The global financial crisis and recession haven’t exactly been a boon for small businesses. But one area where the turmoil has created opportunities for entrepreneurs is in renting real estate space.
“Overall, this has become a tenant’s market,” says Stuart Siegel, executive managing director for real estate broker Grubb & Ellis in New York City. “There are probably more small businesses that are nimble and able to act quickly during this crisis. They can capture landlords who are vulnerable and get anxious to make a really terrific deal.”
While the standard adage for businesses that want to rent space is that bigger is better, “We are seeing a lot more activity with smaller tenants now than larger ones,” Siegel says. “A lot of big companies are downsizing, cutting costs and putting space on the market for sublease.”
As a result: “Rental prices are coming down across the board from top triple A office buildings in New York City to strip malls and freestanding office buildings in smaller markets,” he says. “Tenants can often make numerous offers to see which landlord is the most vulnerable. It’s similar to the residential market, where vulture buyers are seeing who bites.”
Sherry Cushman, a senior vice president for CB Richard Ellis in Washington, D.C., who helps law firms finds space all around the country, has a client that wants to open an office in New York City with 10,000 square feet of space.
“When they started looking eight months ago, they couldn’t touch anything for below $70 per square foot, and most of what they were looking at was $90 to $100 per square foot,” she says. “Now the range is $50 to $70.”
The national office vacancy rate jumped to 14.8 percent at the end of last year from 13 percent 12 months earlier, according to Grubb & Ellis researchers. And they see things getting worse.
“Expect leasing market fundamentals to deteriorate more sharply in 2009 in response to very difficult economic conditions,” they wrote in a recent report. That, of course, is good news for small businesses looking for space.
“The opportunities are there for small businesses,” Siegel says. “Landlords that hadn’t contemplated pursuing smaller tenants are now looking to diversify and are willing to take small tenants in previously large spaces that are now divided into smaller ones. The number of small spaces tenants can consider in their searches has increased.”
Whether you are looking for a one-year lease or a 10-year lease, you have a good chance of getting your wish. “In good times, landlords could say, ‘We’re only doing five-year leases.’ The strong demand could get them that, and they wouldn’t have to negotiate,” says Jake Harrington, director of business development for On-Site.com, which helps landlords screen tenants.
Now things are different. “My associates are working with small and big businesses,” says Rob Cochran, managing principal of Colliers Pinkard’s Charlotte, N.C., office. “Maybe they have two to three years left on their lease. They can renegotiate for a longer-term commitment. Now is a good time for that.” If you’re a startup, you’ll want to negotiate as short a lease as possible, since you don’t know how long you’re going to be around. On the other hand, if your business is thriving, you should consider locking in today’s cheap rent for a long-term lease.
“Don’t take the price of the lease at face value,” says Rich Sloan, co-founder of StartUpNation, a Web site that assists small businesses. “Landlords are hungry to earn revenue from properties — hungrier than conceivably they’ve ever been because of the difficult economy. Try to lock in lower-than-advertised rent.”
What landlords like to do is offer tenant improvement dollars, subsidizing renovations for a space, or a period of free rent. “That way word doesn’t have to get out that rent is going down,” even though effectively it is, Siegel points out. You also may be able to negotiate a limit to future rent increases.
With all the monetary stimulus the economy is receiving, inflation likely will accelerate in coming years. Often lease rates rise in synch with the consumer price index. “Tenants should put a cap on that, saying annual increases aren’t to exceed 2 (percent) to 3 percent,” Harrington says. “You don’t want to get stuck with an 8 percent increase.” You often can negotiate an option to expand your space if you need more down the road. And you may be able to get the landlord to pay for management fees, janitorial expenses, maintenance and repairs. Sloan suggests negotiating for perks like parking spots, garbage removal and snow-clearing services if you’re in the north.
“This is more of a problem because landlords are concerned about the risk” of tenants failing, given the recession, Cochran says. “People are really looking at credit risk. If you’re already in a space, it’s probably not an issue.” But if you’re taking new space, be prepared to pay about 10 percent of your lease total as a deposit. “Landlords will typically require a letter of credit, and small businesses may be required to make a personal guarantee” to pay the deposit, CBRE’s Cushman says.
Small business tenants often aren’t aware of how important the security deposit is to a landlord, Siegel says. “Landlords don’t want to pay tenant improvement dollars and make other concessions and then get the space handed back to them six months later,” he points out. One exception to this rule: subleases. Companies that have too much space and thus must rent some out to other firms often aren’t in a position to ask for more than one or two months’ rent as a security deposit.
“It’s important for the tenant to be educated,” Siegel says. “Now is the time to see a lot of space.” He recommends working with a broker. “Very often small business owners feel they can find space and negotiate a lease on their own,” he says. “But I’m not sure they understand things like how a personal guarantee differs from a good guy guarantee.
