It’s said that moving to a new house is one of the most stressful events of your life. If you’re moving your business, then you have a completely different set of things to worry about. Rather than ‘Where’s the kitchen box with the kettle gone?’ it’s more ‘Where’s the box with the server gone!’. You’ve also got to make sure that a relocation doesn’t cost you more than just the price of the removals van, and that your business doesn’t suffer as a result.
My colleague, Tamzin Mandelli, wrote a guide on acquiring business premises if you’re still looking for that perfect location, with five questions you should have answers for ahead of a move. A business relocation should be a smooth transition with barely a ripple, but assuming you’ve got everything packed and ready to go, and the removal team are heading up the stairs to start moving out desks, here are our top 5 tips to make sure your relocation is a success.
1. Get all the legal paperwork done
A change of business address isn’t simply a matter of informing your customers with a piece of paper in the window saying, ‘We’ve moved!’ and an arrow pointing down the street. You need to let everyone know your new address, and that includes organisations like HMRC, the VAT-man, Company’s House, and your legal team. It’s important to make sure all your insurance documents are revised, too, and that any H&S certification is revised and up to date before your team starts work in the new building. Talk to your solicitor well before moving day to make sure all of your paperwork is in order.
2. Future-proof your business
It’s probably a bit late to ask this, but are you sure you’ve moved to the right place? If your business move is the result of growth, then you’ll need to make sure that you don’t have to go through the same rigmarole all over again in a year’s time, just because you’ve moved to an ever-so-slightly bigger office and outgrown it faster than you thought you would. Plan well ahead, and anticipate your needs not in a year’s time, but five years down the line. Future-proof your business needs by picking your new location very carefully.
3. Don’t forget the tech
Priority number one (after unpacking the coffee maker) has to be internet connection. Whether your business is 100% reliant on tech, or you just send the occasional email, you need to have made sure your tech connections and communication system is up and running from the moment you open the door. Make sure you’ve let both your ISP and your telecoms provider know about the move, and arrange for the infrastructure to be in place before you move in.
4. Keep productivity up
This can be one of the hardest things on the list. A business relocation is hugely disruptive to the everyday routine of your business, and it can demotivate your workforce too. There is an argument that a ‘Business as Usual’ approach is best, but sometimes this can actually be counterproductive. So key is to keep communications wide open. Listen to your staff. Is this move the opportunity to create a more productive working environment? If you take on board suggestions from your team then not only will they feel more engaged and energised by the transition, but they’ll probably help you shift a few boxes too!
If your company is a manufacturing business then logistic planning to keep the wheels of industry turning is essential. Liaise with your floor manager and operators well in advance to prioritise which machines are moved first, so that production is restarted as quickly as possible once you’re in your new premises.
5. Tell people you’ve moved!
If nobody knows you’ve moved, you’re going to be twiddling your thumbs until they find out where you are again. Make sure everyone knows well in advance that you’ve relocated, especially if you’ve moved a considerable distance. Send out an e-newsletter to all your regular customers and clients, update your website, and banner the move on your landing page. Take out advertising in relevant trade press, or do a mail-shot (it’s old fashioned, but it works!).
One of the best ways to get a positive response from customers is to use the move to ‘relaunch’ your new, improved, and re-energised business. Make a big deal out of the relocation so that it’s seen as a positive. And make sure you hand the keys back and switch the lights out before you leave your old office.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.