So you’ve been saving for this for a long time, and you’re finally about to renovate your small business. But then, you start having questions that make you scratch your head… First, where to begin? Or, is it really necessary to replace all of your doors? And are you convinced that that flashy, modern look for your lobby the interior designer suggested is truly the right idea?

Sigh. Renovating a small business can be a daunting task, and may pose more questions than can be reasonably answered. Needless to say, it requires significant investments of time and money, and there are many risks associated with it. Unfortunately, many small business owners make mistakes in key areas; mistakes that can later jeopardize the success of their renovation and even destabilize their business.

But, it can pay off, and pay off handsomely. You just need to know what to avoid. So without further ado, here are the five common mistakes you should avoid during your small business renovation.

Not Defining the Purpose of Renovation

Renovating sounds like a good idea at first. But that mentality lacks focus and can make things more difficult than necessary. Renovation without a clear goal, or purpose, is like embarking on a sailing voyage without a destination – after a while, you may find yourself drifting out at open sea with no more food and water to sustain you.

So, this is important. You should define the purpose of your renovation project way before you begin renovating. This will make it easier to form a plan of action, and it will provide you with a laser focus. Before you start the renovation process, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do you want to renovate?
  • What is your main goal?
  • How will this renovation impact your business?
  • What do you hope to achieve after the renovation is accomplished?

Answering these questions will help you define the purpose of the renovation and ensure that it aligns with your business goals. If you’re out of ideas, let us suggest renovating to enhance your customer’s experience of your business, improve your functionality, increase profitability or productivity, and finally, maybe just following current aesthetic trends in your industry. 

Not Planning it Properly

The second mistake is not planning the renovation project properly. Clear, concise, step-by-step planning is crucial for the success of any renovation project. Here are some easy but crucial steps to follow:

  1. Establish the scope of the renovation: This is the most important step. You need to decide exactly which areas of your business you will renovate, which items and amenities will be replaced, and which ones will be just refurbished, cleaned, and so on. Establishing this will help you determine your budget.
  2. Determine your budget: Once you’re all set on what exactly you wish to renovate, you will then decide just how much you are willing to spend on it. During this phase, you’ll find it helpful to consider the practical utility of some assets in your business. Do you need a water cooler in absolutely every room? If yes, replace them all. If not, place a central one, and save some money.
  3. Draft a renovation timeline: Try to draw out a realistic timeline for the project. It helps if you segment it into specific areas or categories. For example, renovating the foyer should be done from May 1 to April 1, and so on.
  4. Hire a team of professionals: Hire a professional contractor or designer to help you plan and execute the renovation.
  5. Obtain the necessary permits: Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary permits and approvals. It may cost you penalties if you overlook something, so cover all legal bases first. 
  6. Order the required materials: Order all necessary materials and equipment well in advance before you start your renovation activities.
  7. Plan and revise plans as necessary: Planning is key to avoiding costly mistakes and ensuring that the renovation is completed on time and within budget. As the saying goes, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. Things will change, so adjust your finances, timelines, and activities accordingly.

Going on a DIY Mission

The third most common mistake is to try and do everything yourself. Thinking you know how to convert length measurements and that you can do it better than the professionals is often misguided, and contrary to your intentions, it may lead you to spend more money rather than less. There’s a saying, “The poor person pays twice.” When renovating, quality is key, as it will ensure a long-lasting look and usability. It is better to pay more, but once in 20 years, than pay less, but every 5 years. 

Risking Quality

This mistake is closely tied to the previous one. You may find yourself tempted to buy the very cheapest of materials or the very cheapest of contractors. But, cutting corners and fitting your business with low-quality materials and items will hurt your business in the long term. Cheap equipment may prove prone to malfunctions, impacting your productivity, or forcing you into expenses for repairs or replacements. Invest in quality materials and professional contractors, and you will ensure yourself with a more durable and productive enterprise.

Focusing on Aesthetics Only

And the last, but not least mistake: focusing solely on aesthetics. 

While aesthetics are important, they should not be the primary or only focus of your small business renovation project. Oftentimes aesthetic items may come with reduced functionality, which can impact both the productivity of your employees and the comfort of your customers, which can in turn hurt your business. A typical example of this is going with fancy, or very stylish and unconventionally-looking furniture such as chairs or lounging couches. Sure, that chair looks like something straight out of Star Trek, but have you tried sitting on it for longer than 15 minutes? 

You get the idea.

When in doubt, always prioritize comfort and functionality over aesthetics. The good news is that there are both visually appealing and very comfortable pieces of furniture out there, so looks need not be sacrificed for the sake of comfort, but as with all things, putting time into research is needed. 

Finally, consider how the renovation can improve the functionality of your business. Plan for areas of increased traffic flow, remove potential obstacles for movement, and maybe you should move the printer to a more spacious area – you get the gist. Now go and renovate – but please avoid these five common mistakes during your small business renovation!