This is the fourth article in a series about powering your small business through 12 areas of internal management.

Americans have always been fairly skilled at compartmentalization. We have specific places for home and work, school and community, worship and sports. Our routines moved us from one spot to the next, giving us a pattern to depend on. We even depend on the places themselves to inform us—by design, layout, and function—of expectations for behavior and interaction. Researchers call this a sense of place. It’s the relationship between people and settings, and the way that different spaces impact us.

Our sense of place has shifted dramatically in 2020. Home, work, school, worship—all these have blurred into one singular space. For small business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s possible that your business and home life had loose boundaries even before the pandemic. But now, it’s more crucial than ever to take a fresh look at the space your business operates in. Your facilities strategy is 1 of the 12 areas of internal management that is key for success.

First, let’s define what is meant by facilities strategy. This includes both the physical and the virtual places your business uses as well as the costs and benefits connected to each one.

Think through the physical space used in your operation, including storefronts, offices, and inventory warehouses. For each one, you’ll want to assess the cost of doing business at that location. Ask questions like:

  • Is this space the right size? Do I need something larger or smaller to be more efficient? Do I need to reconfigure the space so I can consolidate operations under one roof?
  • Is the location right? Would my business have more growth opportunities in a different area of town?
  • What’s the ROI? Should I lease these places or buy?

Questions like these will help you determine the best use of physical space to maximize your financial strength.

In addition, you need to consider your virtual space, which has become much more important this year! Online sales are keeping many small businesses afloat—is your virtual storefront ready for increased traffic? Does your website design make it easy for customers to shop and encourage them to buy? Your virtual workplaces also need to be assessed. What kind of space do your remote workers have to do their jobs? Does that space contribute to or detract from their productivity and socio-emotional health? Is your virtual office equipped to serve in the same capacity as your onsite office? Thinking through all these variables for your virtual space will inform your facilities strategy and help you determine next steps for investing or adjusting for the year ahead.

Whatever your business’s combination of physical and virtual space, your facilities strategy needs to be assessed regularly—and even more so after a major shift like we’ve had this year due to the pandemic. It’s quite possible that expenses that made sense before are no longer needed. And conversely, business operations have changed, triggering new expenses needing those funds. The key is looking at your facilities strategy based on the current environment and your best estimate for what will happen in the months to come. Our sense of place has taken a dramatic shift, so our strategy needs to shift too.

Are you ready to bring this area of internal management into line with your financial management goals? Officeheads is ready to help! We give entrepreneurs and creatives the financial tools, processes, and team needed to move their business ahead of the competition and onto solid financial footing. Reach out today to learn how we can get started.