Whenever we act for clients looking for new premises we always start by saying “you need to aim for utopia” or asking them “what does utopia look like for your business?”
We say this because the reality is we all spend a lot of time in our work environments every day so if you are going to commit your business to a long-term occupancy of new premises it is critical that both you and your staff are going to enjoy coming to work (and that your clients/customers can get to you and have an enjoyable experience when they do).
If you, or your staff, don’t enjoy coming to work in the premises you choose it will, over time, have a detrimental impact on staff morale and enjoyment which may lead to staff leaving whilst also, potentially, making it more difficult to attract new staff to your team.
Step 1 – Have a Vision
What utopia actually looks like is different for every client and business we act for, but we strongly believe it is critical that before you commence looking for new premises that you actually spend the time to consider what are the 10 (or more) most important things you want for your business in your new premises.
This might mean sitting down with your staff, management team or key advisors and discussing/debating what the 10 most important things are to your business.
Examples of what these key drivers might include are:
- Profile/signage/naming rights
- Location of premises
- Quality of premises (premium, high, secondary, etc)
- Profile/signage/naming rights
- Access to public transport
- Carparking for staff and clients/customers
- Access to amenities (shops, cafes, restaurants, etc)
- Size of the premises
- Office floor plan and fitout (eg. open plan, number of meeting rooms, boardroom, etc)
- Expansion potential
- Lease or purchase
- Occupancy costs
Once you have established the key drivers for your business, staff and clients you are then ready to commence your search for utopia.
By establishing your key drivers early, you are then able to “benchmark” different premises against this criteria to assist in your assessment of the various opportunities that will become available for you to inspect.
If you haven’t spent the time determining your business’s key drivers and, for example you end up moving to new premises because the rent’s cheap but the building’s in the wrong location and there is nowhere for staff or clients to park, the “advantage” of the rent being cheap will wear off very quickly if you lose customers or a key staff member.
Step 2 – Time
Another very important step to achieving utopia when relocating is to give yourself sufficient time to find new premises.
Invariably clients have a forthcoming lease expiring whereby they are required to either vacate or commit to a lease renewal.
If you haven’t commenced your search for new premises well in advance of that date, then you run the risk of having to relocate (because your lease has expired) or needing to commit to a new lease when you really would prefer to relocate.
By preparing early and determining what utopia looks like for you and your business you give yourself every chance of finding it.
Step 3 – Budget
A critical step is to develop an understanding of the overall financial implications of your move.
You need to clearly understand your;
- Relocation costs to new premises
- Fitout costs to physically make your new premises ideally suitable
- Costs to furnish the new premises
- Make good obligations at your current premises
- Branding and marketing costs to promote your move
By understanding all of these overall costs, it will greatly assist you in setting a realistic budget and enable you to make decisions about what you can or can’t afford. There is no point having champagne taste if you only have a beer budget.
Relocating to new premises is a very exciting time for you, your business, your staff and your clients.
By following these three key steps you give yourself the greatest chance of finding utopia and when you do it will give your business a massive boost and a wonderful opportunity to continue to thrive and prosper for many years to come.
Geoff Robertson – Managing Director, MRS Property
16 August 2018