A very helpful guest post today from colleague, Jay Harris.
Good Move! Tips for Moving Your Small Business
Moving is never any fun, whether it’s for your home or your business. When it comes to moving your small business, it’s important that the process does as little as possible to interrupt daily activities and inconvenience your clients. You aren’t just relocating the physical boxes, computers and desk chairs–it’s also an exciting chance to breathe new life into your enterprise and reach out to your network.
Paying attention to both the physical and nonphysical aspects of transporting your business safely will ensure a less harried, more productive and rewarding experience for you and your employees.
The Non-Physical Move
Telephone & Email
How do your clients typically get in touch? If you have a small business, particularly a home business, it’s likely that they call you and email you a lot. You may suppose that your email address will not change, but, depending on where you move, or how far, it could change with your service providers.
Of course, keeping your contact information as similar as possible is best for your clients. But if you must change these points of contact, make sure that you have the information finalized before revealing it to clients, especially in any official documents such as a marketing postcard or flier. The telephone should be the absolute last thing you move from the old business location. You want clients to be able to reach you until the last possible moment, and if your primary phone line is physical, have it forwarded to a cell phone where you can still be reached.
Backing Up Computer Files
If you’re getting ready to disconnect the office computers, this is not the time to neglect the importance of backing up all your business’ files. Transporting your computers can be tricky, so you’ll need to make sure that everything on your hard drive will remain safe and accessible in the new location. Remember, portable drives are necessary when moving everything; don’t trust your computer (particularly if it’s old) to retain everything. Furthermore, cloud providers like Dropbox, Google Drive, or a proprietary in-house system can make the set-up at your new location seamless.
Sharing News on Websites or Postcards
If you have a website, share the news with your followers that your business will be moving. Some companies send out special fliers or postcards with the new information, but make certain that any information is correct before you invest in printing hard copies for clients.
The Physical Move
Give Your Staff the News
Let your employees know which days will be spent packing and moving the office, and tell them to dress appropriately. Telling your staff ahead of time is also a good way to spread the word that your business is relocating and thus, create a positive “buzz.”
Make a Fool Proof List
You might have an informal “to do” list lying around the office, but your actual moving checklist should be as comprehensive as possible. You might want to include information such as supplies needed, reminders to update various contact information and telephone numbers for moving companies.
Label All Boxes Clearly
Whether you hired someone to move everything or you and the staff are moving it all yourselves, labeling each box, with as much information as necessary, is important. It will make the unpacking process much easier if you know where everything goes in the new location.
Packing Computer Cables, Monitors and Keyboards
Your computer equipment and accessories should be handled with extra TLC. Unplug your computer cables, wrap them carefully to avoid tangling, and put them into labeled bags–freezer bags work well. As for keyboards and computer monitors, these should be carefully wrapped in blankets or something soft, so they won’t experience any impact during transport.
Other Electronic Equipment
Printers, fax machines and other electronic devices are sensitive to moving as well. Tape down any loose covers, lids or moving parts to the machines, and do not forget to remove the ink cartridges from the printers. If your devices are still under warranty, check the handbook for moving tips.
Insuring the Moving Truck
You’ll want to check on–and implement– insurance policies regardless of whether you, your employee or a professional driver will be driving the truck from your old location to your new one. If you hire professional movers as well as a truck, you could be responsible if the truck gets into an accident and the moving company is not properly insured. And if your office’s equipment gets damaged during transport, insurance can help with the costs.
Driving a Moving Truck Safely
Before anyone attempts to actually drive the truck, he or she should get accustomed to the way the controls, mirrors and other “bells and whistles” work. Also, remember that large trucks frequently follow separate road guidelines from cars, so the driver should pay attention to truck signs, weight stations (if applicable) and other considerations. Tell the driver not to make sharp turns or back up into tight spaces if new to operating a truck.
Remember, the painless move of office equipment is important, but your safety and the safety of your employees matter most when it comes to relocating a business. Be appreciative and gracious to anyone who assists in the process, and take their needs in consideration. A team that works together in business should be able to speedily and efficiently relocate that business when the time comes, provided you plan ahead.
Jay Harris has been a Home Depot store associate since 2005 in the Chicago area. Jay writes tips on equipment rentals, including carpet cleaner rentals and truck rentals.