1. Draw up a preliminary budget. Costs may include acquiring and fitting out your new premises, upgrading equipment and vacating your existing premises (for example, repairs you may have to pay for under the terms of your lease). When drawing up the budget, bear in mind you may also incur expenses for redundancy, relocation, recruitment and time lost during the move.
2. Check there are no legal problems to stop you leaving your old premises or moving into the new ones. If your old lease overlaps with the new one, you may be eligible for relief on your business rates.
3. Work out a programme of things to do at least six months ahead of the moving date. Keeping your customers and employees informed and happy throughout the process will minimise the disruption to your business.
4. Consult all employees (and trade union representatives, if applicable) well in advance. Relocating without employees’ agreement could cause serious problems. Remember that relocation is not a sufficient reason for redundancy unless your new premises will be too far away for reasonable travel.
5. Dedicate at least one day in the month before the move to sort through old files and clutter. Hire a shredder or use a ‘secure disposal’ contractor to dispose of unwanted confidential papers.
6. Get quotes from reputable removal companies. When you have chosen a company confirm the number and type of crates needed for packing.
7. Notify customers and suppliers of your change of address well in advance. Order new stationery and amend all promotional material. Contact your telephone service provider to find out how you can move premises with minimum disruption — you may be able to keep your old number or pay for calls to be diverted.
8. Draw up a detailed floor plan for your new premises and decide where furniture, telephone and computer systems will go. Arrange for re-wiring at the new premises if necessary.
9. Make sure there is a business continuity plan in place so you can continue to operate after the move — it may take longer than you think to get everything running normally. Print a copy of your database to allow immediate access to important contact details.
10. Before the move, mark every item that you will be transporting with a colour-coded sticker to indicate where it will be positioned in your new premises and/or which member of staff it belongs to. To avoid confusion, make sure the colour coding is shown on your new floor plan.