There comes a point where every business needs to freshen up its look and for the majority, it takes more than just a quick lick of paint. A tired looking business premises can give the wrong impression to clients and customers and how your premises is perceived by others is hugely important. Appearance matters, after all.
You would not want scruffy employees engaging with your customers, and similarly, you don’t want an exhausted looking site to put potential clientele off. For businesses that operate within the hospitality industry, appearance is especially crucial. There is such a high importance placed on maintaining your business premises, but it can take a lot of hard work and money to get it to exactly where you want it to be.
Your cocktail bar might offer the best strawberry daiquiri in town, but if customers are put off the moment they walk through the door, they might not even get around to ordering from your establishment at all.
For businesses that see a decrease in profits due to seasonality during the summer months, now is the best time to complete your refurbishment. Your small business can focus on getting ready for the winter months whilst business is slow.
Equally, if your business thrives all year round, you can take advantage of the good weather in the summer and take business outside where possible.
So, if you have set your mind to executing the perfect refurb but are not sure where to start, check out our informative tips in this summer refurb guide.
Prepare Well Ahead of Time
The reality is that a refurb is always going to cause some disruptions. Building works are never enjoyable and things tend to get a little noisy… but damage control is where your focus needs to be. Rather than doing substantial building works over many broken up days for a month or two, consider closing your business for a week and completing all extensive work during that period instead.
For the things that can be completed during opening hours, section off areas within your premises so that your small business can still make money whilst work is taking place. For example, if you are a hospitality business, you can close off areas inside the building, make the garden the centre of attention and create an outdoor seating space for your customers.
But for businesses that rely on providing its customers with secure, private areas, such as solicitors firms or counselling services, then hiring out an office space temporarily will be an essential. Planning ahead is vital if your business is to continue with normal day-to-day operations without much disturbance. By preparing for the disruptions, you will be able to save time by being more efficient and likely even costs too as you'll be allowing yourself additional time to find pricing that suits you.
Carry out an in-depth inspection of your building prior to starting your refurb so that you are not greeted with any nasty surprises. There is nothing more frustrating than organising for suppliers to come in and complete important tasks for your refurb, only for you to discover on the day that you have a problem with penetrating damp or an unruly infestation to take care of.
In order to avoid this, contact commercial property surveyors well in advance so that they can conduct all the required checks in order to provide you with a building report. If they highlight any issues, you will then have plenty of time to make the necessary changes before your refurb process begins.
Make A Budget and Adhere To It
Accepting that a commercial refurbishment won’t come cheap is the first place to start but spending frivolously without a budget in mind is never the best approach. Planning ahead will mean that you’re able to get a good idea of the overall costs, but it will also mean that you can shop around and get the best deals.
However, it is important to remember that opting for quality materials is a necessity if you plan on having a refurb that is of a high standard. There’s an old saying that is apt with many things in life, but especially when it comes to your business refurb… remember, when you buy cheap, you buy twice.
You first need to address exactly why you are wanting a commercial refurb. Is it that you have grown vastly in popularity and now need to cater for more customers? Do you need to make space for additional staff members as part of this year’s growth ambitions? Or does the whole premises just look tired and unkept, so you’ve decided to do a major overhaul? Once you know the reasons behind the refurb, you can then accurately prepare a budget that caters for the needs of the business.
Address Any Legal Obstacles
If your refurb is mainly some new furniture and a splash of paint, you won’t need to think about legalities. But if you plan to make changes that are bigger in nature, you will undoubtedly need to investigate and even get planning permission.
All commercial properties are separated into different ‘use classes’ as per UK legislation and these classes determine what a particular property can be used for. If you plan to add a service to your business offering, then it is always important to first consult on whether planning permission is necessary as this could trigger a change of use.
Planning permission itself is only a requirement if the work that is being carried out falls within the statutory definition of ‘development’ but structural alterations, rebuilding and construction will all need planning permission prior to the work starting.
Access Funding in Advance
Summer might be the best time for you to do a business refurb due to a lack of demand for your products or service, but that also means access to less money. If you have not managed to save the necessary cash to fulfil your refurb plans, external funding from lenders will mean your SME is not held back.
If you want to start your refurb in the next month or two, saving enough to make that happen might not be within your reach. But there are various types of commercial finance that will enable you to do everything you want to your premises.
For SMEs that have money tied up in unpaid invoices, Invoice Finance is a hugely viable option to help pay for that all-important refurb. A loan is provided against the value of your unpaid voices, so the waiting game is eliminated meaning your business can focus on progression and what step comes next.
If your business takes card payments, a Business Cash Advance is a great way of borrowing money to fund your refurb without the worry of rigid monthly repayments. Unlike traditional business loans, our Business Cash Advance allows businesses to pay back a percentage of what they make. So, before we advance your SME the money, we agree a repayment split and take into consideration the slower months caused by seasonality in our overall offer.
At Nucleus Commercial Finance, we strive to create bespoke funding solutions for SMEs in need of finance, so after filling out a quick application, you might find that we offer you funding that encapsulates various products instead of just one.
Create A Welcoming Area for All Customers
Creating ambience is essential as you want customers to look forward to returning to your business and remember that first impressions count. For most small businesses, the reception/waiting area will be the first port of call for customers and that is where their experience begins.
An attractive reception or waiting area can make all the difference to your SME. For restaurants, a warm place for customers to wait with a drink when tables are occupied is a fantastic way to retain custom rather than losing out to competitors. For salons, a seating area for guests with magazines and a glass of prosecco is a great way to give your customers the luxury treatment they deserve. A few small changes can make all the difference to your profit margins.
Find the Right People to Make It Happen
Using high quality materials for your refurb is a big part of getting an outcome you’re happy with, but another equally important aspect is getting the right people to make it happen. Cutting costs by hiring cheap builders might seem like a good idea right now, but long term it will only cost you more.
Do your research, get numerous quotes before deciding to go ahead and ask to see examples of other commercial contracts they have completed. Take inspiration from other businesses that have pulled off quirky or memorable additions and create a talking point around your property. A flower wall and giant pieces of furniture are all great ways to get people taking photos and talking about your SME - it's all about creating a buzz around your brand.
For more SME advice and tips, read our related posts below. If you are experiencing cash flow challenges or want to realise your business growth plans, get in touch with our team of Funding Specialists today on 020 7839 9451 or email [email protected]