You know your small business is taking off when it’s time to upgrade your starter digs. Moving your company from the garage or a cramped office to a space that’s big enough to grow with you is a major step. To pull it off successfully, you need a plan. Transition like a pro with this list of questions you need to answer before making the move.
How Much Space Do I Need?
It’s easy to see how much space you need to be comfortable right now, but you don’t want to have to move again in a year. Consider your long-term plans for growth and evaluate your needs based on expansion projections. Will you hire additional staff? Do you need extra production space?
If your favorite space isn’t big enough to accommodate growth, find out if there are options to lease extra space in the future.
How Much Can I Spend?
There’s more to leasing a new space than the base rent. There are Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges, Tenant Improvement (TI) costs, real estate taxes, and other operating expenses. Evaluate whether you will need to remodel, paint, replace carpet, or alter the electrical and technological capabilities of your space when building your budget.
Make a list of all anticipated expenditures to determine a ballpark figure you can handle. If you plan to rent, try to negotiate a full-service lease that will include everything except your monthly utilities. Depending on your financial situation, you may want to consider buying rather than leasing.
Is This the Right Location?
The view from your office may be a big selling point, but it’s not the only thing you should consider when looking into locations. Things to consider include ease of access for clients and staff, proximity to public transportation or main roads, and potential relocation expenses. If your business relies on walk-in or drive-by traffic, find out the statistics for locations you’re considering.
Consider the area and neighboring businesses. Evaluate your proximity to competitors and if the neighborhood fits with your company’s image. Don’t be tempted to choose lower costs over a location that will stimulate growth and provide a solid customer base.
What About Utilities and Tech Services?
Be sure to check with your current utility companies and Internet service provider (ISP) to find out if they can move with you. This is also a good time to evaluate your plans and services to make sure you’ve got everything you need when it comes to phone, Internet, and other technology. Make sure you’re not paying for features you don’t use.
Schedule any required installation well in advance to make sure you’re up and running as soon as possible.
Do I Need New Equipment and Furniture?
Outfitting your new office doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Evaluate your need for additional desks, workstations, and reception furniture. If you’re adding a staff break room, don’t forget items like a fridge and microwave.
Once you’ve settled on a space, plan out the logistical setup along with needs for additional furniture and office equipment. Consider whether you want permanent or fluid workspaces. Include this information in your overall budget for the move.
How Does This Impact My Employees?
Don’t forget the people who are helping your company achieve growth. Inform staff about the move as soon as possible. Consider whether the relocation will add extra expenses to their daily commute or force them to search for a closer day care. If the move is going to have a big impact on employees, are you willing to offer some extra compensation to mitigate the burden?
Include staff in the move. Outline their role in the process and your expectations. Will they need to pack up their own office? Will they be compensated for any days of downtime while everything gets situated? Is working from home an option during the move?
There’s nothing better than seeing your business grow, but moving to a new space can be harrowing. Is there anything else business owners should consider when it comes to settling into a new office space? Let us know in the comments.