Expanding a business: planning to grow your premises

If your business is succeeding, then it’s inevitable that eventually you’ll outgrow your original premises. If you’re in industry and specialist manufacturing, you may need more warehouse space, more machinery and greater assembly room. In an office-based business, you may need to take on more employees, who in turn each require their own desk, workstation and so on. A reception area for meeting clients or a conference room may become a priority in a way that it wasn’t before.

Space is not the only issue that can force a change of premises. You may require better vehicle access and parking facilities, or need to be nearer to certain suppliers. In retail, location can be everything, and moving to a better shopping area when the time is right could be the shift that takes your business to the next level, despite the probability of higher rates.

Whatever your reasons for moving to bigger or better premises, remember that it’s often a far more complex and time-consuming process than you might think. Plan ahead; give yourself at least three months to organise the move, and let all of your customers and clients know about it well in advance.

Hire an accredited removal firm that you trust, and make sure they’ve assigned a dedicated project manager for your move so that you know who is ultimately responsible. You need to carry on running a business during the move, so delegate as much as possible. Similarly, try to carry out the move outside of working hours, and consider whether staff can work from home or elsewhere while this is going on.

Finding the right premises to move to is also a major task in its own right, as is the decision of whether to rent or buy. Often the general state of the economy means that many businesses are looking to expand at the same time, so there is suddenly great competition for units, which in turn drives up rents. Hiring external advisors to find the right place at the right price and to help you avoid the traps in the small print of commercial leases can often save you huge amounts of money and stress in the long term, despite the immediate costs. Consider hiring a chartered surveyor or solicitor and, if you’re thinking of buying, an independent financial advisor or a mortgage advisor.

Buying your own premises is the best way to secure full control over your location without the worry of ever-increasing rents (inevitable as the economy expands). You should always compare finance options get the best deal, and choose the mortgage or loan that is right for you. If you’re doing well enough to expand, then you should have a good case for a mortgage, which will be based on your business’s performance and growth to date as well as your plans and projections for the future.

Expanding to new premises is a natural growing process for any small business and is a sure sign that you’re on the right track. It’s certainly a stressful process, but with careful planning and the right advisors it should be a smooth transition to a new level of success.