“There are many nuances, such as escalator clauses, renewals, expansions and possible termination rights, where terms can be favorable to you in this economy if you know how to ask. Without a broker, you run the risk of the landlord taking advantage of you. A good broker and a good attorney will protect a tenant.” You don’t have to spring for a lawyer until you’re ready to sign a lease, Siegel says. But he emphasizes the importance of using a real estate attorney. “Attorneys who handle regular corporate legal work might not be the right counsel for a complicated commercial lease,” he points out.
That’s especially important in this economy, where many major real estate holders are taking it on the chin. “The creditworthiness of a building owner is very important,” Cushman says. “Are they restructuring a loan they can’t repay? Are they in some kind of trouble? It used to be that you’d just look at the tenant. Now you have to look at both sides of the table. In the larger deals, we almost always run a credit check on the owner.”
This is a great time to be looking for space. “I don’t think you’ll see opportunities this significant for a long time to come,” Siegel says. “It’s hard to time the market precisely, similar to the stock market. But a time when the market is in transition and landlords are nervous is a good time to act. A lot of people don’t know what the values really are for their spaces. So it’s a neat time for tenants to strike very attractive deals.”
This research provides proven practices to encourage collaboration and allow remote working.
For application leaders responsible for enhancing employee effectiveness as part of digital workplace programs:
By 2020, organizations that support a choose-your-own-work-style culture will boost employee retention rates by more than 10%.
By 2021, the increase in the number of employees who prefer to work remotely will allow organizations to support 40% more workers in the same amount of space as they use today.
By 2020, 25% of organizations will have a catalog of smart workspaces maintained by IT, real estate and facilities management.
The kinds of workspaces an organization’s leadership provides its workers speak volumes about how much they value their employees. Numerous studies explore the relationship between the physical space and the employee experience. 1 They establish that employees who enjoy their physical work environments are more engaged, productive and happy. Nearly 7% of workers said that physical workspace would be a major factor in considering leaving for a position outside their current organization. 2 An engaged workforce is pivotal for a successful transformation to a digital business.
Gartner analysis of digital workplace initiatives in numerous organizations reflects the growing importance of workspaces in the digital workplace program (see “Global Digital Workplace Programs Exemplify Promise and Progress Worthy of Emulating”). Crafting digital workplaces that enhance employee effectiveness requires the collaborative efforts of IT, HR and real estate/facility management (RE/FM) leaders (see “Build Your ‘A Team’ to Lead Successful Digital Workplace Programs”). The digital workplace is intertwined with the physical workspace. Digital experiences are mediated through apps on devices, and devices are part of the physical workspace. Increasingly, their form and position in the physical workspace impact the employee experience.
Traditionally, both IT and RE/FM leaders focused on the legacy of the “one-size-fits-all” approach for both space and technology. The gray cubicle was standard issue regardless of the work people were doing. IT and RE/FM had separate budgets and were populated by people with very different skills.
Today, application leaders who understand the changing business context of “office space” are better able to respond to technology service demands — network access, mobile applications, digital signage and so on — while contributing to a more-engaging employee experience. Digital workers can literally work from any place and at any time. IT is the technology enabler; the RE/FM teams drive the design of the space. All are working toward a shared business outcome that cannot be realized unless they pursue it together.
Recognition is growing that application and RE/FM leaders jointly own the responsibility for combining the virtual and physical to create an environment where employees are excited to work (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Impacts and Top Recommendations for Application Leaders
Source: Gartner (December 2017)
Include Well-Designed Workspaces in Digital Workplace Programs to Attract Talent, Inspire Creativity and Increase Collaboration
Space design has a powerful impact on the people who occupy it. The physical attributes of space can encourage behaviors such as collaboration and creativity, or discourage them. Unfortunately, only 11% of respondents to the 2017 Gartner Digital Workplace Survey said they were completely satisfied with their workspace (the mean level of satisfaction was 5, where 1 = completely dissatisfied and 7 = completely satisfied — see Figure 2). The same survey reported that 38% of employees can choose from multiple workspaces when in the office, yet 29% cannot and wish they could. 2
Application leaders responsible for digital workplace programs (hereafter called “digital workplace leaders”) can address this deficit. They can create greater employee satisfaction by incorporating the principles of activity-based working (ABW) into their workspace design.
Figure 2. “How Satisfied Are You With the Physical Workspace Your Organization Provides You?”
Base: Work from office (n = 3,012)
Source: Gartner (December 2017)
The average age of an office building is 60 years. The private office has existed for more than 80 years, and the cubicle for more than 50 years. 3 ABW leaves these antiquated notions behind and instead provides people with a choice of work settings. With ABW, people do not have a permanently assigned space — they move throughout the office choosing whatever type of space fits what they are trying to do, as well as their personal preferences.
A well-designed ABW office provides a mix of “hot” (lots of activity) and “cold” (private) places. It is based on the principle that finding the right balance between public and private workspace best supports collaboration and personal productivity. Digital workplace leaders who begin work now to identify the work styles of their employees will be well-positioned to take advantage of this trend (see “Create a Catalog of Activity-Based Spaces in the Digital Workplace to Improve the Employee Experience”).
