Moving On Up: The Dos and Don'ts of Relocating

One of the most financially and mentally stressful times for any small business owner is during a relocation. Handling the move incorrectly online can lead to disastrous consequences. Here are some Dos and Don'ts for moving your workplace
Cody Hill
Published on: 8th September 2016
Do: Let your customers know about the move

Send an email to customers informing them about the relocation. Do not simply include this information in a regular newsletter; customers may not notice the information, or it could be sent to spam folders where it will never be read. Of course, you can let your customers know away from the computer as well. Word of mouth, prominent signs in your store, and even sign spinners can get the word out about your move.
The Dos and Don'ts of Relocating
Moving can be an opportunity to advertise. By getting in contact with previous customers, you are also reminding others about your services. Regardless of what type of business you operate, the first step to maintaining sales and goodwill is to let your customers know that your place of business is moving.

Consider posting regular updates to any of your social media accounts. Including photos in your posts can keep customers more engaged with the process. Any communication regarding your move should have photos of your new location. Involving your customers in this journey can improve enthusiasm others have for your brand.

Don’t: Interrupt your business with the move

A relocation can result in a lot of downtime. Downtime is lost revenue. Smaller businesses can probably handle the move with the help of employees. Owners of larger businesses may decide to hire a removal company to expedite the process.

Minimise your downtime by being prepared. You will need internet access, a phone line, and other basic amenities ready on day one. When planning an office relocation, you will need to give advance notice to utility companies so you will have any needed equipment and phone extensions.

Do: Update your address online — everywhere

Think of all the sites where your address is listed online: your local chamber of commerce, Yelp, and Google Plus for starters. Your online presence must be updated to accurately reflect your new business location. Failing to update your address can lead to frustrated customers and lost business.

Your social media accounts and business website “Contact Us” page should also be updated. This small detail is frequently overlooked; take this chance to update the page to be as effective as possible. You should also make a page on your site that clearly announces your change of address.

Any map websites should be updated as well, such as Google Places, Mapquest or Yahoo Local. However, check the guidelines of these sites before you update your information. Google Places, for example, penalises you for listing a location that is not open yet. For websites like these, you will want to update your information on the day of the move. Don’t forget to delete information for your old address.
The Dos and Don'ts of Relocating
Don’t: Lose your old phone number

A new landline phone number can confuse your customers. If you must get a new number, set up call forwarding with your old number so that it redirects to your new line.

Be sure to choose a provider who can set up call forwarding. Some phone companies will set up call forwarding at no additional cost, while some will have a monthly charge. You can even temporarily have your old number redirect to your cell phone, for when the move is in progress. Check if your new provider will be able to accommodate your needs. Order the new service two months in advance to prevent lost calls.

For larger businesses, or businesses that use VoIP systems, hire specialists to install your equipment.

Do: Update paid advertising campaigns

If you have invested in any pay-per-click ad campaigns, your physical address and keywords will need to be updated. An example of when you would need to change your location extension: if you are relocating your barber shop from Camden to Middlesbrough, your ad campaign will need to be modified so that you will not be spending money to appear on a Google search of “barbers in Camden”.

If your business will undergo any changes to better serve your new community, you can also update your keywords so that you will appear in relevant searches. If your new barbershop in Middlesbrough will have a new focus on inexpensive haircuts, you could update your keywords to reflect that.

Don’t: Leave your old reviews behind

Websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List carry customer reviews that establish your reputation online. It is essential that you keep the customer reviews that you have accrued. Nine out of ten consumers will read online reviews before visiting your place of business. Without any reviews, many people will not trust your business enough to visit.

It is not a bad idea to keep a backup of your reviews; save your reviews in a Word document or a Google Doc. If you lose your reviews for any reason in the future — for example, if your business becomes “unverified” on Google — you can at least post your saved reviews on your website in a “testimonials” page.

Do: Research new local interests and habits

Customer needs can vary by region. Depending on the distance of the move, you may need to reassess your customers’ needs. Learn who they are, what they expect of you, and how you can best serve them.

For example, an American restaurant from Memphis, Tennessee would probably have to change the way they do business if they relocated or opened a new business in Charlottesville, Virginia. While Memphis is renowned for excellent barbeque, Charlottesville has one of the highest rates of vegetarianism in the US. A wise restaurateur would keep current fans happy and modify their menu to accommodate those who cannot eat meat.

While it is important to recognise each customer as an individual, it is smart to base your decisions on local trends. Some strategies for gathering information include conducting surveys on social media and researching what your competitors offer. Don’t: Leave your employees out of the loop

It is never too early to begin planning your move. When educating your employees about the relocation, stress the benefits to the company, as well as the benefits to employees who will be working at the new location. This can be an opportunity to convince employees to relocate with you. Relocating employees will especially need all the information they can get in order to make a smooth transition.

A benefit of moving is that you will be able to reassess and replan your workspace. When planning, focus on fostering cooperation. For retained employees who will be relocating with you, and for new employees, you can maintain a much more productive work environment by asking for their input. Some questions you should ask are “what’s the biggest hassle in your job?”, “do you prefer to work independently, or to collaborate?” and “where do you spend most of your time while working?”. Base your new layout on employee needs. Happy employees mean happy customers.
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