Have you contemplated shifting your business? Urbanization to the cities is a trend that has been steadily growing since the later half of the 20th century. Businesses are now shifting frequently to where the resources are found for that particular industry.
It could be a move across town, across the country or across the globe. But the ramifications of moving your business can be far-reaching. A location shift could see you lose touch with traditional customers. But it could also see you open new opportunities and begin a social shift within your organisation.
To help you decide whether you should move your business or stay put we have compiled 11 crucial questions you must ask before moving your business. We provide an insight to important considerations and what are the big factors that are likely to impact a location shift.
1. Who needs to know about the shift?
If you are a 100% online business it may not matter where you operate. However, most businesses, even if based mostly online, have a line of local suppliers, customers and employees that keep a business ticking over. It is important to consider every stakeholder in your business that will be affected by the move.
The economic consequences of shifting could be far reaching for other small businesses and people that rely on your current location. Make sure you have completed your own economic impact assessment that states the pros and cons of a business shift.
2. Are you changing too many lives by shifting?
Whilst the economic assessment of your shift is important, equally so is the social impact your business move will have on people. Will the shift change the lives of too many people for the worse? Remember no matter where you move to, your reputation will follow you.
Employee and customer livelihoods may be greatly affected by a business shift. The best way to get around this is to table any proposition early and gather feedback from relevant parties on how the shift would affect them and in turn, how it would affect your business. That way when you do make a decision, you have done it with openness and the best interests of key stakeholders in mind.
3. What will the situation be with staff?
If you move the location of your business it is most probable that you will lose some of your staff as well. The cost of moving for employees with families and a settled lifestyle may be too much to ask.
You must have an honest assessment of whether the employees are readily replaceable. Check out this assessment of the real costs of losing an employee.
4. If employees are replaced is their company know-how expendable?
Another good idea will be to list the company knowledge and intellectual property your current employee holds. Will their company knowledge take time to re-establish? There are also costs associated with the loss of employee knowledge. If the co-ordination of your business is unlikely to be disrupted by a change in staff, it may be an easy move.
However, if certain employees have detailed and intricate knowledge of your business that cannot easily be duplicated, it may pay to hold on to those people and stay put.
5. What is the start up space like where you are moving?
If the town you are moving to is entrepreneurial, it is supporting economic growth and business opportunities. Don’t let the prospect of stiff competition turn you away. It can be great for business to place yourself around like-minded organisations.
Conversely, you must be prepared when you make the move. Implement a strategy that appeals to new customers and think about how you are going to shift into the market. This is especially important if the market players in your new location are settled.
6. What are the associated expenses with the move?
The moving costs are an obvious expense. However, there are also other hidden costs that you must factor in when you move your business. For example, you must take into consideration taxation costs, especially if you are changing to a place with different taxation laws.
Also have you considered how the new commercial leasing arrangement will look? Make sure you have your legal team and your accountants to look over it to make sure there are no hidden tax charges and unforeseen restrictions.
7. How will the cultural change affect your business?
With a new location comes a whole new set of local customs, norms and culture. It can take some adjusting to get used to. It is important to adapt to social changes quickly from a business perspective. Remember, your first impression to your new customers and potential employees becomes extremely important.
Have a strategy that takes into account the culture change and difference in customer behaviour. If you understand the market you are moving into, it will make the transition run smoothly. Also, make sure you understand the nuances in employee behaviour in your new location. Work customs and norms differ greatly across the globe and must be respected at your new location for an easier transition.
8. Will your new potential customers help your business improve?
Before you make the move ask yourself will your new potential customers improve your business financially and from a growth perspective?
Create a list of potential customers and see how they match up against your current customers. Is the grass really greener on the other side? If not maybe its time to concentrate on watering your own patch before setting your sights further afield.
9. What is the talent pool like in your new location?
One of the biggest reasons for shifting your business is to access talent for recruitment that can take your business to another level. If there is talent already drawn to the city that you are looking to move to, it can make the decision that much easier.
This is the main reason why so many tech companies have settled in to Silicon Valley. They want the best resources, so they go to where they can find the best people.
10. Is the new location accessible?
Remember, if you are changing locations it does not mean you have to lose current customers. It makes sense to ensure that your new location is still accessible for existing customers.
They are the clients that have got your business into the position it is in, where you can consider a move, so make sure you don’t turn your back on those who matter most.
11. Are you truly ready to make the move?
As a business leader the decision ultimately rests on your shoulders. Does the decision feel right to move? Create a list of pros and cons of shifting locale for your business. There are likely to be a lot of mixed emotions and anxiousness about leaving familiar territory.
Trust your instinct and take advice from those around you that you trust. Together, you will get a good feel of whether shifting your business now is the right call.
Have you shifted your business before? What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs looking to shift their business across town, across the country or across the globe? Join the discussion below.