Share

12th November, 2019

Interview: “We relocated our business three times in a year”

You’ve probably heard the saying “A change is as good as a holiday”, but for Luke Postlethwaite of The Biomechanics, relocating his business operations has been anything but.

Do the benefits of a business relocation always outweigh the downsides, and can a business owner control the outcome?

Luke Postlethwaite, owner and founder of The Biomechanics, has moved his business location five times in ten years. Perhaps more incredibly, the last three moves occurred in the past 12 months and were not part of the broader business plan.

READ: Your 8-point due diligence checklist prior to leasing commercial real estate

Having heard about Postlethwaite’s experience, The Pulse decided to run and interview with him in a bid to find out what happened and how the business managed to survive such extreme disruption. The following is a transcript of that interview.

What was the main reason for changing location three times in 12 months?

None of the moves this year were made by choice.

We were happy with our location and premise so moving was not part of the plan. It all started with a 48-hour eviction notice.

We literally had 48 hours to move our equipment and find a new location to continue operating. From there, we had a couple of temporary locations before we moved in to our current, permanent location.

What was behind the eviction?

It was primarily a breakdown in communication between the building owner, real estate agent, local council and us – the tenants. The building was deemed ‘unfit for occupation’ by the council and if we continued operating our insurance company would not cover us.

We had no choice but to leave.

How did you keep your business running once you were evicted?

After some quick negotiations with another local business owner, we were able to move in with a gym located within 100 metres of our existing premises. We contacted all our clients and advised them of the situation.

It was a temporary solution that allowed us a little breathing time to work out our options. We had to move to one more temporary location before we found a new, permanent location. Having our 1300 number made it easy to keep being able to answer the phone.

What impact did the unplanned moves have on your business?

Apart from the extreme stress all the staff was under, we didn’t lose customers because we were able to keep delivering our services almost immediately. But we couldn’t attract new clients at that stage.

One of the biggest impacts was having our previous building, which was prominently signed, empty and closed. Many people assumed that we had gone out of business.

We had to spend time renegotiating our supplier contracts with each address change. Also, being in the health industry, we deliver some services that are covered through Medicare and require you to be connected to a landline.

READ: Six signs it’s time to move into bigger, better premises

There’s an upside and a downside to every situation. As business owners, it’s imperative that we look at the world through a glass half full lens. Postlethwaite is no exception and was able to find both positives and negatives in the entire experience. His advice to others is captured below.

Positives:

  • Situate your business in a more ideal environment for its requirements
  • Discover who your best customers are (they’re the ones who will follow you anywhere)
  • Learn more about property law and commercial real estate – each move is an invaluable learning experience

Negatives:

  • Significant costs of a new fit out, signage and marketing to inform of the change of address
  • Locale changes will have temporary impacts for SEO (business location listings)
  • Staff morale takes a bit of a dip
  • Time is taken up managing the move rather than growing the business

Tips for businesses about to move:

  • Factor an extra cost if you’re not on the ground floor
  • Remember you’re more resilient than your think
  • Don’t look at the whole picture, just focus on one step at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Have an outlet away from work to reduce your stress.
  • Always allow 15-20% more than you budget for office fit out as there are always little surprises you didn’t anticipate
  • Keep communicating with staff and clients throughout the move
  • Always advise your insurance companies of the address changes
  • Running a business always has its ups and downs.

Part of the journey for business owners is to continue to find ways to manage the daily challenges. Postlethwaite and his team at The Biomechanics managed three unplanned moves in 12 months (no mean feat) and are still in business to tell the tale.

Subscribe to be updated on all things MYOB

A valid email is required
Congratulations! You've successfully subscribed to our newsletter!
Something went wrong
You're also consenting to receive communications including by email. We value your privacy, please see our Privacy Disclosure Statement for information on how we collect and handle your personal information.