Literally Speaking: Steps for Building Your Business from the Ground Up

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You want to start building your business — literally. Where do you start? Well, you know you need a construction company but beyond that, you’re dumbfounded. Here’s what expert contractors can teach you about building your building.

Start With Your Goals

Why do you want a building anyway? Do you need it or can you continue leasing what you have? If you need your own building, then consider that you will need a lot of capital to get the project going. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but you do need to be aware of the fact that buildings are inherently expensive to build.

Once you’ve figured out why you want to build a building, it’s time to start interviewing engineers. According to Cochran Engineering, you should get several bids, and your engineering firm should have a firm grasp on project management processes to help you through this.

You do need to have a general idea of what you want. But, your engineering firm should be able to help you fill in a lot of the “blanks.” You’ll want to get a single point of contact for them, and stay in touch regularly throughout the project cycle.

Make sure you discuss your budget.

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Your Budget

This is probably the most important aspect of the design process. Without a firm budget, you will run over. You will probably run over anyway, but having a firm budget, and a project scope outlined, makes this much less likely.

Your budget should be based on how much money you actually have to spend, not how much you’d like to spend or how much you could hypothetically spend.

Discuss realistic budget proposals with your CFO and your engineering firm.

Choosing A Location

Choosing a location is probably the most important decision you can make. And, it requires very precise planning and research. You need the ability to look at demographics, assessing your supply chain, scoping the completion, and staying on budget. You also need to know your state’s laws and taxes, and pretty much everything about the building and construction process.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in construction, but it does mean you need to be aware of the basics, and probably some of the specifics.

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Location

Your location may play a key factor in your continued success. Like anything, it all depends on your business model. If customers and clients come to your building, then location is one of the most important things you need to decide on. If customers do not come to your office or building, it’s a secondary issue, but not completely irrelevant. Remember, your employees still need to make the hike to your company.

A few things to consider:

  • Brand Image – Is it important and does the location project the image you want for your company?

Competition – What is your competition? Are the other businesses around you complementary or competing?

  • Local Labor Market – How easy or difficult is it to get to your building? Does the area have potential employees? Are you designing parking suitable for future growth? What will their commute be like?
  • Plan for Future Growth – Do you have room to grow? If not, do you need it?
  • Proximity to Suppliers – How close are your suppliers? Will they have a difficult time getting to your office?
  • Safety – What’s the safety of the building? Consider the local crime rate based on local crime reporting and maps. Will employees be safe at your building, and in the parking lot at night?
  • Hidden Costs – What needs to be done to make your building “business ready?” Do you need to do any renovations? Do you need to install cables, power lines, plumbing, an IT system and secure network infrastructure?
  • Taxes – What does the local tax system look like?
  • Minimum Wage – What’s the minimum wage in the area where you want to build? While you have to follow federal minimum wage, you also need to follow state wage laws, which may be higher. Can you afford it?

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Research the area, and your building requirements. Talk to other businesses in the area. Is it business-friendly? You may be surprised to learn that the local government is taking action to keep out new businesses and buildings for any number of reasons. Usually, these reasons have to do with environmental concerns.

You’ll want to know this in advance so that there are no surprises later on.

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