For any business who has navigated the challenges of moving into new office, retail or industrial space, you likely learned some valuable lessons along the way of things you would choose to do differently if you had to do it again. A commercial business relocation has a major impact on company culture, customer service and your bottom line. For this reason, it’s critical to be strategic about how you approach your move to set yourself up for a smooth and seamless transition.
To provide valuable insight on the topic of commercial business relocation, Omni Realty interviewed Dick Michaelian. Dick is a principal of Relocation Consulting & Management, Inc (RC&M) located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Having been in the moving and storage business for over 36 years, with 26 of those with RC&M, Dick has helped local, state and federal governments, schools, colleges, healthcare, courthouses, museums and corporate businesses successful relocate to new facilities.
We asked Dick to answer five important questions regarding commercial business relocation covering everything from the biggest challenges to planning for a successful move. Take a look at Dick’s insight and advice that can be applied to any business or organization considering a relocation.
Omni: What are the biggest factors that cause businesses to relocate?
Dick Michaelian: The number one factor is change. While that sounds quite simple, it can be very difficult for an organization to change. Growing, shrinking, change of ownership or leadership are all examples of change. Other factors include the expiration of a lease or sale of a building as well as a desire to change a location because of customers or taxing entities.
Omni: For businesses considering a relocation, what are the most important details they should think through?
Dick Michaelian: A business should begin with the end in mind. How do you want everything to look and operate when the move is completed? From there, you should work back to where you are now and then determine how much time, money and effort will be required to get to where you want to be. Businesses often under estimate the amount of resources required for a good, effective relocation.
Another consideration is how to maintain your level of productivity during the transition. The last thing that should ever happen during a move is for a customer to be told “we can’t be of service to you because of our move.” The entire relocation should be virtually invisible to customers!
Finally, a business should strongly consider what and how it wants to change as a result of the relocation. Change will happen whether it is desired and planned or spontaneous and intrusive.
Omni: How early should businesses begin to plan for their relocation?
Dick Michaelian: The planning should begin as soon as the decision is made that the business is going to move. I’m working with a client now whose move is planned for late 2020 and they want to get a clear picture of what is required for their budget. Planning can never begin too early. The actual implementation of the plan usually begins about four to six months prior to the relocation.
Omni: Describe your recommended planning process for corporate relocation.
Dick Michaelian: The planning process begins with leadership setting the path and goal. From there, it’s getting everyone to work together using the same data. Effective communication is critical. A ‘team’ approach works best, utilizing resources from different facets that will be playing a part in the move – large or small: IT, procurement, facilities, operations, administration and leadership. It’s essential to have a “big picture” perspective of the project while assigning expectations and due-dates to the players.
Once the plan is agreed upon and set, any changes should be well considered. You never want to change a plan in the middle of the move. That rarely proves successful in the end, as often the goal changes as well.
Omni: In your experience, what factors most commonly impact the success of a business’s relocation?
Dick Michaelian: The single most important factor are people moving. The reliability of the planning team members and their dedication to the success of the project is critical. No one person can be responsible for a fantastic move – it’s a team effort. However, one person can really make it hard for everybody else if they don’t want to move or change. Management has to set the tone. Getting the different elements to buy into the change that needs to occur is difficult; but, with the right vision and passion, good leaders will help their organizations through the necessary transition. I always enjoy observing this process with successful businesses.
Moving can be very difficult. Good leaders who recognize that they are in the “people business” have the most impact on the success of a relocation.
Another factor is timing. You never want to move until the new space is ready. And yet, most relocations occur without a new, completed space. Construction delays, last minute changes and contractors not performing are the major causes of this situation.
You can create a great new working environment for your business; but, if the move goes poorly, that’s what everyone will remember. Don’t underestimate the vital importance of a well-planned, smoothly executed relocation from beginning to end!
Is your business considering a relocation to new retail, office or industrial space? What piece of advice did you find most helpful? Join in the conversation, or ask a question by leaving a comment below!