Most businesses will have the opportunity & challenge of moving locations at some point. There are exciting times and stressful times along the entire moving process. With the right planning, it’s possible to minimize the stressful moments & make the moving process a predominantly exciting time for you and your team.  Here are 4 things that I learned in the process of moving into our own space back in December of 2018.  

CONSIDER THE TRADE-OFFs

We wouldn’t be much of a sign business if we didn’t think, “visibility matters.” Our previous location faced Atlanta Hwy, one of the most traveled highways in the city with traffic counts of 36,000+ cars per day.  You can find a link to GDOT information on traffic counts HERE.  Our new location might be lucky to get 100 cars in a day, so we certainly had to consider the trade-offs of losing that much visibility.  We considered many different factors in the decision, including our budget, the age of our business, the other real estate options available, and the ability to expand in our new space.  All things considered, our new space is larger, tailored to our needs, affordable, and it offers the ability to expand as our business grows.  When factored with our relationships & ties to the Athens community, we thought these factors outweighed the loss of visibility that we’d experience.

get help planning your new space

We moved into an existing building, so our major task was designing and building an interior space that fit the function & flow of our business.  Naturally, we needed to enlist the help of a general contractor & architect for the build-out, but our interior designer was also an immensely effective partner while we considered the layout of our new space.  Our interior designer was extremely helpful envisioning the final space & communicating this vision to the contractor.  Our team had a deeply rooted knowledge of how projects would flow through our shop, from raw materials to finished products, but details like carpet selections (patterned carpet helps hide tracks from installers’ dirty shoes) weren’t on our radar.  There are many decisions that go into a build-out, so be sure to pick partners who are familiar with your business to guide you to the best choices.  If you aren’t familiar with Kristin Butler, owner of Kristin Butler Design, then treat yourself to checking out her website.

construction takes time

There likely will be delays in the construction of a commercial project.  There are so many variables in a construction project, from receiving construction inventory to scheduling subcontractors, that it’s a daunting task for a general contractor to maintain a tight schedule.  Consider this while negotiating with a general contractor.  What are the effects of a delayed completion date?  Addressing the impact of construction delays on the front-end with a general contractor can reduce the damage, or minimize delays themselves, on the back-end.  If a build-out experiences delays, then a move-out date would also need to be flexible.  Plan for this by communicating with your current Landlord or bank so that it doesn’t cause any dramatic gap in business operations.

plan for some business interruptions

The more flexible you & your team can be, the better.  For our small business, there were hundreds of hours wrapped up into moving into our new building & out of our old place.  Our leadership was very organized with their plan to minimize business interruptions, orchestrating less than 3 hours of internet down-time between moving our sales office out of the old space & into the new.  Nevertheless, there was a disruption in their routine, as well as an interruption in production workflow.  These interruptions can not only impact sales & productivity, but they can also create additional stress on a hard working team.  Negate this stress by planning & communicating the details of the move.  We’ve moved our business twice in our 11+ years, and the biggest difference this time around was communication with our team.  Each person was assigned responsibilities, and each knew the timeline & tasks necessary to complete his/her portion of the move.

We hope our space is an engaging environment for our entire team & our customers who visit us.  We have worked hard over the years to connect with the Athens community, and we view this move as our effort to truly plant roots in this town.  The next time you’re in the area, come by & we’ll show you around!