Making Your Move

Should You Stay Or Should You Go?

After you decide you want to move your company, relocation begins when you start considering all the details of how your business will be affected when you move. Entrepreneurs decide to move their businesses for a variety of reasons, but whatever the motivation, the overriding goal should be to improve your competitive position. For Speed Sport News, it was the desire to escape the unpredictable winter weather of the Northeast combined with a need to be closer to the hub of auto racing. When the newspaper was founded in 1934 in East Paterson, New Jersey, northern New Jersey was home to a thriving auto-racing community, and races were held throughout the Northeast. The sport has since migrated to the Midwest and the South, so the decision to uproot Speed Sport News seemed like common sense to Economaki.

For Lake Forest, California, industrial contractor ARB Inc., the relocation rationale was two-pronged: a desire to build the company's presence in the booming Orange County construction trade and a need to shed a somewhat awkward, old space in Paramount, California. ARB's new headquarters, designed to its specifications, has a more efficient floor plan and allows space for managed growth.

Planning for a relocation is a good time to assess the quality of your staff to make sure the right employees are making the move. Relocation can cost up to $80,000 per family, according to Mumma, so it would be unfair to move a person who is not performing and whom you're likely to let go at some point anyway.

Keep in mind that if you decide to let some employees go before you move, you may need to quickly replace those employees once the relocation is complete, if not before. Whether you put ads in local newspapers or contact staffing companies in your new town, plan ahead so you won't suffer a productivity plunge once you're up and running at your new location.

Months before moving day, consider how the move will affect your customer base. If you're only moving to a town 10 miles away, for example, are you counting on your existing customers making the trek to your new location? Or, if you have a business that relies on convenience-seeking customers, do you have a marketing plan in place for recruiting a new crop of clients?

If you're moving across the country or to another state, do you have contacts in your new location? Before you get the moving process underway, it's essential to work out all the operations details, from who your new suppliers will be and whether you'll need to hire additional employees once you arrive to ordering new letterhead and business cards.

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This article was originally published in the April 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Making Your Move.

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