At one point, you may have to consider packing up and moving your small business. This decision can be tempting for many reasons, from moving to a more receptive neighborhood, to real life affecting business functions. Whatever the reason, this isn’t an action to be taken lightly. Victor Mitchell, a Colorado businessman and life-long entrepreneur with thirty years of experience under his belt, provides insight into the questions that you need to answer before you start packing:
1. How Many Employees Will You Lose?
Moving your physical business may make it difficult for some employees to go to work. Some may even decide to leave the company entirely and seek their fortunes elsewhere. You need to find out how many of them you’ll potentially lose.
Ideally, you’ll want to keep any critical members on the payroll through the move. If they need slightly higher pay to compensate for increased travel costs, consider giving it to them. Replacing them will be more expensive, both in terms of hiring costs and training time.
2. What Adjustments Will You Need to Make?
A new locale often means a different clientele. They may fall into your target market, but they may have different behavior patterns, or a different culture. Not considering this and going on as if you hadn’t moved will likely result in lowered revenue. This can potentially make a move more difficult and send your company into a downward spiral.
Study the new environment. What is the general attitude in the area? Is the community more laid-back, or are they on the serious side of the line? What adjustments will you need to make in your company to appeal to your new customers?
3. How Much It Will Cost?
Moving a small business isn’t cheap, and it’s not just the literal cost of moving objects from one place to another. Taxes, for example, can trip you up if you’re not careful. Moving from one state to another often means different sales tax rates. You should also consider how your move can affect existing customers, who may not have to pay out-of-state purchase taxes.
4. Who Needs to Know?
You’re not the only one affected by the small business’s move. Employees, partners, investors, even clients – they’ll all be affected by the move. They also need to be informed of the move, but some need to be told earlier than others.
For example, your investors and partners should learn about it before you plan anything. They have a say in how the company is run, and they should have a say in whether or not it’ll move locations. Employees should be told when plans are coming together, so they can prepare themselves. This will also give them enough time to tell you whether they’re going with you or if you’ll need to hire replacements.
Don’t forget to share the reason why you’ve decided to move. You should consider opening the floor to discussion. While you have the final say, some considerations may have slipped your mind.
5. What’s It Like for Other Small Businesses There?
No two locations are exactly alike. They may share similarities, but there are often small yet fundamental differences. Despite how long it takes to move from one place to another, you may not have the time to delve into the nitty-gritty. Fortunately, you don’t have to.
Take a look at any other small businesses in the area and see how and what they’re doing. For example, are some of them supported or partnered with larger entities? Is the community supportive, or will you need to push hard to penetrate the market? Knowing what environment you’re getting into will inform future decisions. It might even determine whether or not you’ll go through with the move or if you’ll choose another destination.
There’s so much more to moving a small business than packing up and putting things in a truck. You need to examine the act from all angles and handle all consequences that will arise from it. Do so, and you will find the effort easier. Forgo that due diligence, and you might be moving towards failure rather than growth.
About Victor Mitchell:
A serial entrepreneur, Victor Mitchell has successfully founded, acquired, and/or turned around numerous diverse business ventures over the past 30 years. His ventures include interests in finance, transportation, communications, technology, building supplies, real estate development and brokerage services.
Mitchell is the founder and CEO of Lead Funding, a specialty lending organization that provides innovative private financing solutions for homebuilders and developers, reducing their red tape and speeding up loan decisions.
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