By Mark Feldman

Office relocation may be indicative of the fact that your business has been faring well and you feel the need to expand, or move into a bigger office at a better place. As great as that sounds, it is easy for small businesses to underestimate the factors involved in making the big move.

Moving an office is nothing like moving a home, which is a relatively small-scale activity and affects only a few people. The pressure is much less when moving homes because it only involves emptying a couple of rooms and informing a couple of institutions such as the bank.

Offices, on the other hand, are a totally different ball game. There may be heavy and expensive equipment to be moved, various financial institutions, partner companies, and clients to be informed, and lots of business-related information to be kept safe. If you’re not smart about the move, you can end up losing it all.

Because your business makes money when it is operational, you need to plan your move in a way that ensures the non-operational moving day(s) have minimal impact on your bottom line. You want to work on making the relocation as smooth and efficient as possible.

Here are a few tips that can help you do that.

1. Get the Location Right

Getting the location right is important because every place carries with itself a reputation/image, which it will extend to your business as well. Hence, do put some serious thought into selecting a place in accordance with the way you want to be perceived by your suppliers, clients and employees.

Consider the age of the building and the scope for further expansion, if the need arises. Factors related to whether or not it is eco-friendly, the need for repairs, its ability to accommodate your equipment and your staff, its rent (or purchase price), the taxes involved, and the operating costs should be taken into account.

Needless to say, these factors should work in the interest of your business. The objective should be to achieve a higher rate of success resulting from the change in your location.

2. Consider the Costs

Businesses, big or small, have to incur certain operating expenses to keep themselves functional. These expenses include rent, insurance payments, electricity and water bills, Internet and cable TV charges, and equipment handling costs. There are also a variety of tax payments such as sales tax, property tax, and income tax to be considered.

Look closely at these expenses and weigh your current and future outlays and their impact on your company’s finances. If these costs fit into your financial plans, then you will only benefit from the move.

3. Prepare for the Move

Once you’ve zeroed in on a suitable office, prepare yourself and your employees for the move well in advance. Set up a schedule for moving by making a list of tasks and duties to be completed before the move and set deadlines accordingly. To achieve this, you may need some of your staff to work in shifts on a temporary basis. Make sure you create a smart shift schedule that works for your employees as well as your business.

If you’re planning to pack your stuff yourself, get more people involved to reduce the burden. If you find it too overwhelming, it would be best to get in touch with professional moving companies to make the process stress-free. Make sure you get an insurance cover if you plan to rent a truck. If you’re engaging a moving service, do ask about insurance coverage options to protect your belongings.

4. Plan the Office Space

Before you move your new office, make sure you have planned how you want it to look. This may entail planning the office space in accordance with the needs of your staff, and a thorough evaluation of what the most practical seating and office arrangement will be.

Do not forget to take into account other factors such as an IT area with the office printer, scanner and photocopier in place, as well as the pantry and storage areas. It makes sense to consult your staff beforehand to ensure that all their needs have been factored in before making final decisions.

5. Identify What Should Be Left Behind

Take a good hard look at the inventory in your office and decide what furniture and equipment need to go with you and what doesn’t. If the cost of relocating them exceeds their benefits, then maybe you should consider selling them, donating them, or disposing them off in an eco-friendly way.

When you order new furniture and equipment, make sure to get them delivered directly to your new office on a suitable day to avoid the hassle of shifting them yourself.

6. Inform Your Suppliers, Customers and Key Agencies

Do make a list of all your suppliers and clients/customers, and make it a point to notify them about your relocation well in advance. Do give them the necessary details like your new address and the date of the opening up of the office to keep confusion at bay. Also, let them know of any delays that may occur due to the move and how they can get in touch with you during the transitional phase to minimize inconvenience to them.

You will also need to inform other key agencies such as your bank, insurance company, office suppliers and vendors, post office, and related governmental agencies about the shift.

7. Update Your Stationery

Do not forget to update your office stationery such as your business cards and contact information on letterheads, company envelopes, email footers, directories, invoice templates, mailing lists, and so on.

Relocating your office may be taxing, but when you look at the bigger picture, you’ll be glad you made the move. It is a sign that your business is heading in a new direction. You will do well in planning, preparing and organizing all the steps a couple of weeks prior to the big day to make sure the process is carried out flawlessly and slickly. The above tips should help steer you on the right path.