Organizing a Business Move
Are you preparing for a commercial move? If so, I’m sure you know that planning and preparation are aspects that must not be left to chance. Minimizing business disruption is critical during relocation. A local insurance agency lost my business several years ago when I never received replies from two phone calls where I was looking to purchase multiple policies. Later I discovered they were in the process of moving their offices.
At the time I looked at it from the lens of, “If they don’t return calls before I am a captive of the agency, how bad will it be when I am stuck with them and have an emergency I need a response to?” Even in retrospect, knowing they were moving and didn’t make appropriate arrangements to handle simple phone messages, have kept me from ever considering them again. How many other calls went unreturned? How much did this move actually cost them?
● Set a realistic date for your move. If your business is cyclical, and you can, pick the slowest time of year to make your move. You will also want to make sure that you leave enough time to have new space will be prepared for your organization’s arrival.
● Create teams who will be responsible for different move aspects. Who are your most organized employees? Make sure at least one of them is on each team. Just because someone is competent in a particular function, doesn’t mean that they are a good project manager. Try to play to all of your people’s strengths when building your move teams.
● Search for movers who will meet your needs and who have experience and references from business similar to yours. If you have specialized equipment, you want to make sure that your movers are properly trained and experienced to transport it. Also, keep in mind that some of the best movers are booked months in advance and when you contact potential companies, you should have a list of your needs and your questions to make your screening process more effective.
● Insurance for moves is critical. Not only do you want to check the insurance your moving company carries, you want to make sure that you have appropriate coverage in place to cover any equipment or personnel accidents that the mover’s insurance won’t cover.
● Contact utility providers far in advance. You need to make advanced arrangements with all of your utility providers to make sure there is no disruption or gaps in service when you make your move. Don’t assume that the timeline for one provider is even close to what it is for another. This is a step where the importance can’t be overly stated. You need to avoid business interruptions—and not having, power, phones, Internet service, water or heat could be show-stoppers. After the initial contact with these companies, keep following up to make sure tasks are still on schedule.
● Inform your clients and partners about your new location and any potential disruption that could occur. Give each of them an emergency contact number to use in case anything falls through the cracks. This will allow the item to be caught before it damages a relationship. And don’t forget to notify your banks, the post office, UPS, FED-X and others who you interact with.
● Purchase packing supplies—Very often your mover can help you determine what you will need and either provide the materials or suggest where you can get what you need.
● Declutter and pack—this is a business move—not an episode of Tidying up with Marie Kondo. You don’t need to “Find Joy,” in any item. You need to keep what is necessary to operate your business with the most efficiency in the future. If you are in an industry with records retention requirements, and you don’t need to have immediate access to those records, consider putting them in remote storage instead of paying a premium price to store them in your new location. Letting employees pack their own area often makes getting back to normal operations much easier and thoughtful packing and detailed labeling of what is in the box and where the box should go in your new location could save you weeks of aggravation.
● Making the move—If weekends are slow in your business, consider making the physical move at that time. If weekends are your busy time, target a slower day or two during the week.
● Unpacking and settling in—If thing were labeled properly and the new space planned thoughtfully, this should be the easiest part of the move.
● Celebrate a successful move—If you want a chance to make stronger connections with existing business partners or a chance to meet your new neighbors—consider hosting an open house in your new space. Your move is also a great reason to issue a press release to garner publicity for your business.
Note: The writer makes no endorsement of any particular vendors.
Copyright 2019, Cheryl Tully Stoll