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Your firm is growing, and it's time to move. Relocating your business can be stressful, but you can take steps to reduce the stress on you and your staff.

The great news is that your company is growing so much that you are pushing up against size and space limitations. The not so good news is that it's time to move your business to a new location.

Relocating your business can be just as stressful as moving your personal household. However, there are steps that you can take to reduce the stress of moving on both yourself and your employees, while also to ensuring that the transition is smooth for customers and clients.

Three Questions to Ask Before the Move

According to Inc., before making the move, there are three questions that you should ask.

  1. Will your new location be in an area where you can retain talent and customers? For example, many employees in urban areas like access to restaurants, gyms and public transportation. Make sure that your new location has similar characteristics or other benefits to make up for the lack. Customer retention is just as important as employee retention—make sure that customers needs are also taken into consideration.
  2. Will your location be suitable long-term? While some properties may have a price that seems too good to pass up, you should think beyond the immediate allure of a good deal. Since you intend to stay in your new location for a while, you want to ensure that you have room to expand. In addition, you want to be in a community that recognizes and appreciates your business. Are you part of an expanding business base or is it shrinking? Your employees should feel like they're a part of a growing community.
  3. Does the new location have a "sense of place"? The new location should match your business' value and mission. For example, if you have a marketing firm and you relocate your office to an artsy area of town, you will likely have a sense of place. However, if your business provides B2B IT services, a location near the nightclub district probably won't be a good a match.

Plan Well in Advance

What equipment, documents, devices, and/or products will you need to have readily available during the transition? Perhaps there are items — such as perishables, plants, and electronics — that need special care to prevent loss. You may want to transport these items yourself or use a courier service.

Will you be able to have everything moved after hours or over the weekend? If not, consider simultaneously moving those sections or areas that need to work together and break your move into two or three weekends. If this isn't the best option, perhaps your staff can work remotely or utilize a satellite office so that the move can be completed in a week during work hours.

Review your old and new lease with your commercial real estate agent or attorney. Is there anything that you must do to prepare the space for your firm or for the tenant that follows you? If so, factor these into your timeline and budget. Do you have certain obligations such as events, conferences or on-site meetings? Make sure you schedule around these.

Budget Properly

In order to ensure that your move has the lowest financial impact possible, you need to adequately plan for it. The costs will involve more than the actual packing and moving. If the moving company does not include insurance, that will be an additional fee. Although moving companies that specialize in corporate moves can seem more expensive — given their expertise and guarantees — they could end up being the most hassle-free option available. Many also often provide checklists prior to the move to assist with your planning. You'll also want to remember to plan for unexpected costs or overages on estimated expenses, as you never know what might come up during the transition.

If you will be doing an interior build-out or upgrade at your new office, you also may need permits. This can involve servicing the HVAC system or tearing down and setting up displays. If you are doing anything other than moving into your business location as is, remember that construction-related services often take longer than anticipated. Therefore, for a smooth transition, consider paying rent at the old and new location simultaneously for one or more months. All of these "relocation expenses" need to be factored into your budget.

You should also consider whether or not your moving budget accounts for any downtime during the move. How will it impact your business? You may face losing clientele and needing to rebuild in your new location.

Communicating with Your Staff and Customers

To get your staff engaged and committed to the move, they need to know what is happening in advance. As soon as you seriously consider moving, tell your staff. Let them know why you are moving and where you want to move. Talk to them about how far the new offices are from your current location and tips on how to best get there. Try and come prepared with some ideas about what the area has to offer. If the new location will increase commuting times for a majority of your staff, work with them to come up with solutions to help make the change to their commute as easy as possible.

Likewise, solicit your staff's support in the planning. Leverage your financial personnel to determine the costs and create the budget. Get your employees excited by asking what they would like to see in the new space and then incorporate their suggestions, where feasible, into your strategy. Your staff can also help by communicating with clients and having fliers readily available with more information about the move.

Additionally, consider using social media as another way to inform your clients about the move. Make sure that they're aware of any and all changes that would affect them directly.

When relocating your business, taking the time to plan, budget and communicate with your employees will help you execute a move that is minimally disruptive and (relatively) stress-free.

This material is presented for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual tax or financial advice. KeyBank does not provide legal advice.

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