Expanding your business premises - what to consider and how
A change is on the cards. Business is booming and demands more space.
You work from home and the dining table is no longer a feasible option. Or perhaps expansion is necessary in order to push forward your steady business up to the next level.
Whether you own or rent your current premises, this may mean a development of your current buildings or plot, the purchase or rental of an additional site, or even a complete move to a new site altogether.
Whatever your situation, expanding a business physically can be a costly and time consuming exercise, never mind stressful. Every business is different and the path you take to expansion will depend on the type of business you run and your marketplace.
Research is key to making the change work, here are some points to consider before you take a leap into the unknown.
Work out exactly what you and your business needs from the expansion.
Do you work from home and now need to take on additional staff? Or you might need a larger office space with meeting areas. If you run a local store or service you may wish to start up a second location, in which case you will likely be looking for a site similar to your original and you will already have a good idea of your requirements.
Perhaps your existing premises need additional sales/service/manufacturing space. Can your current site be adapted? Will customers be visiting your place of work? Are aesthetics important? Do you need plenty of parking space available?
Make a list of your needs and wants so you have a clear agenda. Even if you have a solution in mind, research thoroughly all the options available, you may find an alternative, less obvious solution that works better or that even saves money.
Depending on your type of business, geographical location may be of key importance - perhaps your business needs to be highly visible i.e. in the centre of town or on a busy main road. If it does not, you could take advantage of lower costs on premises in industrial estates or go even further out of town.
The cost of building work, purchasing a new site or property rental is obvious, but do also consider the financial implications on business during the time of upheaval. There may be a period of unproductivity whilst building work is carried out, or staff and equipment are transferred.
If you are setting up an additional site, you may need to take time out from one location to set up systems and train staff in the new location.
Forecast: what do you expect to gain from expansion? Cost vs increased revenue: will it be worthwhile? How long will it take? What will be the impact on business during the change?
Is physical expansion absolutely necessary? If expansion is needed for storage purposes, perhaps a storage unit could help free up more space. Do all staff need to work in the same space? Additional staff may be able to work from home and save on the overheads of an office.
Keep on top of your competition. Where is your competition located? What type of premises do they work from? Have any of your competitors recently expanded?
Not only is it important to know what your main competitors are doing and where they are located, but they may highlight new ideas for moving forwards in terms of location and business premises – or they may even be an example of what not to do.
Make it worthwhile - over expand! Or at least ensure you expand sufficiently. It may sound risky, but if you are ploughing a shedload of hard earned cash into extending your property, you don’t want to find out a year down the line that you need more space yet.
Contingency plan - make sure to consider the possible risks. If you have identified and planned for potential issues beforehand it makes them all the more easier to deal with when they crop up.
Simon Joyce, managing director of Anchor Vans.