Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

150311_Clearfield_090-red-1

Did I mention that Clearfield moved recently? Of course, I did. Our epic move to our new 70,000 square foot facility is now in the history books. But it weighed heavily on our collective minds for months – if not years – before that.

Along the way, we learned a few things, so I thought I’d share some insights which might be helpful for anyone contemplating a corporate move. (Some of these learnings may also be applicable to personal moves.)

1.  Be sure.

There are a lot of reasons to relocate your business: to increase your profits; retain your clients; attract new clients; or, in our case, make room to accommodate our expanding inventory and people. I’d caution anyone to be absolutely certain that this is the right thing to do right now. It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll likely make for your firm. Just make sure it’s the right one.

2.   Find the right spot.

Everyone knows the first rule of real estate: “Location, location, location.” Beyond that, when selecting a new locale for your business, there are several other factors we considered:

  • Market stability – Is it a growing business area or starting to stagnate? Will it be viable in 5-10 years?
  • Convenience/Accessibility – Can employees, clients and others get there easily?
  • Affordability – Is the lease or mortgage affordable? Is it priced right for what you’re getting? (I feel I could now write a book on strategic lease negotiating.)
  • Expandability Is there room to grow as your business expands?
  • Neighbors – Do you want to office across the street from a major rival or an elementary school?
  • Distance from current office – What are the pros and cons of leaving the zip code?

Obviously, there are a lot of other considerations, but that’s a start.

3. Start a check list, and check it often.

Once you decided that you’re moving, and where you’re going, create a check list of the who, what, when and how you’ll be moving.  We had a taskforce that was tasked with overseeing all that had to be done before, during and after the move. (The move, itself, takes a lot of preparation, but getting up and running, post move, was equally critical.) There are a number of helpful moving checklists available online, including this one.

4.  Clean House. 

Moving is the perfect time to clean out your old electronics (i.e. computers, copiers, printers, fax machines, old phones, etc.) office furniture, and supplies that you no longer need. There’s no point in paying someone to move items for which you no longer have a need. There are several non-profits to whom you can donate your old PCs, monitors and TVs, as well as places you can you can donate office equipment, furniture and supplies. The beauty is you’re recycling, helping someone in need and potentially getting a tax break.

5. Keep the disruption to a minimum.

Clearfield’s primary goal was to make this move completely transparent to our customers. I believe we were successful. I know that we did not miss one day of shipping. We did it by scheduling our move during those times that would not disturb normal operations. Easier said than done for everyone, I realize, but after-hours, weekends, federal holidays and during your off-peak season is best.

6. Keep everyone in the loop.

It’s critical to keep everyone apprised of move updates along the way. We left nothing to chance – using every resource at your disposal: email, telephone, social media, and a snail mail postcard. Moves become a lot less scary when the lines of communication are open.

7.  No two moving companies are alike.

If you are planning on hiring a mover, start calling at least two months in advance. We interviewed several candidates and got a number of price quotes. Important: ask for proof of insurance. Certainly, hiring a professional mover costs more than doing it yourself. But, in our experience, you save money in the long run. We were up and running sooner, and didn’t have to tie up valuable employee time with moving minutia. (Also, trained movers can minimize potential mishaps because they know what they’re doing.)

8.  Develop a system.

We had a system that was right for us. For example, we found it advisable to mark boxes on both the tops and sides, so we could locate items more quickly. If you have a multitude of boxes, like we did, it also pays to have a numbering system to avoid losing items in the move.

9.  Change of address.

Naturally, you’ll need to change your address on everything. First, because it’s both the most important and easiest, update your website. Then update your address on email signatures, office materials, invoices, stationery, business cards, etc. Of course, you’ll need to notify the post office, bank, creditors, etc. It’s a good idea to do an online search of your business name. You’ll be surprised where you’ll find your business listed showing old contact information.

10.  Take it all in stride. 

Someone told me when it comes to moving, something will probably go wrong, get lost, or be overlooked. Try not to sweat the small stuff.

They have a motto in the relocation business: “Tackle moving problems just like you packed your boxes – one at a time.”