So you noticed a fantastic piece of land across town which you think might be a better location for your business or possibly a better business opportunity somewhere else in the country. There's better foot traffic, or additional exposure, or you can get a deal on the rent for a certain period of time. What should you do before you pack up your business and move across town - or even farther!
Draft Pros and Cons Of Moving
Make sure that moving really is going to benefit you as much as you think. You should be able to draft a tangible list of the pros and cons of relocating your business. You should be able to see benefits like better community support, greater foot traffic, more accessible parking, and better talent pool. Don't relocate your business on a hunch.
There are likely to be cons to moving your business, and if you can't find any, you might need to search harder. Your current customers might not be willing to travel across town. Older, historic buildings might have a more quaint, customer attracting exterior, but cause you to pay higher utilities. Tech upgrades might be impossible in certain buildings.
Know what you're getting into before you commit to the move.
Communicate With Current Customers
Before you move, it's important to let your customers know, in as many ways as possible, about your upcoming relocation. Signs or fliers in store, email and newsletter blasts, and even potentially an ad in the local paper are all good ways to get the word out. Any move risks losing some customers, but make sure that it's not just because they don't know where you've gone.
If your business is mostly online, you might need to prepare differently. If you run your own hosting servers, for example, you may need to alert your customers to a scheduled outage. Perhaps your website will remain up, but your customers will be unable to place orders for a set period of time. Whatever interruptions occur, make sure to proactively and reactively notify customers, so they don't assume that you've gone out of business or get angry.
Plan For Moving Costs
Moving is expensive. It may be tempting to handle a business move like you would a personal one, where you pay friends in pizza and beer to get you from one place to another. If you're relocating to another state, you will also need to factor in the travel and logistics costs.
Your business needs a more specialized touch, however. Plan ahead to have the available cash to cover the move and tip the movers.
Find Out What A Moving Company Won't Move
If you are mostly moving furniture and a few boxes, hiring a moving company will be simple, but if you have heavy technical equipment, you might not be able to have a standard moving company relocate your items for you. You might need to rent a van and move them yourself, or you might need to hire moving helpers to help you with heavy lifting.
The best way to prepare for this is to create a detailed list of the items that will need to be moved. Call the moving company you'd like to work with to book your move and go over the items that are big and bulky. If they can't move them, ask if they would recommend someone who can, or if you'll need to do it on your own.
Check Into Mover's Insurance
If you're moving a substantial amount of your business equipment or inventory, it's a good idea to ask your moving company what they have for insurance. They may have a certain amount of insurance, but you might want to pay for additional insurance, either through them, or through your own insurance agent.
Be very clear what they cover and what they don't - there are things movers will not tell you if you don't ask. After all, this is your livelihood that is being moved. Make sure that your items are protected.
Create Contingency Plans
What happens if you get to the new space and a utility isn't working? What if a crucial piece of equipment is damaged in transit? What if a planned renovation doesn't happen on schedule?
Just like with every other potential problem that your business might encounter, it's a good idea to think through problems that could arise and have at least a rough idea of how to handle them, should they occur. If nothing else, know who to call and what ID or policy numbers they will need. Keep this information with you, instead of letting it be packed with your items, just in case.
It's also a good idea to have some extra capital available to cover overhead costs of new rental fees, utility connections, or decreases in income related to being in a new location.