and keep everyone apprised of the relocation timeline and process. Put a banner on your website and change your outgoing message and email signature lines as well. This will reduce the potential for lost mail or shipments or misdirected customers. There may be bumps along the way, but if people are prepared, they’re likely to be more understanding. It might even be beneficial to let some employees telecommute during the move to ensure operations maintain a regular pace.
Make sure you update your website, your social media, your packaging, and your marketing materials with your new contact information in advance of your move. This will let customers know where you’re moving and when you’ll be back in business. This is a great time to use a premade business card app template that allows you to brand and personalize cards with your colors, logo, and include your new location and contact information. If possible, use extra-large temporary signage at your old location, and your new one, to redirect customer traffic.
Emphasize the Positive
Change can be tough for both your customers and employees. With your staffers, increase enthusiasm by playing up the amenities of the new location and discussing how the move will benefit the company, and by extension, benefit them. With your customers, emphasize the upsides to the move. Maybe it’s easier to access, more centrally located, has better or expanded parking, or allows you to offer a wider range of products and services. Be prepared to answer questions openly and honestly, but maintain a positive spin.
Handle Downsizing Sensitively
If you’re moving because you’re downsizing your company due to budget cuts, reduced revenue, or other economic reasons, handle the process sensitively, especially if it means laying off employees. It’s important to get out in front of any rumors or gossip and be upfront about what’s going on. Have honest conversations with those being laid off in advance of letting others in the company know, and make every effort to help them find new employment via referrals or letters of recommendation. Once layoffs are final, reassure the rest of the staff that you’re back on the firm financial footing and don’t anticipate additional cuts.
Whether positive or negative, corporate relocation is a multilayered process that has the potential to be stressful if not well managed. Plan your process in detail, keep communication channels open, and focus on the good that comes with your move to a new location.