By Devon Maresco
As small businesses start to get bigger, so does their footprint. They go from a couple of offices to a full floor, then multiple floors to multiple locations, and so on. As the physical footprint increases, so does the need to understand it and allocate space to the core areas of the business driving growth. That’s where SMB stack planning comes into play.
SMB stack planning allows growing businesses to see, at a macro scale, the space that belongs to them and how they’re using it. It’s an important tool in optimizing what’s there and planning for the future. Whether from a cost or utilization standpoint, the stack plan provides SMBs the context they need to emphasize the most important parts of their growing business—and do it in a healthy way that doesn’t hamper the balance sheet.
Here’s a look at SMB stack planning, what it means to small businesses, and how to capitalize on the insights and context a stack plan offers.
What is small and midsize business (SMB) stack planning?
Stack plans for SMBs are a true top-down look at space allocation as a percentage of a whole. For example, looking at a stack plan, the business might be able to tell that 24% of its total space allocation goes to conference rooms. Or, it might see that hotel desks account for 56% of the total lease cost. These types of space and cost figures, juxtaposed against the whole of a workplace, give SMBs insights into the ability of the workplace to meet the needs of the business.
Stack planning also gives SMBs control over space allocation. If you look at a stack plan and discover that HR occupies 34% of total space but accounts for 14% of total operational space demands, you know you’ve got an imbalance. These types of insights allow SMBs to adjust and reallocate space to better support mission-critical operations.
Speaking of mission-critical operations, the needs of SMBs change as they scale. A stack plan allows administrators to make sure space allocation is proportionate to that growth. If you need to increase sales staff by 15% next quarter, it’s easy to look at a stack plan and assess whether there’s space for these employees—or if the allocation needs to change.
Benefits of stack planning for SMBs
Assessing and addressing the stack plan provides numerous benefits to SMBs—especially those in growth mode with changing needs. Businesses that understand their space allocation are better-equipped to coordinate facilities around operational demands. Adjusting the stack plan in alignment with the business’ needs results in a slew of benefits that help SMBs succeed:
- More efficient use of facilities, from both cost and operations standpoints
- Better understanding of space allocation and utilization
- Purposeful allocation of space to support the needs of employees
- Context for broader facilities data such as utilization and occupancy
- Insights and opportunities to repurpose or reallocate space
- Smarter spatial layout of facilities, to streamline accessibility
The most important benefit stack planning affords SMBs is the ability to recognize where space supports growth—and where opportunities exist to drive it. Small businesses relying on facilities as a foundational aspect of operations have the ability to shape a workplace that continually meets the needs, expectations, and demands of employees. The result is a more concerted approach to growth.
How does SMB stack planning software help?
To stack plan effectively, SMBs need access to the stack itself: the digital representation of their space allocation across facilities. The simplest way to access this data and the visual depiction of the stack is via SMB stack planning software. Software makes it easy for businesses to gather, aggregate, and visualize the real estate stack—and act on it.
The most important element of stack planning software is its ability to adjust based on new variables and inputs. For example, if a company wants to model expanding its facilities, reorganize space, or change its workplace concepts, it can feed that information into the software to see how the stack plan adjusts. This, in turn, ties into cost modeling, utilization metrics, and other important facility data. It’s a reliable way to understand and model facility changes before they actually take effect.
For growing SMBs, keeping tabs on the stack plan is imperative. As space demands shift and the company’s footprint grows, it’s important to understand how facilities calibrate. Stack planning software keeps this data readily available and provides it in context, through a variety of lenses including cost, space type, and general allocation. It’s invaluable as SMBs strive to stay apprised of their workplace.
Stack planning lends context to SMB facilities
No matter what phase of growth a business is in, it’s important to look at the next one and the steps needed to get from here to there. As SMBs scale, they rely on facilities to enable growth by supporting the segments of business driving that growth. A stack plan lends important context to facilities: how much space there is, how the business uses it, and where there’s opportunity to use it to fuel new growth.
Stack planning software might seem like an unnecessary expense for an SMB that’s constantly outgrowing its facilities. But, in fact, this is exactly what makes it a worthwhile one. The more oversight SMBs have when it comes to space, the more effective they can be in capitalizing on it.
Keep reading: SMB Space Utilization