Moving to a new area is an exciting change, but one that presents many challenges especially if you’re relocating your business as well. Before you can enjoy all of the fun parts, like exploring your new stomping ground, you have to get over the hump of the actual move and get yourself situated in your new home. Relocating a business involves several moving pieces: legal considerations, market changes and an all-new network to get to know. Fortunately, there’s plenty of groundwork you can do before, during and after the move to expedite the adjustment process and begin to thrive in your new location. Moving your business and building a flourishing network can be done seamlessly with these strategies in place:
Do Your Research Before Making Any Firm Decisions
Most moves are out of necessity rather than a whim, so you may not have a choice where you’re heading next. However, that’s no excuse not to do your due diligence before packing any boxes. Spend some time learning about the area, not just for personal reasons but also for your business. Research the cost of living and the market’s level of saturation. Then, evaluate your current business model to see if it needs to be adjusted to be competitive in your new location. Consider doing the same for neighboring cities within a few hours. You may find that the markets differ, which will influence how you enter the area and promote your brand.
Get Your Legalities in Order
If you are crossing state lines, you will need to take extra steps to ensure your move is legal and set yourself up for success. Whether you’re a sole proprietor or an LLC, research the local laws and complete the necessary process to become a legal entity in your new location. Set up your taxes and get your financial ducks in a row. This is not the place to cut corners! I recommend consulting with a business lawyer to ensure you’re checking off all of the right boxes.
Prepare Your Internal Operations
As you’re packing boxes and making phone calls, don’t forget to update all of your business information as well. Change your mailing and business addresses with your bank, credit card, online payment company, website and any subscription tools you use (like a CRM or email platform). Update your location on Google Business as well, so you can start showing up in searches in your new area. Do this as early as six months before moving to start building up your SEO and making connections in your new location.
Create a System For Networking
Building a network takes intention and effort, especially when immersing yourself in a brand new market. Search Instagram by location and start following others in your market that you’d like to meet, so you can begin engaging with them even before you move. It’ll be wonderful to get there and know a few friends are waiting to meet you for coffee.
I recommend getting strategic with your networking approach by following these steps:
- Create a spreadsheet to track the creatives you’d like to meet and collaborate with.
- Start your outreach and track who you’ve contacted and who has responded.
- Set aside a block of time on your calendar each week to reach out and introduce yourself to a few people on the list, expanding your reach slowly but surely.
It’s worth noting that strategic networking is not about being false or calculating. Rather, it serves as an important tool to get the lay of the land and ensure you stay organized so you can meet everyone in your new area. When you’re face-to-face, your authenticity will show.
Attend Local Groups and Gatherings
If you can travel to your soon-to-be home before moving, make it a priority to visit and start making business connections. Start with the industry networking groups, like Rising Tide Society, ILEA, NACE, WIPA and other business groups that are active in the area. The local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to find information about the local business community. See if there are any upcoming events you can attend or virtual meetings to join from afar. Once you’re there to stay, keep up this habit as a new community member plus, you’ll already have connections for a smoother transition.
Pro Tip: Look into the local art scene. Craft fairs, music festivals, art shows and farmer’s markets are full of local artisans and creatives who are often eager to build there with networks. Plus, you get a chance to become familiar with the area and even take home some local goodies!
Ignore the Grapevine
Gossip has a way of making its way around, no matter where you move, so don’t give in to rumors or idle chatter. You don’t want to mistakenly rule out a great opportunity because you heard something off-hand and decided that a person, brand or business isn’t the right fit. As you enter a new market, give everyone an equal chance and you’ll be amazed at the ways people will show up to support you and your business.
Balance Eagerness with Patience
It can feel intimidating to step into a market where everyone seemingly knows everyone else. As a newbie, it’s essential to get out there and be proactive in your networking approach. Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself to those you’d like to get to know and embrace your new role as a member of your community. When you are bold and passionate, you’ll find the people who will become your local business besties and your biggest cheerleaders.
Here are a few things to remember:
- It takes time to cultivate relationships. Be patient!
- Avoid focusing too much on the transactional side.
- Focus on developing personal connections.
- Be generous with the people you meet.
- Keep showing up and encouraging others.
As your network grows and your business settles into its new market, remember to enjoy the transition! Change can be scary, but you open yourself up to further personal and professional opportunities when you lean into it. They say that nothing exciting happens inside your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to step outside and let yourself be known!