The decision to relocate your business is not something you come up with over lunch one afternoon. It's an idea that needs to be carefully researched and planned. Even then, there can be no way of knowing the exact result.
In the process of preparing for your business move, there will be several questions you'll have to answer to determine if the location you're considering is appropriate to move your business.
1. Is the location convenient for my business?
Convenience is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding to move your business, not just for you but for your employees as well. When you find a potential location, ask yourself if it is close to where you currently live or if you'll have to move. If you do have to move, chances are some of your employees will as well.
Also, think about how you and your employees will access the new location -- will the commute to the office be a hassle? Is there ample public transportation located nearby to aid in the commute?
2. Is the facility large enough for my business and will it allow for continued growth?
While your business may not be a multinational corporation just yet, your ultimate goal is to continue to grow over time. With expansion comes more employees and with more employees comes the need for more office space. Is this location large enough for your business if it experiences growth in the future? Will you be able to hire more employees and not have to relocate again because your facility can't accommodate them?
3. Is the facility and location affordable and does it fit into my business's budget?
Commercial real estate varies by region and office rent in lower Manhattan will be significantly more expensive than a suburb on the outskirts of a big city. Consider the rent price for any potential facility and work with your company's budget to determine if the expense will be eventually covered by your business's profit margin.
4. Is the location accessible for my primary customer base and/or my suppliers?
Every business has its core customer base to which it appeals, and yours is no exception. When relocating, move to a place where your primary customer base will have access to you, and you will have access to your main suppliers and vendors.
For example, if you run a business that specializes in selling fishing gear and boating equipment, make sure you're located fairly close to a body of water to maximize your customer base.
5. What kind of competition is located nearby and will my business be able to compete with them?
A little competition is always healthy for any business, but too much can be detrimental. Before making your decision, weigh the pros and cons of business relocation. Scout any potential location and check out the competition. Is the competition already firmly rooted in the area with an established customer base that will be difficult to tap into? If so, you may want to consider other locations.
6. Is the facility located in a safe part of town?
Customers won't patronize your business if it's not safe, and your employees won't feel comfortable coming to work if your office is located in a dangerous neighborhood. Scouting the area in person is important. You won't get a true feel for the location from reading about it online. The only way you'll be able to tell is by actually visiting yourself.
7. Does the location match my brand and the image that I am trying to maintain?
Believe it or not, where your business is located actually has an impact on how your brand is perceived by the general public. Make sure that the location you choose is consistent with your company's brand and the image that you are trying to maintain.
8. Will I be able to find qualified employees?
Do the proper research beforehand to figure out if the location you are scouting has a sufficient amount of qualified employees in your industry. If you are relocating your business far enough away that you'll have to hire new employees, you'll need potential workers available with the proper skills necessary.
9. Does this location benefit from seasonal fluctuations in population and commerce, or can I expect a steady flow of business year-round?
Some towns and cities, especially near the coasts, have a large influx of seasonal visitors causing the population to swell for months at a time. When tourists patronize the area's businesses, they experience a spike in sales each year. This influx can be both good and bad for your business -- it will provide you with an increase in profit and growth during a certain time period each year which will ultimately drop once the busy season is over.
10. Do the nearby businesses complement my business?
Wherever you choose to open up shop, there are likely to be other businesses located nearby. Will these businesses complement or compete with you to hinder your business? Will these other businesses drive customers to yours? Are they similar enough to yours where you will share an overlapping customer base, but not too close where you will be direct competitors?