Every year thousands of entrepreneurs decide to pack up their small business and relocate to greener pastures. Whether it’s more space, a better neighborhood, more available parking, newer facilities, more foot traffic, better visibility, a better lease arrangement, or a combination of factors, there are times when the benefits of moving outweigh the negative aspects. And there are indeed negative aspects beyond the hassle and expense of moving, the biggest one being forfeiture of all of the time and effort you’ve put in to establishing yourself in the neighborhood. For a business that has been in one location for a very long time, that can be a large loss indeed.
So you’ve weighed the pros and cons, found the perfect space across town to relocate, and decided to go for it. Here are some considerations that, if handled early, will make your move much smoother and less traumatic.
Prepare for Service Migration
At least 60 days before your move, conduct an audit of the various services you maintain, including electric, telephone, internet, cable, water, sewer, trash pickup, mail delivery, package pickup and any other services you use. Locate the corresponding service providers for the new location and validate connectivity and availability. Arrange to get everything up and running at least a day or so before the big move.
This is an excellent opportunity to make any equipment upgrades that require specialized wiring and connections. Even if you don’t plan to purchase the equipment for some time, it may be worthwhile to ensure the connectivity is in place so that your upgrade will go smoothly when you’re ready. You may also want to consider upgrading your telephone equipment to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, which will save you money on phone calls.
Change of Address Notifications
For most people, moving means filling out a change of address form at the post office. For a small business, there are so many more places to change your address. Start with placing a prominent notice on your website, blog, and social media pages well in advance of your move, as well as in (or on) your storefront. Send out email to all of your clients announcing your move, and consider having a big moving sale or farewell party to drive the point home. Just before your move, set aside some time to update your Facebook, Google and Yelp page, and all of your other business directory listings. Finally, add a footer to all your emails reminding clients and vendors that you have moved to your new location, in case they somehow didn’t get the message.
Secure Cabling and Equipment
Whether you have a dedicated server room full of equipment or just a basic office setup or something in between, moving and reinstalling computers and peripherals can be traumatic if not done correctly. Get some labeling tape and label each and every cable on both ends as to what it is and where it connects. This will make reinstalling them so much faster and less confusing. Be sure and purchase some bundle ties for your wires and cables so that you can create a neat, clean appearance at your new location.
Clean Up and Clear Out
This is the ideal time to get rid of slow-moving inventory that you don’t wish to carry anymore. Save yourself the expense of dragging it to your new location by holding a moving sale. It’s also a great time to purge any unnecessary equipment, furnishings and clutter that has built up over the years. Start fresh in your new location by bringing only what you need, and give everything a thorough cleaning before loading it into the moving van. Don’t bring dirty, grubby furnishings and equipment into your beautiful new shop. Consider selling old desks and chairs and updating your furnishings if you can afford it.
Update Business Licenses and Insurance
Don’t forget to update your business licenses and certifications, and notify your insurance company of your new location. You should actually have coordinated with your insurance company before choosing your new location, since factors such as age of the structure, neighborhood crime rate, and proximity to a fire department can significantly affect your rates. Depending on the underwriter and the location, you may be able to simply change the address on your old policy or you may need to get a new one. Don’t wait until the day before your move to find out.
Start early and take care of as many tasks as possible before moving day, and you may find that relocating your business can be a fun and rewarding experience, rather than a stressful, hair-raising one.