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How a Small Business Can Downsize Their Office (and Keep More Staff) During a Crisis

When times are tough there are easy ways to reduce costs without letting people go

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As a small business owner, I know how important it is to save money when making big changes for your company. This is especially relevant in times of crisis like the ones we are all facing right now.

So, how do you cut costs without having to fire your staff? For some small businesses, you will not be able to maintain your entire team when work is on hold. However, for others you maybe be able to cut costs through relocating office space. That is why I want to take a few minutes and focus on the right way to do that.

In terms of a big cost savings, an office relocation certainly qualifies. This can get pretty expensive pretty quickly, so you have to be diligent about setting a budget to handle the move, and sticking to it. For many small businesses, work can be done primarily at home. You may not even need an office space separate from your physical location (if you have one).

Here’s a guide to help small business owners like you when faced with the need to relocate their office due to cost cutting measures.

1. Keep Your Customers Happy

Going through an office move is disruptive to say the least. It will be challenging, but it’s important to ensure your customers, clients and vendors remain unaffected by this move. Notify them of your move so they are kept in the loop, but do all you can to ensure service remains uninterrupted to the extent you are able.

A seamless transition is necessary to keep customers happy, engaged, and comfortable throughout the process. You want to make sure they transfer their services with you, and the best way to do that is to keep their loyalty.

Anticipate the amount of downtime involved with relocating your office, due to the time it takes to pack/unpack, distractions throughout the transition, and the possibility of setting up internet and computer equipment. This downtime, if not planned for, can cost your business in lost revenue. When you plan ahead to minimize downtime, budgeting for a day or two so you can complete the transition, will ensure everyone’s needs are being met.

2. Relocate to Your Home or a Smaller Space

With the trend moving more towards a lower carbon footprint and more and more employees being able to work remotely, relocating to a smaller space will not only save you money but time as well. During a crisis companies are forced to embrace remote work instead of rejecting it. You’ll be saving on square footage and leasing or renting costs, to be sure, but you also won’t have to buy as much furniture to fill that smaller space.

If you are able to run your business from home, that is the best cost cutting measure you can take. You may have been paying for extra rooms and perks in the old space. Now you may realize you didn’t really need all those extras at all going forward.

The primary motive of downsizing is saving money, says The New York Times, but some companies say that having employees in closer proximity allows for a more collegial and collaborative environment, as well as a more productive and profitable one.

3. Shop Around for Equipment Deals

Before you blindly buy your equipment from the first provider you see, do your homework because you could save hundreds and even thousands of dollars just by shopping around. First, understand rental costs before you sign a contract. Get a few estimates before committing to a service. Here are some other tips from Small Business Trends:

Consider Leasing
Rather than buy outright, this will allow you to get the support you need if something were to go wrong, obtain the newest models, and upgrade when your lease is up. Upfront costs are lower than purchasing the equipment, with that cost being spread out over the life of the lease.

Purchase Used Equipment
You can almost always find used options at a fraction of the price of new. Search online for used equipment, and check out business auctions, going-out-of-business sales, repossessed business equipment and overstock.

Sign Up for Business Memberships
A membership can save you cash on items you need to run your business each day, while giving you cash-back credit cards, financial services and even low-cost business loans.

Watch for Deals and Codes
Sign up for emails from retailers that offer office furnishings and supplies.

4. Outsource Your Marketing

Having certain in-house professionals is necessary for the core of your business. However, there are some areas where it makes sense to outsource. Marketing is one of them. From website design to Google advertising, there are so many benefits to investing in marketing during a crisis.

Most small businesses do not have a marketing team member, so many times this simply means the owner giving up the marketing to an expert who has more experience. Here are some more benefits to outsourcing your marketing strategies:

  • Outside insights and innovation
  • Scale efforts quickly
  • Reduced overhead expenses
  • Expanded marketing channel expertise
  • Access to the best and latest technology
  • Increased efficiency
  • Decreased internal staff load

5. Have a Budget for Your Move

Finally, during an office move, expenses can get out of hand quickly if you don’t harness those costs. That is why you need an overall budget for your move. You have a lot of equipment, office printers, electronics and other valuable items that require care when moving them.

You can’t afford the unexpected expense of broken computers, A/V equipment and desks because you were careless or lost track of inventory. It is important to have a budget and also a complete plan for your corporate relocation. Protect your investment by hiring office movers who handle relocations on a regular basis.

By following the above tips, you can save money as a small business owner facing an office relocation during a crisis. And the best part is, if you do it right, you can keep the majority (if not all) of your staff.

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