Moving is hard, and no one enjoys it. But sometimes, you just have to move. That’s where we were 10 years ago when we decided to move to our current location in Davidson County, N.C. It wasn’t that we wanted to move – we had to move in order to grow.
As we celebrate 10 great years here, I’ve been looking back at that big move, and it occurred to me that we learned some lessons from that experience that might help other business people out there who are in the same boat we were. So, let me tell you a little about our move and how we did it, because it all worked out really well.
Lesson One – don’t move until you have to. A lot of companies have some success and immediately want to move into shiny new offices with a great view that cost them a lot more money. But that wasn’t us. We had been located in downtown Winston-Salem since 1983 – 24 years at that point – and we had been very successful. We grew our facilities by acquiring adjacent properties. By 2007, however, that was no longer an option. We realized that we couldn’t keep growing if we stayed where we were, so we started looking for a new home.
Lesson Two – go where you’re wanted. One of Will’s good friends is NASCAR team owner and entrepreneur Richard Childress, and Richard encouraged Will to relocate to Davidson County, where he and his businesses are located. Will got in touch with the folks at the Davidson County Economic Development office, and they were more than happy to help us find the right location and even offered us some tax incentives. Wherever you’re planning to move, it’s likely the city or county or even the state has economic development people ready and willing to work with you. Finding the place that’s most eager to have you is smart business.
Lesson Three – think way ahead. We knew we would need space to grow, so we bought nine acres in a business park, with the idea that we may not need it all at the time, but it would give us room to add on. Which we have – over the last ten years we’ve built two warehouses on our property. We also made our primary facility much bigger than it needed to be at the time, because we anticipated growing. That was also a good decision – over the last ten years, we’ve doubled the amount of equipment and personnel we have.
Lesson Four – get everyone involved. We announced our move by gathering all our employees together and telling them about the move in person. During the planning of our new facility, we asked our group managers for their input on how their part of the building should be designed. We then put the manager of each group in charge of planning and organizing how and when that group’s equipment would be moved to our new location. It was a team effort all around, and that made everyone feel better about the move and our new home,
Lesson Five – plan, plan, plan. For Will and I this was a very personal undertaking because this is our business, so we put our heart and soul into planning our new facility. We thought out every aspect of the design, even drawing the entire facility to 1/64 scale and using toy trucks to figure out how much room we would need to turn them around. Whether you’re starting from scratch or re-fitting an existing building, take the time to think through everything, because you’ll (hopefully) be there for years.
Lesson Six – work closely with the builder. Your new home should be the way you want it. I was in charge of choosing and designing the décor of our offices, and I worked hand-in-hand with our builder to make sure every aspect was right, from the finishes on the walls to the fixtures in the bathrooms. Similarly, Will worked with them to make sure our workspaces were exactly the way we wanted and needed them to be.
Yes, moving was hard – all in all, the whole process of designing, building and moving into our new facility took almost a year. But now, ten years later, I can honestly say it was it was worth it. We’ve had a great ten years here in Davidson County, and we look forward to many, many more. This is our home now, and we love it here.