Congratulations on your company’s success! It is always good news when a business is successful enough to warrant an expansion. And wouldn’t it be great if that expansion could go as smoothly as the decision to expand itself? We’re sure everybody reading this probably shouted “Yes!” as an answer to that question. Here’s some good news: expanding and moving your company can be a smooth process. It just takes a lot of planning, coordination, and cooperation to achieve that smoothness. Here are some tips to help you reach this goal.
Hire Professional Movers
No, seriously. Sure, you’re a scrappy startup, but don’t ask your employees to move furniture. Having them pack up their own desks is fine, but don’t rent a Uhaul and treat this like moving from one apartment to another. Hiring professionals will increase your network and decreases the stress of moving day exponentially.
And, for goodness sake, if your business deals with sensitive materials, hire professionals who specialize in moving those specific materials. For example, if you’re a startup medical research facility, don’t assume that the movers who carry your desks, tables, and chairs are going to know how to handle your expensive lab equipment. Hire a company that specializes in lab moving. They’ll know how to handle sensitive equipment, and can offer refrigeration for biological samples.
Organization is Key
Of course, before you hire movers or have your staff start packing up their current desks, even before you choose a new site for your company, you will need to get very organized. Make a list of every single thing that you will need to take care of to accomplish this move. Don’t worry about priorities or timelines right now, just brainstorm. Write down everything you can think of, no matter how big or small.
Once you have that master brainstorming list, start organizing it into individual smaller lists. For example, group everything related to searching for a new space together in one list. Group the items you’ll need to pack and transport into another list. You get the idea. Then organize those lists in order of priority and timeline. For example, you can’t pack up the office supplies or hire movers until you have a new site. You won’t have a new site until you find a realtor to help you scout new locations. You’ll see that your lists end up almost arranging themselves. Once they’re organized, you can start tackling them one item at a time.
“Go big or go home” is not the approach you need to take with this expansion. Resist the urge to expand beyond your current needs. For example, if you only need a small suite of offices, don’t lease an entire floor in an office building and assume that eventually you will fill it up. Don’t hire a gaggle of new employees who won’t have enough to keep them busy. Hire slowly and remember to promote from within. Upgrade your equipment, sure, but you don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on every workstation. Put some thought into your new space’s aesthetics, sure, but you probably don’t need to hire a professional designer just yet.
Going slowly and expanding only as you need to helps you keep up with the day-to-day operations of your company while also helping it grow. It is also better for your finances. Remember, business is a world of peaks and valleys. Don’t spend everything you earn from a peak; you won’t be able to survive the valley!
Finally, going slowly helps you improve your reputation. Someday you might want to take out a business loan or look for investment capital. Having a history of playing it safe with your money will help you look responsible and like a solid choice for investment and financial assistance.
Move in Shifts
When it comes to the actual day, you will need to manage several teams of professionals. You’ll need to manage office movers, specialized equipment movers, employees, cleaning crews, tech crews, etc. Sit down with a leader from each of these teams to work out exactly what they will need to have done for their portion of the move to work properly. Then line them up in order of what they need. For example, your tech team may need all of the furniture out of the space so they can deal with cables easily. Your lab movers might need to move at a specific time of day. Get used to the idea that the move itself might take a few days as each team completes its tasks.
Expanding your business is exciting! Moving your business to a new location is stressful! Thankfully, if you keep everything and everybody organized, the move should go smoothly.