Why do small businesses change location? Most likely it is because the local tax rate has changed, rent is being raised, or they are sick of the commute. The rest of the world may consider you a “small” business but the move for you might be the biggest step you have ever taken in your life. Don’t fret. You can handle this and turn higher profits while doing so. I made the move two years ago and it worked out for the best — even as I pulled my hair out in the process. Hopefully the advice here will help you retain more hair than I in the process.
Expanding or Downsizing? Employees are your best resources
When I moved I was downsizing. From 9 employees to 7 employees. But when it came time to move the furniture, the file cabinets, and the computers, my current employees handled every truckload with passion. Contractors will handle your equipment and furniture with the same tenderness of a county Dog Catcher called out for a 2 a.m. nuisance. Rent U-Haul trucks yourself and have employees move all of the critical components of your business. They will carry them about like their first born child.
Make arrangements with your new “landlord” and try to move in on the weekend, preferably on a Sunday. The building you are moving into will have minimal foot traffic and further expedite the process. Even if you are moving to a location that doesn’t have any other businesses in your immediate area the cautious handling on behalf of your staff will be well worth paying them overtime.
Monday Morning Networking
Before you move make sure your new location has the proper internet connection ready to roll on day one. Contact them two weeks prior to make sure you can be set up at your new location right after your move is complete. When I moved my small business my local ISP hadn’t had the proper connections into the building and it set me back a week on email capability.
The Cell Phone Shift
Four weeks before the “move” have your sales people, if you are a manufacturer, distribute their cellular phone number to their contacts as their “main” number temporarily. This will maximize working hours (taking off-the-clock calls) while ensuring there is no break in customer service. They will never know you are moving and your sales-people can operate efficiently.
Home Sweet Home
After the move is finished and all equipment is hooked up and running, transition back to landlines and email communications. Your employees have successfully moved the equipment with care, while maintaining the integrity of the business. Via cell phones they have maintained their customer base and are ready to resume business as usual at your new location! Congrats! And you still have your sanity!