It’s a job you (and your friends) hate. Moving is backbreaking work that disrupts your everyday life. You never knew how much you owned before you had to pack it, lift it, move it, unload it, and unpack it in a new place.
As stressful as moving your household can be, relocating your company is even worse. With it comes the potential for disruptions and the loss of customers.
So the Intuit Small Business Blog asked small-business owners across the nation how they moved their operations with minimal impact. Here’s their advice.
Tell Your Customers
Even if you run a virtual business, people should know that you’re changing locations. A move is not only a sign of growth, but also an excuse to contact previous customers.
“I used a newsletter and a video to let people know I was on the move, where I was going, and when I would be operational again,” says Dana Goldstein, president of Digital Shoebox. “Once the studio was up and running, I used a follow-up newsletter to inform all my clients. I found that clear communication was very helpful in reducing disruptions.”
Donna Lubrano, a marketing professor at Fisher College, adds: “Use Facebook to post pictures of your move as it happens. Keep your customer engaged in the process and let them share in the excitement of the change.”
Change Your Online Profiles
Change your official contact information on your website and create a page that prominently announces the move. Edit your business listing on Google and update all social media accounts.
Don’t forget about your email. Website design firm 702web recommends putting your new address in your email signature and highlighting it, so customers aren’t confused.
Set Up Communications Early
Michael Bremmer, CEO of Telecomquotes.com, offers this advice regarding your communications infrastructure:
- Don’t assume that the same services you have now will be available at your new location; before signing a new lease, make sure that a local provider can accommodate your needs. Order your new service 60 days in advance.
- Set up a Google Voice account in case the new service doesn’t initially work as planned.
- Choose a provider that can set up call-forwarding.
- Companies with 20 or more employees should hire a professional services firm to handle the telecom move.
Move Over the Weekend
Nobody wants to move after hours, but minimal disruption of operations is the best way to keep your existing customers. According to Christina Zila, director of communications for Textbroker International, “We’ve always tried to move either over the weekend or at the end of the workday to reduce friction.”
If a weekend is impossible, choose an off-peak day or a holiday instead.
Don’t ‘Cheap Out’
If you plan to save money by doing everything yourself, the price you pay might be much higher than hiring a mover if, say, equipment breaks or the job takes longer than you anticipated.
“Being a small- or medium-sized business, it’s easy to underestimate the complexity of relocating an office,” notes Chelsea Bakewell of Red Door Interactive. “The logistics and execution required for a successful move are compounded with the number of employees and how many years you have been located in your current space.”
Even after careful planning, a business move is likely to be more complex than you think. Hire professionals if your relocation needs to take place rapidly.