Choosing a business location is one of the most important aspects of starting a business, but it isn’t necessarily your company’s permanent home. Much like moving to a new home, sometimes you know it’s time to move your small business to greener pastures. But whether you’re moving to a better sales location, somewhere less expensive, or a larger space, relocating is a massive endeavor that takes careful planning.
Balancing each step of the moving process can be challenging, but the long-term rewards can make it well worth the trouble. You can give your growing business the space to flourish, enjoy better foot traffic, or improve your store design and layout.
Despite the challenges, moving your business doesn’t have to be a headache. We’ll explore some tips to ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible.
Before choosing a new location, conduct a competitive analysis to understand competitors in the area. You’ll be able to gauge how well your business will perform compared to nearby companies with similar offerings.
Owners are driven to move their businesses for many reasons, including being closer to their target customers, improving foot traffic, and better showcasing their products. They may feel they’ve outgrown their current space or need a new direction.
However, wanting to move and being ready to move are very different. To ensure you’re ready to take on the risk of moving your business, ask the following questions.
Don’t underestimate the importance of conducting a thorough small business marketing and financial analysis. A move may bring better visibility or a newer building, but signing a commercial lease in a better location may incur higher costs. Deciding whether or not it’s a worthwhile investment requires quantitative work.
“When moving office spaces, my best tip is ensuring that your business is in the place to expand before you physically expand,” said Nellie Akalp, CEO and founder of business consulting company CorpNet. “Make sure your numbers are where they need to be and your team is in place to support the expansion.”
You may want to move and have adequate financial resources for your new rent and expenses, but you must also be realistic about the toll moving will take on your team.
“You don’t want to move spaces because you envision your company growth,” Akalp advised. “A vision is great, but going through a physical move is very trying on a team. Make sure that vision is becoming a reality before signing that new lease.”
You may decide that your business can weather the temporary challenges of moving because the end goal is worth it. Karen Chisum, owner of The Foundry Collective, a locally owned boutique store in Clovis, California, saw an opportunity when a new building opened just one street over in a busier location.
The appeal was the boost in space, increasing the store from 1,800 to 2,500 square feet. This was the business’s second move; it outgrew its initial space shortly after opening. While the planning and time investment of the move was substantial, Chisum found it was the right step to take for her business.
“At the end of the day, having adequate storage space, higher ceilings for taller displays, and the opportunity to rethink the design of the store were well worth the minor inconveniences,” Chisum said.
If relocating is the right decision for your business, consider the following moving best practices to create a seamless transition.
When The Foundry Collective moved, the company faced construction delays that prolonged the opening date. However, Chisum said her team and the customers took the delays in stride. If nothing else, it increased interaction on social media, as people wanted to know when the store would open.
Communication was key. Chisum and her team updated customers on how the relocation was progressing, alerted them that The Foundry was still at its old location, and reminded them that the move was still happening.
Here are some tips for essential relocation communication:
When planning your move, keep a checklist of the things you must accomplish. Make the list as soon as you decide it’s the right time to move.
Your to-do list items should include the following:
From choosing a new space to moving day, relocating a business involves significant time and effort — with potentially disastrous consequences if things go wrong. Fortunately, proactive steps can ensure your business is ready for the move and that the relocation process is smooth and efficient.
Despite the challenges, moving provides a chance to grow your business and set it up for success in its new location.
“Use a move as an opportunity to evaluate your product and your bestsellers,” Chisum said. “Analyze how your products are selling, and take advantage of a chance to expand on inventory or pivot in the areas you need to.”
Done carefully and correctly, relocating doesn’t have to be a painful process and can offer your business the opportunity it needs to flourish.
Adam Uzialko contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.