Preparing for growth: Moving your home based business into premises

For owners of home-based businesses, the realisation that the business is ready to move into its own premises is a significant milestone. A company that started as an idea has grown, shown itself to be viable, and is ready to embrace the next phase of its evolution. If you have reached this incredible point, then the chances are that you are experiencing a potent mixture of pride mixed with excitement about what the future may hold.

However, it is impossible to overlook a simple fact: moving a home-based business into its own premises is tough. It may, undoubtedly, be the right choice for both you and your business, but the sheer rate of change can be more than a little overwhelming. The changes that you – and your business – will experience can come thick and fast when you move from your home and into official premises, which can make it nigh on impossible to keep up – until now, that is. Below, we’ve sought to address the major changes you will face when your business moves into its own premises, as well as a little insight into how you can deal with each issue when it arrives.

For owners of home-based businesses, the realisation that the business is ready to move into its own premises is a significant milestone. A company that started as an idea has grown, shown itself to be viable, and is ready to embrace the next phase of its evolution. If you have reached this incredible point, then the chances are that you are experiencing a potent mixture of pride mixed with excitement about what the future may hold.

Expect a bureaucracy overload

If there’s one thing that you can be sure will happen when you move your business into new premises, it’s bureaucratic overload. Changing your business address means that you will need to spend a large amount of time updating records with the likes of HMRC, changing invoices, and so on and so forth.

The best way to tackle this bureaucratic overload is, simply, to tackle it head-on. Set aside a single day when you focus on switching your businesses’ address everywhere; make phone calls, use online accounts to submit new details, update your website and social media, order new business stationery – everything, all in one go. No, the day itself won’t be particularly exciting, but you can then relax and enjoy the peace of mind.

Your Rolodex will need to expand significantly

As a home-based business owner, the number of companies you have built relationships with is likely relatively small. You’ll have to deal with service providers for basic utilities such as business broadband, as well as companies you have outsourced certain services (such as IT or SEO) to, but that aside, your business will likely have been something of an island.

However, when your business moves into its own premises, you will need to build a substantial Rolodex of trusted businesses you can call on for assistance if required. The reason for this is simple: you now have an entire independent premises to maintain.

Prior to moving into independent premises, managing your business’ physical location was simple: you just managed your house as you normally would. If all was well with your home, all was well with your business premises. However, when you move into business-only premises, you are essentially doubling up on building maintenance needs – and that means you’re going to need to know exactly who to call when things go wrong.

As a general guide, you will need to source reliable companies for the following services:

  • Structural repairs. If your premises experience issues such as damp or cracks in the walls, you will need to know who you can contact to rectify the issue as quickly as possible; ideally, a structural engineer and builder, or a company that offers both services until the same umbrella
  • Pest control. Pests can be hugely problematic to the smooth running of your business, not to mention unhygienic. As a result, you’ll need to search providers of pest control services and select a company you feel you can trust to perform work quickly and efficiently in the event a pest problem arises in the future.
  • Cleaning. Until moving into premises, your business-related cleaning needs have simply involved your standard cleaning schedule for your home; moving into premises means that cleaning requires a specialist focus. You can opt for regular professional cleaning, or find a company who you can turn to for one-off deep cleanings as and when you need them.

By researching suitable providers of these services as soon as you move into your premises, you’ll know exactly who to call in future – which helps to ensure your premises can continue to function exactly as they should.

Prepare for the shock of commuting

PDuring your time running a business from your own home, commuting was not a concern; all you had to do was wake up and walk into your office when you felt ready to start the day. However, by moving your business into dedicated premises, you’ll once again find yourself needing to make the journey to an external building every day, twice a day, five days a week – and the chances are, you’ll find the return to commuting is quite the shock to the system initially.

The best way to adjust to commuting is to spend a few weeks – or longer, if possible – prior to the move acting out a commute. In particular, you’ll need to focus on waking up in time to make the journey every day, so set an alarm and stick to it. In addition, you’ll need to factor your commute into your homewards journey, too. If, like most home-based business owners, you’re used to working into the evenings in order to get everything done, you’ll need to switch to a rigid “finish time” each day.

It may sound odd to start duping the fixed schedule working at dedicated business premises requires before necessary; it’s tempting to enjoy those last few weeks of a more relaxed, home-based schedule for a little longer. However, by effectively “rehearsing” your commute and accounting for it in your time-keeping, you should find the transition far easier to handle when the time comes.

Be ruthless regarding clutter from day one

One of the most important aspects of running dedicated business premises’ is the need to remain organised. However, when you first move into your building, the chances are that organisation will seem incredibly easy due to the sheer volume of space you have available in comparison to the arrangement you had in your home.

However, you will quickly find that your business soon begins to fill all the space that is available. This scenario tends to develop out of habit; as you don’t need to be rigorous when it comes to managing clutter – you can just store items, documents, and other business paraphernalia in a corner or unused office, to be dealt with at a later date. In many ways, the ability to store items in such a way is quite luxurious, as it is not something you were able to do when running your business from your home – but ultimately, storing items that don’t need to be stored is an organisational recipe for disaster in the future.

In order to ensure your new premises don’t rapidly become cluttered, the solution is simple: be ruthless. If you wouldn’t have stored an item when you were running a business from home, don’t store it in your premises either. There are a few exceptions to this rule – particularly valuable or seasonal equipment, for example – but overall, focus on ensuring only the items your business truly needs are the ones that are allowed a place in your new premises.

Think about your environment

When working from home, the chances are that you have become accustomed to solitude. If you need to focus, you can shutter yourself away and work until a project is complete.

However, it’s fair to assume that you are moving your business into dedicated premises so that you can hire staff in future – this reason is arguably the most common reason business owners choose to make the move in the first place. If you do indeed intend to hire staff, the peace and quiet you have long grown accustomed to will no longer exist, and you will find yourself sharing a workspace once again.

For many people, adjusting to working alongside others can be incredibly difficult – with noise perhaps the most challenging concern of all. If you suspect that you may struggle to focus when working with others, you may always want to consider investing in earplugs, or using a white noise machine, at least until you fully adjust to working in a busier environment.

In addition, it’s also helpful to think about how your new environment may impact your mood. When running a business from your own home, you’re literally surrounded by home comforts, which can be incredibly beneficial if you’re having a tough day or just want to relax for a while. In order to ensure you are still able to enjoy these benefits, it’s worth thinking about ensuring your new space has a few touches of home; wall-mounted photographs, comfortable furniture, and plants can all help achieve a home-from-home feel while still remaining professional.

In conclusion

Moving into dedicated premises is a huge step for your business, but such a move can bring forth significant change to both how you run your business and how you prefer to work. Hopefully, by keeping the above tips in mind, you should be able to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible, allowing you to embrace all the excitement that this next phase of your entrepreneurial life is sure to bring.

*This is a contributed post

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