While it is best to start with a situational awareness of the current surroundings before creating a vision, team, and timeline for the future, the reality is, everyone starts this process midstream. Why? Well, take a look at your own company as an example. Chances are if you are reading this, you already occupy some form of property – whether it be big or small, leased or owned – so today we’re going to focus on how to start from where you are with step one: understanding the state of your company and its real estate.
Let’s start with your current building. Do you lease or own this facility? Many entrepreneurs began their company with modest surroundings, possibly even in their garage. Once they were big enough, they ran out of space and expanded. At some point, they may have even purchased a warehouse.
The growth pattern from this point usually takes shape depending upon where a company finds its best return on invested capital. Some find that they are better reinvesting profits within their business for continued growth, others find it better to invest in additional locations to cover a larger territory. Regardless of which direction your growth takes you, it is important to have all the right information before making a decision.
A Real-Time Needs Assessment helps an organization determine gaps that are preventing them from reaching their goals. By analyzing current conditions and looking ahead towards the desired conditions, a company is able to identify what needs need to be addressed. As a result, the company can develop an action plan that helps them prioritize, make improvements, and better allocate existing resources.
When it comes to performing a needs assessment for a real estate project, these are the types of questions to consider:
- What size is our current space, in terms of total square footage?
- What is the breakdown of office square footage to warehouse square footage?
- What is the property’s condition?
- What is the property’s value?
- What components of the building and the operation are working well in the office? In the warehouse? In the truck court? With the parking?
- What isn’t working so well?
- What are our needs in the immediate future?
- What will we need within a few years?
- How are we going to pay for it?
Pro Tip: Conduct a Real-Time Needs Assessment at the beginning of your project; this will help identify any gaps between the current conditions and desired outcomes, allowing for better planning to meet your goals.