You can’t predict that a major pandemic is going to show up and completely flip your business upside down and you also can’t predict how you will come out looking on the other side.  What you can do now is make a few really great and timely decisions that will make your business better, faster and stronger for future growth.  

In 2008 when I started my Real Estate business I watched businesses unable to make any dramatic moves with confidence due to many factors including inventory, technology and just an overall insecurity that comes with tough times.  Office managers where busy trying to figure out how to gather documents and track records while sales people were still stopping by the office daily for reports and supplies.  Owners were also working under the mindset that a productive employee must be at the office whether its sales people, project managers or back office services so the thought in general at the time was that people worked at work each day and thats just how it was.  It wasn’t bad and it wasn’t something that anyone could have ever thought was going to have such an impact on how we operate a business and with regards to a few very forward thinking and crazy company owners, we hardly knew anyone that really worked remotely.  

Well things changed after that and quickly due to owners desperation to figure out how to keep doors open while hanging on to the best talent and creating value for maybe less pay or fewer standard benefits.  We watched the culture of job security start looking like flexibility and independence as much as vacation days and commute times.  So for the next 10 years company leadership have spent looking for better ways to do what they do. We created technology that made it easy to track work as well as communicate with clients like CRM’s and electronic signature products.  We also accepted the mindset that employees may not be in the office a day or five and as long as they were completing tasks and moving the ball forward things are ok.  

So in short what does this mean for you?  It means that the best tools have been available for a decade to make your space as efficient and necessary as possible.   Below are a few questions to ask yourself about the space you are currently in and to find some options.

  1.  Is it really necessary to have a space for everyone everyday?  I closed my real estate location because it was empty except for a random meeting here and there.  Its more economical to host a company meeting in a hourly meeting room or restaurant space.  I can buy lunch, dinner, drinks and entertainment and host a better meeting then ever at my office conference room in one part of town.  You might be surprised at the available rentable event space. 
  2. Is there technology available that can keep you as connected remotely?  Having 3 receptionists at a front desk doesn’t mean you are more efficient.  Can two of their daily tasks be completed from a home office like record keeping, reporting and transaction management?  If you can reduce just one space by 2/3rd’s just think what we can do throughout the building.  
  3. Are you storing materials so your employees don’t have to?  I am blown away by shipping and deliveries today for anything from a box of paper clips to an air compressor, all which is essentially available within a day if not same day anywhere around the country.  So why are we storing usable materials and why are employees coming to a location to pick them up?  Can you provide your staff with small amounts of supplies or an online ordering like Amazon to keep them.  Im thinking cleaning companies with a warehouse and a wall of shelves with supplies that an employee has to drive to and pickup.  Or the Engineering company that fills their back room with plotters and surveying tools.  Are these things that can be stored on vehicles or outsourced for a small fee?  I think so and I also think it can be done very well. 
  4. Are you in the right neighborhood?  Whether you are a retail business, professional services or trucking company you need to be sure you are in the location necessary to do business but not over indulge.  Can you move your business to a smaller space and maybe a less expensive space and still grow your business?  I am not a big fan of the mindset that you have to have the nicest office to impress a client or you have to have the most expensive location to get the right traffic.  While this is the hardest to predict it can make a huge difference in the monthly cost of the space and give you more money for marketing, payrolls and profits.  

These are some big decisions and major moves for a business and I understand how overwhelming it can be to be taking this on after we are all just trying to get opened again.  But understand that this time we have so many more tools, resources and ideas that its a better possibility and a road that beens travelled.  You don’t have to do anything someone else hasn’t but you should because someone else will.  I want everyone to walk into their business today and have a look around, spend some time studying the space and decide if maybe a smaller more efficient space is needed or a less expensive more productive building could do just the job the one you are in now can.  Good Luck!

Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 10 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage.  He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments.  Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area.  Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time  volunteers with Westfield Youth Assistance and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.