4 Smart Tips For Relocating Your Startup

April 17, 2015

2:00 pm

The grass and potential investment capital always looks greener on the other side, doesn’t it? While Silicon Valley looks magically alluring to most companies at certain stage; Argentina, Israel, Estonia, and Chili are also among the hottest upcoming startup destinations with excellent startup ecosystems and market possibilities.

Yet, you still prefer to postpone the move, because, well, it’s the moving process you are anxious about. Whether it is moving to another city or another country, thinking of running a starup while moving pumps up your stress levels well above the norm. Fret not! By following the next 4 tips, you can stay sane and survive the whole relocation process without much hassle.

1. Know before you go

While NYC, Denver, Tallinn, or Tel Aviv may seem like the perfect new home for your company, the reality can differ drastically. If you have more than one potential choice in mind – move in for a season. Investigate the tech scene, make connections, and attend a few local networking events to make sure you feel a fit with the local ecosystem.

If you are relocating internationally, keep an eye on the cultural differences when hiring and working with a new team or dealing with the local partners and officials. Business etiquette and management style can drastically differ from place to place. Björn Jeffery, CEO and co-founder of Toca Boca, who recently moved his company from Sweden to Silicon Valley, offers: “You can be sued for asking a question like ‘What are you doing in your spare time?’ Which is a completely natural question in Sweden but here is considered completely inappropriate.”

Also, keep in mind language barriers. While English is an international language of communication, it does not automatically mean everyone, especially the local officials, will speak it well.

2. Create a budget and triple it

Can you imagine being faced with the requirement to pay for dozens of new permits, or being greeted with a server room that has no access flooring and cords everywhere. Make sure your budget includes all of the following:

  • Office rent + security deposit
  • Legal and Realtor fees
  • Insurance
  • New furniture and equipment
  • IT infrastructure (especially Internet connection) and phone
  • Moving company fees (international shipping)
  • Minor (major) repairs in the new office.

Add a safety cushion of at least 30% to the above for a realistic number. It’s important to be sure you have the funds to move and keep the business running at the same time.

3. Get organized in advance

The earlier you start, the less last-minute stress you’ll have. “We recommend tech companies to start the initial relocation planning around 2 month in advance, even for companies with less than 20 employees. Consider the time you’ll need to install all the cables, servers, VOIP phones, and order an overlapping service for the time of your move” – says, Margarita Hakobyan, CEO of Moverscorp. “Also, we always suggest businesses to request certification per-testing of broadband circuits before moving in to eliminate the risks of getting stuck in a place with no Internet or phone connection.”

Schedule a specific planning meeting at least a month in advance to make sure all the business operations stay covered over the span of your move. Check out this handy IT relocation template for a general task list and drill down the most basic things you’ll need during the move in a separate list. For example, do you have a meeting with the investors you can’t postpone? Don’t yet pack your whiteboard, projector, and that good suit you have at the office.

4. Keep your team posted

Last, but not least, make sure you communicate to your employees and that all of them are aware of specific logistical issues you may encounter. Announce the move in advance and inform them of the dates when the biggest projects should be finished.  Merely synchronizing your employees keeps everyone on the same page by managing expectations, coordinating efforts, and reducing overall hassle.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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