Company or corporate relocation is when organizations transfer some or all of their employees to a new location. The new location could be a few minutes’ walk away or a day’s worth of air travel, depending on the growth strategy of your startup.
Obviously, the scale of the relocation will impact the decisions you make from the micro to the macro level. However, even the “simplest” of moves will require careful planning as you do not want to incur any unnecessary expenses that will jeopardize your business and relationships with stakeholders, customers, and staff.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 3 things you should consider before you relocate your business.
While cost is the first thing that comes to any business owner’s mind, you really need to be aware and prepared for any hidden or secondary costs. Sometimes, this isn’t in the form of dollar bills, but in employee motivation and productivity.
Prior to relocating, teams spend months planning the move, from designing the new space to unpacking all the furniture. Employees take this to their personal lives when they come home every night searching for new schools, houses, and jobs for their spouses as they face the reality of moving. Obviously, stress levels will skyrocket and productivity will take a hit.
An area that employees struggle with is house hunting. So much so that many organizations are helping employees move house by outsourcing this to relocation professionals that know the ins-and-outs of the industry.
Business traffic and transportation
Finding an affordable office space to rent is one thing, but making sure there’s good business there is another. Your startup may not rely on foot traffic for revenue, so this shouldn’t be a big hindrance. However, if you depend on face-to-face communication with clients and customers, you need to do extensive research.
You can do this by talking to established businesses in the area or go there for yourself to see if that area is thriving and has good connectivity to the main streets.
Transportation is a big factor in shaping one’s quality of life. If you’re moving from one big city to another, this shouldn’t be such a big deal. But if you’ve been working in a peaceful, calm suburban and plan on making the big move, it’s wise to ask the team about what their thoughts are on this.
While this may not be a dealbreaker, it will affect your employees. Instead of waking up an hour early just to beat the morning rush, you may be able to offer them flexible working hours a few days a week to offset the drastic change of pace. Or, provide allowances for them to take public transport.
Understanding the local culture
While the folks back home are ready to accept your products as is, don’t assume that getting a footing in a new market, especially overseas will be easy. Cultures shape shopping habits. In the Western world, it’s standard practice for clients to pay what’s on the price tag. But if you set shop in China, for example, your clientele may negotiate for what seems to be, an insulting low ball offer.
This isn’t necessarily to undermine the value of what you bring to the table, but it is just the way how cultural themes find their way into business norms. Essentially, they want to do business with those with the endurance to play along with the haggling dance until both parties reach a settlement.
But once you do get into an agreement, you may find yourself a loyal client as “Guanxi” or “relationships” play a crucial role in the Chinese business mindset. Therefore, it is important to train client/customer-facing employees on the local business practices they need to be mindful of.