When you make a major investment into your business, you want it to pay off. A quick ROI shows that your business is primed for growth and ready to expand even further.
As far as investments go, there are few as rewarding or as risky as a renovation. Major renovations to your premises can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and may temporarily close your doors.
But making the most out of a renovation is about more than throwing a reopening party. You’ll need to plan every element of your renovation before you bring in the bulldozers or break new ground.
Staying Open During Renovation
A renovation may be just what your business needs to bring in new clients and grow into new markets. Some businesses, like gyms and coffee shops, may even need renovating every decade due to high foot traffic and rising consumer standards. This means you’ll need to create a savvy renovation plan to help minimize losses during your closure.
An effective renovation plan can help you stay open during construction. You don’t necessarily need to close as long as your clients and staff are safe in the space while work is completed.
Plan to complete major work during your quietest time of year. This will minimize your losses and reduce your risk of losing consumers to competitors. Once you decide on a date, tell your employees so folks can plan to find work during the closure. This will help you maintain your reputation as a people-first employer and will ensure that you have plenty of eager staff ready to help when you reopen.
If possible, liaise with your contractor and gather their input on opening/closing the business. They might be able to suggest alternative ways for visitors to enter your premises, and should have a few noise reduction strategies to help mitigate disruption.
Staying open during a renovation might not be an option for you and your business. However, that doesn’t mean you need to turn away potential customers. Get creative, and see if there’s a new way for you to deliver your product or service to consumers. For example, if you run a salon, could you take your equipment to clients’ homes and work there? Or, if you sell donuts, could you start up a delivery service around town?
At some point, renovations will temporarily shut down your business. That doesn’t mean you have to stop selling entirely — just get creative and the rest will take care of itself.
Make Overs vs Renovations
When business is booming, it can be tempting to go all in on renovations. However, many workplaces don’t actually need a full renovation. Some office spaces just need a quick makeover to turn drab cubicles into energizing workstations.
If your business has grown recently, an office makeover may be the best solution. An office makeover can free up space and ensure that your decor aligns with your overall business vision. Even small investments, like potted plants and new paint, can make a huge difference to the vibe of your workspace.
Only pitch in for a renovation if your cost-benefit analysis clearly shows that a renovation will improve your bottom line. Aesthetic changes are easy to make and don’t require construction work. However, if you need to open new offices or raise some ceilings, then a renovation may be the best route forward.
Financing a Renovation
Renovation work usually requires more capital than you have at hand. This means you’ll need to look at loans and other ways to raise finances to pay for upgrades. Fortunately, there are a few different routes you can explore to finance your business renovations:
- Small Business Administration Loans
- Crowdfunding/family and friends
- Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
These options are available to all small business owners and carry varying degrees of risk. Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) is great if your business bolsters the local community and is designed to revitalize underprivileged communities. However, CDFI can be competitive and the government may want a say in how you spend the cash.
Crowdfunding may sound like a risk-averse solution, but be aware that you’ll still need to follow certain laws and restrictions. You’ll need to follow through on your commitments, lest you want to irreparably damage your brand image in the eyes of your community.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in color pallets and decor. However, accessibility is the most important part of your renovation project. Every renovation you complete should improve accessibility and invite more people into the space where you work.
Accessibility is particularly important if you work in tourism or the service industry. Wheelchair tourism is becoming increasingly popular, and folks with mobility disabilities have the right to expect your business to be fully accessible. Major tourist attractions like Disney and the Rocky Mountain National Park are leading the way in wheelchair tourism today, and show that accessibility is profitable, as well as ethical.
A renovation can help you take your business to the next level. Your new workspace will look great, attract talented employees, and impress your consumers. However, you need to ensure that your renovations make financial sense before you start knocking down walls. Bring in professionals, and try to stay open as long as possible. This will minimize your losses and ensure that you continue to serve the community during your closure.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor