Depending on why you are relocating, it is important to do your research into an area before making a decision. This involves finding out about any competition, assessing opportunities for growing your customer base or ensuring it is easy for customers to visit and, if possible, making sure the area complements your business’ image.
Draw up a list of criteria you would like the new premises to meet, considering the following:
· Do we need to be in close proximity to other businesses?
· Are there competitors in the immediate area that might affect our trade?
· Do we need bespoke space (ie factory facilities)?
· How do property prices vary in different areas?
· Will we need to expand in future?
· What security requirements do we have?
· Do we need to be near a main road or train station?
· How important is car parking?
If you are moving to a new area, contact your local council or look on their web site for demographic information such as the number of major employers and the rate of unemployment.
If it is an area you are familiar with but you are moving to a different street, talk to other local businesses based there and ask them how they find access, passing trade, noise etc. You might think you know a place well but simply passing through or shopping somewhere is very different to running a business from the same location.
Looking after employees
It is also very important to choose a new location that won’t upset existing staff and customers and that will not pose any future recruitment problems. Check that you won’t be in breach of employee contracts by moving, and consider individual cases of hardship or additional expense that may result from the move.
You may also be required to offer a redundancy package in certain situations. By law, the closure of a place of work is a redundancy situation, but if the business is moving next door, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect staff to move along with it. If a business moves hundreds of miles away, however, a redundancy payment will almost certainly be legally required. Check what employee contracts say about mobility and place of work beforehand.
Once you think you have identified a location that meets all the above criteria, some useful points to consider to ensure current and future employees are happy are: · Is there a good road network?
· Are public transport links adequate and is it safe for staff walking alone?
· What are the shopping and sports facilities like?
· Where can staff get something to eat at lunch time and can they get fresh air easily?
· Is it a desirable place to work?
With regard to customers and suppliers, ensure you communicate with them early on, telling key contacts face to face and explaining your reasons and keeping them informed. Relocation can be a good marketing opportunity, so ensure any communication you send out reinforces your business’ selling points and presents the relocation as a positive move.