Growing your business

5 Top Tips for your small business refurbishment

02 August 2018
6 minute read

Alex Woods

It’s no secret that breathing new life into a property can do wonders for business. As business owners, you might be looking to refurbish or renovate your premises as part of a rebrand, or to upgrade outdated decor and bring in new features and equipment. Another reason could be to cater for emerging trends or to meet new demands from customers.

Either way, refurbishing or renovating your business can be an effective way to keep up with what your customers want as well as keeping your business feeling fresh! Here’s how to keep the process as simple and seamless as possible:

1. Take your time to plan


When it comes to planning your refurbishment, never rush it. This stage can in fact be most time consuming, but once it’s done you’ll have the foundations set for all your upcoming work.

The first thing you’ll need to do is assess the condition of your premises. While things may look fine on the outside, beware as this isn’t always the case. To accurately identify what needs to be done, you may need to get a chartered surveyor in to assess your premises. They can then report on issues such as damp, rot or drainage problems. Although it may be a pain to have to fix unexpected problems, this is the best time to do it as you will already be carrying out changes across your premises. This is also a good opportunity to see what needs to be done and what can be put on hold.

If you are making significant changes such as building an extension, you will need to check your planning permissions. This will mean submitting an application to your local planning authority which you can find out more about here. Remember this can often take some time so it’s best to get your application in as soon as possible!

2. Design for your customers


Whilst drawing up designs and plans for your refurbishment, you should make sure to keep your customers at the forefront of your mind. Be careful not to get carried away and treat this as a vanity project - remember, your wants don’t necessarily reflect the needs of your customer! A good way to do this is by carrying out some research and getting some insights into what your customers would like to see. You could do this by sending out a quick survey or asking your followers some simple questions on your social media channels.

You should also redefine your target audience - does your business match your clientele? Do you need to make it more trendy or more family-friendly? This will give you a clearer picture on what needs to be done to make your customers happy!

3. Budget for everything


When it comes to budgeting, it’s wise to overcompensate where you can and account for absolutely everything you can think of. This includes hidden costs such as VAT, professional fees and Building Control fees which aren’t always included in quotes. It’s also a good idea to keep a little budget aside for those unexpected expenses that crop up along the way!

As well as budgeting for things like materials, equipment and manual labour, you should also think about the financial impact this will have on your business and trading. Draw up some realistic timescales around your refurbishment (your contractors can help to give you an idea around this) so that you can see how long your business is likely to be out of action for. After all, a refurbishment can take weeks or even months so you will need to account for your loss of earnings and how this will affect your overall financial situation. To help lessen the burden, try to plan your refurbishment during quieter times and off-peak seasons and avoid clashing with any big events.

4. Choose the right contractors


It’s tempting to carry out work yourself to get the job done on your own terms. However, the potential for something to go wrong just isn’t worth it. This is where you will need to get yourself a good contractor who you can work well with. Doing a little research can go a long way - a simple search for contractors in your local area means you can read reviews online. Although online reviews are a great place to start, it’s even better if you can get references from their previous clients.

You should also shop around and get at least three quotes so you know roughly how much you should be paying. Once you have found contractors that you’re happy with, get everything drawn up in writing in case there are any problems or miscommunications along the way. One of the first questions you will need to ask is how much work they have on so you know when they will get around to you!

5. Be smart with funding


A refurbishment or renovation is no small task and will require funds to turn those dreams into a reality. Although the thought of spending a significant sum of money can be really daunting, there are many flexible options these days to make paying for your refurbishment a lot more manageable. One option is a Business Cash Advance which allows you to pay back the funds through a percentage of your card payment takings. Plus, there are no hidden surprises such as APR, interest terms or varying fees.

And finally . . .

Always make sure you communicate with your customers what your plans are - whether that’s through social media, your website or your physical premises. You should also let them know well in advance when you plan to close, what exciting changes they can expect to see and when you will be re-opening. As well as keeping your customers in the loop, you will also be creating a sense of buzz and anticipation around your upcoming refurbishment!


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