Moving your company abroad, or even to another state, can be a daunting task. It’s not just a matter of moving a few computers, desks, and chairs. There are so many aspects involved in a company move, some very evident–and others not so much, that it’s easy to just forget about the whole idea, even when you know it’s the right move for your company.
Avoiding these five frequently-made mistakes will help you make your company move a success.
1. Not addressing legalities and tax implications before you decide to move
You may have several good reasons to relocate your business. Before you start signing on the bottom line of a new lease, first and foremost consider the legal and tax issues. It is imperative that you review these issues ahead of time. Failure to do so may lead to many costly mistakes.
For example, if you move to another state, what are the requirements for registering as a foreign entity? Also consider the tax implications of maintaining your current business and registering as a foreign entity. Maybe it is better to dissolve your current entity and reincorporate in the new state. Or, perhaps there is another approach.
The same considerations should be examined with respect to relocating to another country. You will need to either establish a stand-alone business or form a subsidiary. Decide which is the best way to go – legally and for tax reasons … and in both states or countries.
Review your current contracts to make sure you aren’t breaching any clause with your move. Also, what are the legal requirements in your new location? And, make sure you have all the permits and licenses required to do business in the new venue.
Review these things ahead of time to make sure the otherwise-attractive relocation makes sense from a legal and tax perspective. Work with seasoned professionals in assessing the move and formulating your plan.
Finalize paperwork ahead of time so your business does not miss a beat.
2. Forgetting your online presence and business materials
This is an aspect that could be easily forgotten in the excitement of relocating. Make sure to update your website with the address and phone numbers of your new location, or even better, announce it on your page ahead of time. Also, change your company address and phone numbers in your business documents, such as brochures, business cards, merchandise, banners, billboards, press artwork, or any other marketing material.
Additionally, if you’re relocating to Mexico, for example, or to any other country where English is not the main language, and you want to target the local market, have a professional translation company translate your website. Also, make sure it’s properly localized, with the mannerisms, expressions, and idiosyncrasy of the new country. A bad translation is spotted at a mile’s distance.
If you’re moving overseas, make sure there are no issues with your logo, or with the translation of your business name or tagline. Big corporations like Pepsi, Gap, and American Airlines have their place in the Hall of Shame of bad translation and localization. Don’t let that happen to you.
3. Not centralizing responsibility in one person
There’s a saying that goes, if a lot of people are in charge, nobody is in charge. When you’re relocating your company, every department is affected. All of their actions should be centralized and orchestrated by one single person; otherwise, things can go really wrong, there may be serious delays that may cost you thousands of dollars.
There should be one person in charge of the entire move, someone who is responsible for coordinating everyone’s schedules and actions. This person could be someone within the firm, or an external project manager hired specifically to work on your relocation.
The person in charge should be knowledgeable about every step of the process, from the beginning to the end – up to and including being fully operational in your new location.
4. Failing to create a detailed relocation plan
There are multiple opportunities for things to go wrong when you are relocating. The best defense is a good offense: be prepared. Outline each step of the move and what is needed from each department and when. Think through various scenarios, and have backup plans.
Allow plenty of time to move. Don’t leave everything to the last minute. Some buildings or warehouses have specific schedules to make a move, find out about those ahead of time. Also, there may be obstacles, or you might have to make adjustments to your furniture or to the existing cubicle walls. Also, the IT department needs to install the computers, telephone lines, and other equipment, and run tests.
Depending on the size of your company, at least a week must be allotted for the move. Obviously, you’ll need more time if you have to move manufacturing machinery, instead of just office equipment.
Also, take into account that something (a machine, a computer, paper files, and so on) could be damaged or lost in the move. Have a backup plan in case that happens, and don’t forget to get insurance for your valuables.
5. Not choosing the right moving company
Last and not least, a company move is a huge expense whether it is international or domestic. The right moving company can make or break the logistics, and you don’t want to incur unnecessary expenses because equipment, a machine, or your servers, were not properly handled.
Contact several moving companies, conduct thorough research, read reviews by previous customers, and keep in mind that, as in many other things in life, “cheaper” does not usually mean “better.” It’s safest to invest a little more in a reputable moving company, than having to spend lots of money in equipment repairs or replacements.
As you can imagine, these aspects are vital for a company move, and they cannot be ignored. Surprisingly, though, they’re often overlooked, and the consequences can be devastating.
Have a seasoned business strategist and attorney work with you on your company relocation plan. That way, your move will be as smooth and efficient as you imagine, you’ll minimize costs, delays, and most importantly, keep your mind at ease, knowing your company relocation is in good hands.