Need a bigger business space? Consider these 10 questions.

Thinking about expanding your business facility? Ready to explore financing options? Lenders want to work with you — but they must avoid excessive risk. So, to feel comfortable that your project makes financial sense, they’ll need details about your plans.

To prepare for their questions, think about the following key aspects of your project. And remember: If this up-front work seems daunting, Shelter can help. Contact us for a free consultation. We’ve helped many small businesses create exciting, efficient, effective new spaces. We’re eager to share our expertise with you.

1. How much space do I need?
Consider not only your current operations, but also what you expect to need down the road. If you don’t want to outgrow your new space in a few years, make sure your building plans fit your business projections.

2. Should I remodel an existing building or build a new facility?
It’s natural to assume that outfitting an existing structure will cost less than new construction. But depending on your needs — and the state of the space you’re working with — renovation might not be the most economically efficient solution. Remember: Compromises you make by not customizing your facility may come at a cost.

3. What’s the best location for my business?
That might depend, in part, on the needs and whereabouts of your customers, employees, suppliers and/or business partners. It’s important to weigh those factors as you determine the optimal spot to set up shop.

4. Based on my operations, staff numbers and anticipated visitors, how many restrooms will I need? What about parking spaces? And emergency exits?
As you envision your new space, it’s easy to forget these essential elements. But if you don’t take them into account, you risk making plans that will be insufficient for your needs.

5. How might building and zoning codes affect my plans?
Having your heart set on a particular part of town doesn’t make sense if legal requirements limit — or prohibit — the work you intend to do there. Learning about building and zoning codes will help you find a suitable spot — and reduce some potential complications that can arise during the planning process.

6. Are my plans a good match for my customers? My employees? My brand?
Your facility must serve those who buy your products or services — and those who work there. That might mean seeking proximity to amenities, such as public transportation. You also might want to consider whether being near competitors is a benefit or a burden. In addition, it’s important to think about how your space will reflect — and reinforce — your brand. Depending on how you want the world to see your company, your perfect site might be a downtown office complex, a trendy historic neighborhood or a suburban industrial park.

7. How long will everything take?
There’s no easy answer. But the key to predicting your project’s duration is planning ahead as much as possible — and anticipating as many potential obstacles as you can.

8. How will my expansion generate additional revenue? How much?
Sure, your project will cost money. But you expect it to help you make more. Lenders want information that will help them determine if the financial rewards of your expansion will justify its costs.

9. What experts can help me succeed? An architect? A contractor? A real estate agent? An accountant? An attorney?
Each of those professionals could play a key role in your expansion project’s success. So don’t be afraid to start consulting with them sooner, rather than later. Often, their insights are most valuable early on, as you shape your plans. If you wait a while before bringing in outside experts, the value they can contribute might be constrained by parameters already locked into place.

10. Finally — based on all the time, work, space, and legal requirements my project will entail, how much will this cost? Can I afford it? Will my lender think so?
The best way to answer those questions is to do the legwork described above. Think about the aspects of your project we’ve touched on here. The more information you compile, the more accurate a picture you can present to lenders about not only the cost of your expansion — but the benefits it will bring.

For help with your expansion plans, contact Shelter for a free consultation.

For a more detailed discussion of this topic, check out our free two-part webinar: Positioning Your Business for Expansion.

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