Relocating your business 101
Moving your established business can be daunting. However, if you take an organized, methodical approach you can alleviate much of the pain. I recently moved our Fluid Pay LLC headquarters from a Chicago suburb to Franklin, Tenn. We were lucky: our entire office moved with us with the exception of one employee who now works with us remotely. We are blessed: our staff at Fluid Pay are more than just colleagues; we are a tight-knit family. We moved and adjusted to our new surroundings together over a period of about six months.
Our children are flourishing and our families are enjoying life more now than ever. That is the most rewarding part. Someone asked me once, "What's your goal?" My response was simple, "My goal is to give my kids/family a better life and opportunities than I had, and what I had was very fortunate coming from a big, loving Italian family."
The importance of culture
Before diving into the pros and cons of moving your business out of state, I need to say a few things. Your company culture and core values must be rock solid. Culture is not free toys or food. Culture is much more. Culture is not scheduling meetings over lunch or after the workday for employees; it is not pressuring parents to parent around their work instead of helping them work around their kids.
One of the biggest missteps I've seen and experienced is the companies that strongly promote a false sense of their company culture online.
Asking people to relocate and uproot is a big deal. Families, friends and everything familiar will change. You must have mutual trust to make a jump like this. You don't lose employees because they don't receive free stuff; they leave because they recognize the difference between a good culture and a bad one. Your actions define your culture. Your culture defines your brand.
This change, without a doubt, will have an immediate effect on your own and your employees' quality of life. It will also dictate personnel you are able to attract so you can successfully keep running your business.
Pros to relocating your company
Following are some advantages to moving to a new state. You can:
- Increase your reach: Businesses interested in moving often seek a specific location that will make it easier to operate and attract new business. A new locale can mean increased competition, but that's good; it indicates your product or service is sought after. In the right location, you can have greater opportunity to hire high-quality professionals seeking work in your industry.
- Reduce your operating costs: The potential to reduce operating expenses is usually a primary motive behind moving. One example is state income tax: Illinois residents are taxed at 5 percent; in Tennessee it's 0 percent. Right away, there is a 5 percent increase in pay just for moving. Add to that cheaper property taxes, etc., and savings add up quickly. These factors all need to be investigated when selecting a location. And one question to ask yourself is, will money lost during the transfer be recouped in the long term?
- Gain valuable space: If you are used to operating in tight quarters, depending on where you're moving to, chances are you can spread out a bit and have built-in room for future growth, which in turn will save you money. You can display products; separate divisions, as needed; add new services, and even add new equipment if needed.
Cons to relocating your company
Following are potential cons to a relocation. You might:
- Disrupt production and family routines: When employees and their families move out of state, it's a lot to handle in a short period of time, but disruption doesn't have to be significant. I recommend sending people in waves over time, not all at once. Being flexible helps. It takes one to two weeks before things settle down and people begin to get acclimated. Space out the move by settling one group per month. After the first group, those who follow will learn the area and new surroundings faster because they will learn from those who moved first.
- Encounter costs and inconvenience. Moving involves expenses and extra work not just for your company but also for your employees. Help where you can. If you can afford to pay your employees' moving expenses, do so. If not, pay for what you can afford to ease the stress of moving. Professional moving companies can expedite moves and ease the transition.
- Lose clients/customers: This is a concern of many businesses, but depending on your industry—especially in the payments space—your location shouldn't matter. That's a big perk in our sphere: you can be anywhere and conduct business anywhere using today's technology.