Moving is always a hassle, no matter if it’s to a new state, city, or even just down the street. Moving can be even more stressful if you’re not only relocating your life, but also your company. Sometimes, however, moving is necessary to grow you business, especially if you started your company in your home or college town.
If you’ve decided that relocating to a different place will benefit your company and help you grow, than by all means don’t let anyone hold you back. I recently had the pleasure of relocating my ~6 month old ecommerce startup from Reno to Las Vegas. Here are some tips to help you make the move as smooth as possible.
Pre-Plan Your Move
Although there are the usual things you’ll have to figure out when moving anywhere, such as signing a lease for an apartment, changing your address with your bank and dozens of other organizations, etc., there are even more things to think about when moving a company.
If you have employees, will they move with you, work remotely, or will you need to find new employees in your new city before you move?
Will you need to find new office space? If so make sure the space is ready to be moved straight into, with power, internet, etc. already turned on and mail-forwarding activated. Same thing if you’re a home-based business.
Do you have any local suppliers or companies that perform essential business functions that you will have to find in your new city?
Will you need to rent temporary storage space until you get situated?
Who will you need to notify of your move? Customers, suppliers, freelance employees, banks, insurance companies, etc.
If you’re not working on your startup full-time yet, will you need a new part-time job? If so, have job interviews lined up or do phone/Skype interviews before you move.
All of these questions should be thought about and figured out long before you actually move. The last thing you want is your business to be down for a week or two while you scramble to get everything up and running. Better to think about every function of your business and how it will work in your new location before you start packing boxes.
Network Before Moving
After I chose the place I would be relocating to, I began reaching out to people through Twitter and other channels who already lived there. I started with people and companies I already knew about, then followed people they hung out with and looked at the events they were regularly going to in the local startup community. I also visited my soon-to-be new home a couple times before actually committing to the move, making sure to meet with a dozen or more entrepreneurs, companies, and possible mentors.
In this way, I already started building a new community for myself weeks before I actually moved. I knew where many of the entrepreneurs hung out and what startup events they were going to. This is critical for most young entrepreneurs because the last thing you want is to not have a clue about who to know or where to go when you’re moved.
This is the worst part. Depending on how far you’re moving, you’ll have to decide how many trips back and forth you’ll need to take and your method(s) of transportation. Fortunately, I was able to fit my whole life and business in a 16’ Penske moving truck while towing my car. A moving truck is usually the best idea for a small company move, unless you can hire a moving company, which is even better.
Make sure to pack your belongings strategically, however. You want to be able to access your most essential items first, so pack those last. You don’t want to have an essential item or piece of equipment that you can’t access until you completely unpack everything else.
Moving is stressful for most entrepreneurs, and once you are moved in and unpacked you’ll probably want to take a day off just to unwind. This is a luxury most of us don’t have, though, and instead you’ll probably be catching up from the last couple of days when you were moving. The more you plan ahead, however, the less catching up you’ll have to do. Then you can spend time making new connections in your new city. If you’ve done your homework, you already know people and places to go.
I’ve had great luck using Twitter to find new connections, and then sites like StartupDigest and MeetUp to find people and events that are in my industry. As long as you’re outgoing, friendly, and not trying to sell your products/services to every new person you meet, you’ll become a well-known local in no time.
River is the co-founder of ElectroVentures, Inc., an ecommerce startup company that builds websites for niche markets. Their first website, RaverSwag.com, is an online retailer that sells over 500 products catered to the growing music festival apparel market.
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