We recently moved from Tucson, Arizona to West Hollywood, California and moved our small businesses at the same time. We have a property development and management business and needed to find a whole new set of clients to work with. The move went smoothly, and we have built up a nice roster of clients in the six months we’ve been here. I can attribute this to very careful planning and then execution of that plan.
Here are five good tips for any small business to consider when moving:
Alert Your Customers
As soon as you make a decision, let current customers know so they can plan accordingly. If you have a retail store, the sooner your customers know and can adjust to your new location, the more comfortable they will be about making the move with you. If you are moving a long distance, as we did, you customers will need to find alternatives. You may want to contact a competitor and discuss referring your customers to them. We were surprised by how many of our clients had contacts in Los Angeles they were happy to refer us to, after the years of quality service we had provided.
Research Possible New Areas Carefully
Businesses move for many reasons. Whatever the reason, be sure to check out new areas carefully. Look at local zoning and laws, traffic, parking, taxes. You can never be too prepared, so take your time and be sure to weigh all the positive and negatives before making a decision. Check with your accounting and tax professionals about the implications of a move. If you do business with a certain bank, check to see if they have offices in your new location and research other vendors and support organizations.
Make Multiple Visits
Once you find a location you like, make multiple visits to the site. Go during the day, at night, over the weekend, during holidays. Whether its a store or an office, you need to be sure there are no hidden surprises.
Network In The New Area
As soon as you make a decision where to go, start the networking process. Work with the leasing agent or Realtor to help find local groups or organizations you can join to help build your business. Walk around the new area and introduce yourself to neighbors, tenants and other local business and let people know you are there and what you do. A lot of research can be done online, prior to your actual move.
As a small business owner, you already know running a business can be difficult. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. You may encounter many more problems or delays than you expect, so prepare an ample emergency fund for any contingencies. Moving a business can bring many surprises, so the only way to be prepared is to have enough resources to handle whatever comes up. Consider putting off the move, or if possible, consider operating the business from your home to save money until you know the business can support its own office, building or location.