Business owners relocate their businesses for different reasons, ranging from more customer traffic and better growth opportunities to the simple need for more space. However, relocating a company can also be time-consuming and disruptive, with risks to employee and customer relationships. A relocation plan must include mechanisms for evaluating the risks and benefits of the move, as well as a detailed checklist of relocation tasks.
1. Set out the reasons for considering relocation in your plan. Your company might have to move because a lease has run out, or because you have outgrown your present location. Be clear about the positive reasons for relocation. You might want to locate your business in an area closer to important customers or business partners. If you are planning to expand, you will be looking for more space. Or you might not be able to recruit skilled or specialized workers in your present location. By clarifying your reasons for relocation, you can focus your plan on the right solutions.
2. Assess and compare the potential risks and benefits of relocation. Show how you will maximize benefits such as an improved working environment, better access to suppliers or skilled labor, and room for expansion. Document potential risks such as disruption to production leading to delivery problems, loss of key employees who do not want to relocate, and escalating or unforeseen relocation costs. Incorporate action plans to minimize risk in the overall relocation plan.
3. Include detailed expenses in the plan. Calculate all the direct and indirect costs of relocation to establish a budget for the move. Include the estimated costs of renting or buying suitable properties in your target location. Obtain estimates for transporting furniture and equipment to the new location. Make provisions in your budget for repairs, refurbishment or redecoration of the new premises. Include the fees of professional advisers such as lawyers and property agents.
4. List areas you have identified as suitable for relocating your business. Compare the facilities, costs and benefits of the location against the criteria set out in your reasons to move. Prepare a short list of properties in the region by searching property databases on the Internet, or by asking a property agent to source details. If you are moving into a region that is trying to attract investment through a public-private partnership, contact any government agencies in the region for assistance in finding suitable properties.
5. Allocate responsibility for managing the relocation. Select a leader to take overall project management responsibility and appoint representatives in each department to liaise with the leader. Prepare checklists of responsibilities for each department so everyone is aware of key dates and tasks. Develop a project plan for maintaining essential production and delivery during the relocation. This way, you can continue to provide customers with the right level of service with minimal disruption.
6. Incorporate a plan for internal and external communications so that employees, customers and suppliers are aware of the implications of the move. Explain the reasons and potential benefits of the move to all employees, encouraging them to cooperate in ensuring a smooth transition. Set out an employee policy for relocation. Provide details of relocation expenses available to employees. Explain the alternative arrangements for employees who do not want to relocate. Provide employees with sources of information on essential location information such as house prices, schools and colleges, medical facilities, local stores and leisure facilities. Inform customers of the relocation dates and arrangements for delivery during the transition period. Set out the potential benefits of the move in terms of improved customer service. Provide customers and suppliers with essential location, information including address, telephone and other contact details.
7. Prepare a comprehensive checklist of essential activities for the relocation. Include transport arrangements for furniture and equipment. Contact utility companies to arrange disconnection and installation of services in existing and new premises. Prepare a schedule for the relocation with key dates and responsibilities. Include a list of important contacts for the relocation period. Prepare a contingency plan for any aspects of the move that could impact customers.