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Updated: Nov 26, 2018
Business relocation is a big decision, but the right move can help you grow your operations and improve employee satisfaction.
To determine whether a move is the best choice for your business long-term, assess your current situation.
Here are some signs it may be time to relocate your business:
If your current setup is creating or contributing to employee dissatisfaction, you may need to consider a new location. “A cramped office space, an undesirable location due to long commute times, or lack of nearby amenities available can adversely affect employee morale and productivity,” said John Heimbigner, a former commercial real estate broker and the current regional director of OfficeSpace.com.
If you’re having trouble finding the right people for open positions, it could come down to your business’ location. There might be a shortage of qualified candidates in your area, for example, or potential employees may find your business’ location or physical space undesirable, Heimbigner said, which could then “limit opportunities for attracting new talent.”
Of course, it’s normal to encounter challenges when hiring, but if finding great candidates is becoming increasingly tedious and stressful, it may be time to relocate so you can expand the pool of potential employees. “Ultimately, finding a location that is going to attract and retain the right people is going to help your bottom line,” said Heimbigner.
Whether you pay extremely high rent or simply operate your business where the cost of living is higher, costs related to your location can limit your business’ cash flow and eat into profits. Finding a cheaper spot can help you lower overall business costs, Heimbigner said.
Review your finances to determine whether or not your business could benefit from scaling back. If you’re struggling to make regular payments or increase cash flow, spending less on rent could help lower the financial stress for you and your team and allow you to focus on growing your business.
If your business is struggling to bring in the right customers, your location could be to blame. Different features or amenities for your business, like a larger storefront or ground floor entrance, could make the difference between a steady stream of customers and only a few people trickling in.
“If fostering face-to-face relationships with clients or foot traffic is an important part of your business,” Heimbigner said, “it’s important to find a location that is going to help you reach the right clientele and increase cash flow.”
This might involve scouting the ideal space that already has everything you need, or moving to a place that allows you to remodel.
If you’re cramming desks together to make room for new hires, or if you’re unable to maintain daily operations in your current space, you may need a bigger building. “Generally, a typical office should accommodate about 150 to 300 square feet of space per employee,” said Heimbigner.
Beyond sufficient room for employees to work and thrive, you might also need additional space to store inventory and equipment, process shipments, or better accommodate customers or clients.
Your location could be limiting your ability to connect with certain customers or clients. You may need to relocate to reach specific markets, Heimbigner said, “whether you’ve launched your services in a new market or just want to be closer to your existing clientele.”
If you have a dog grooming business, for example, but operate out of a big city where competition is stiff, then moving to a residential area may land you more customers. On the other hand, if you have a graphic design business and recently started working with startups, it may behoove you to relocate from the suburbs to a city that caters to the tech industry.
Every business owner has a dream location in mind, whether it’s a retail space on the corner of the prettiest street or a modern office building in a bustling downtown center. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new space, it’s always possible that your dream location — or a very close second — might open up.
If that happens, it’s crucial to consider your long-term business goals before jumping on the opportunity. “It ultimately comes down to whether the price is right,” said Heimbigner. He said you need to ask yourself several key questions: “Will we be able to get out of our current lease? If not, can we afford paying rent for two places during the duration of our current lease? Will this new location help us grow financially?”
If you answer no to any of the questions, Heimbigner said it’s best to reevaluate and exercise caution. If, on the other hand, you answer yes to every question — meaning you’re in a good position to take a financial risk — it may be worth making the move.
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.