A simple way to ensure business profitability and healthy cash flow is to focus on what drives both. What drives revenue needs to be understood. How saleable is the product or service and what’s the market? What marketing is working and how much is it costing to acquire a customer? Is it profitable revenue? How [...]
What would it be worth to you if you could close one door and open another at your new premises without having to do all the work in between?
I was speaking with a friend the other day about networking opportunities, and he suggested that we meet at his new offices for lunch. They had moved in two weeks ago and he wanted to show them off to a professional. Great, I thought, I''m always interested in what someone is doing or has done.
I arrived at the appointed time and had a look around his new reception area. I couldn't help noticing the floor was scuffed, there were no plants, no artwork on the walls and a few boxes were still sitting in the corner. As we walked through the offices he was explaining why he had done certain things.
As the conversation continued I asked him how had he found the space. "Through an agent, however, I didn''t think much of the outcome. We actually lost both ways, we had outgrown our old space, the lease wasn''t up yet, but we had to move. As you know there is no space in this area so we ended up paying to exit our old place and paying market rents to enter the new place." I asked him who had taken over his old space and he said the guys next door. I suggested that there might have been an opportunity for him to work with the guys next door so both parties got what they wanted. He just raised his eyebrows!
As we sat down for lunch I asked him how much time he spent looking for the space, finding the right architect, dealing with all the design issues, the relocation etc. He started to laugh "I know, I know, it took me between four and six months to get this far and things still aren't finished. I normally generate about $40,000 worth of fees a month, but over the last couple of months I've done about $12,000 per month. I wouldn't mind so much but the staff don''t even like the new premises and are finding it difficult to work here."
I left his offices feeling that if other small to medium-sized organisations knew about facilities planning they wouldn't have to go through what he just did.
So what is facilities planning and what has it got to do with office relocation?
Office relocation is the implementation of a facilities plan.
Facilities planning is all about integrating the people of the organisation, with the type of work they do, in a place they can do it. It''s about understanding the organisation''s business objectives and goals, and ensuring that the facilities they need to operate in cater for this.
Facilities planning is not a core activity for most businesses, however, getting it wrong can be expensive in both time and money. A facilities planner must understand the short- and long-term business objectives, have an overview of all functions and their business processes, and know how to balance the books. The role of the planner is to ensure that the business has the facilities to operate in, at a price that they can afford.
All organisations need to relocate at some time. The business may be growing, your lease may have expired or you need to downsize. Whatever the reason, all businesses face similar issues - the same tasks are required to achieve the end result. The difference between small and large organisations, is the time and cost it takes to get you there.
Large organisations have strategic planners, facilities managers and in-house expertise to plan and implement their premises requirements. Small to medium size organisations often lack these resources, and use their existing staff to relocate their businesses. We all know that time is money, and there are professional organisations available for relocating businesses, but where do you start, and are their time and money saving claims real.
What questions should you be asking before you relocate? Why do we need to relocate?
- Where is our company heading in the next 12 months, three, five or 10 years?
- Do our current facilities fit in with those requirements and, if not, what are we looking for?
- What perception do we want our customers to have of us?
- Do our staff operate effectively in their daily tasks and, if not, what would we like to change?
Why do you need to ask these questions?
Relocation is expensive both in terms of investment and operating costs. The two largest fixed costs for most organisations are personnel and premises. Using existing staff takes up valuable resources, it's expensive and time consuming. Equipping an employee with skills on an activity that may only be needed once every three to five years is unlikely to be cost effective.
When should you be asking for advice?
At least 12 months before your relocation needs to happen, or when you are planning your budgets and capital expenditure.
If you decide to use a professional, how do you go about choosing one that suits your organisation?
Get recommendations. Ensure the service offered covers your needs. Once you''ve found the right supplier, ask them for references and ask to see the work they have completed.
Ask about their fees, and enquire as to whether you can purchase their services individually - get them to justify the savings for you.
It takes time to find the right supplier, but the end result is relative to the amount of effort you put in.
Relocating premises can be seen as a necessary evil, in some cases it's a ''must do'' rather than an option. It is expensive, but you can turn that expense into a positive experience by planning it effectively.
The outcome for yourselves, your staff and customers can produce real results. By planning a relocation, it enables you to manage your operating costs more effectively, change your current work practices through well thought out designs, improve your customers'' perception of your organisation, and it can increase the productivity in the staff.
It's simple, but staff work better in an environment that they like and they enjoy going to -- and if the staff are happy they are easier to manage.
I visited my friend's office three months later, the boxes were still in the corner.