Gartner research indicates that IT most often leads digital workplace programs. 4 This is an opportune time to begin to work more closely with RE/FM leaders to create a shared charter for IT and RE/FM. In addition to planning investments, having a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach will support a vendor procurement process that addresses both technology and physical space challenges.
A growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to a natural environment enhances productivity and improves employee well-being. 5 Biophilic design takes inspiration from nature, integrating natural light, materials and vegetation into the work environment for a positive effect on workers. For example, India-based JLL’s new office in Mumbai is “nature-aligned” with life-size trees and nature sounds at frequent intervals to de-stress the workforce. 6
Land Securities — one of largest commercial property development companies in the U.K. — redesigned its office space to allow employees and visitors to decide how, when and where they work depending on their requirements. The workspace has a combination of space types where people can work quietly or interact with others depending on what tasks they need to carry out during a typical work day. 7
Space planners can take care of human factors and design the appropriate layout, but the space cannot come alive without including the technologies (IT) and the policies and practices around usage (HR). The pieces must work together. Hence, it is the partnership between IT and RE/FM, along with support from HR, that ensures that IT provides the right technology fabric to support various kinds of space and activity. People’s preference is to consume these capabilities as a service — “space as a service.” Thinking in this way will allow planners to understand the utility (use cases and capabilities), warranty (SLAs) and costs (see “Introducing the Digital Workplace Strategic IT Services Portfolio”).
Smarter workspaces. Technology forces such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and mixed reality (augmented reality/virtual reality [AR/VR]) are introducing a myriad of new possibilities for digital workplace leaders to create smart workspaces and, eventually, smart buildings. Seventy-two percent of respondents in the 2016 Gartner IoT Survey said they were implementing or had already implemented IoT-related technology. 8 Digital workplace leaders can facilitate integration of the information from such building and facilities technology into an exceptional employee experience. This information could include lighting systems, air conditioning, heating, air quality, occupancy and so on (see “Use the Internet of Things in Smart Buildings to Achieve Work-Life Ambience” and “Align Smart Workplace Efforts With Employee Needs for Knowledge-Based Work”).
Space-based technology requirements. Different types of meeting space have different IT requirements. There has been an explosion in new technologies targeted at everyday meeting rooms in offices. Analyze the various kinds of meeting space within the organization and equip them with the right technology (see “Select the Right Technology for Modern Meeting Rooms”).
Digital signage/screens. Offer digital signage as an element of digital workplace services. Embedding visual communication capabilities as part of a more modern, dynamic workplace can lead to better employee communication and experience.
Improve IT support/perception. Harness this initiative to introduce a visible presence for IT, such as walk-up service bars. Implementing a “genius bar” can make IT seem more approachable and responsive. Currently, employees feel that their IT groups are not very responsive. A walk-up service can elevate the relationship between employee and IT. Instead of leaving a problem with a technician, the employee is involved in the resolution, and so may be able to solve similar issues themselves next time. Canadian insurance company Manulife has set up a series of what it calls TechLounges in several divisions, starting in Toronto. These are drop-in technical support centers where end users can bring their laptops and other company-issued devices for upgrades and minor fixes. The TechLounges also help remote workers who might not know when they will be in the office for a training session or upgrade. 9
Unified communication needs. Since not everyone can always be in the office, interactions need to support remote participants. For IT, this means continued investment in technologies such as unified communications and collaboration (UCC) and group video, to support collaborative workspaces and facilitate collaboration with third-party partners and vendors. (See “IT Challenges to Planning the End User’s Physical Work and Collaboration Spaces” for additional IT service challenges emerging from the changes in office space.)
Integrated workplace management systems. Harness the partnership with RE/FM leaders to determine an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) vendor that meets the requirements for smart and cost-effective operation of the facilities (see “Market Guide for Integrated Workplace Management Systems”).
New procurement skills.Encourage new skills development by having IT leaders work with new types of vendors that they might not normally encounter, such as those for furniture, digital signage, architecture and design firms, IWMS, and resource scheduling.
Remote Working Trends and Accounting Rule Changes Increase the Need for Synergy Between Application and RE/FM Leaders
Two parallel trends are increasing the urgency for digital workplace leaders to join forces with RE/FM leaders to better manage office space in their organization:
The increase in remote working is a global phenomenon. Three out of 10 Americans spend at least 80% of their time working remotely. 10 In the U.K., 91% of firms have at least one employee working from home, and 19% of companies have over 50% of their employees working remotely. 11, 12 Figure 3 depicts the proportion of remote workers by country. 13
Figure 3. Remote Working Is a Global Phenomenon
Working remotely — sometimes referred to as teleworking or telecommuting — means employees are not working in a traditional corporate office. As shown in Figure 4, the preferences of various segments of workers indicate that workers want the flexibility to work from their choice of locations. They want to be productive regardless of whether they are working from a corporate office, at home or some other place. (For an explanation of the five worker segments — caretakers, pilots, engineers, mavericks, navigators — see “Understand Five Key Kinds of Workers to Energize Your Digital Workplace.”)
Figure 4. Five Worker Segments and Where They Prefer to Work
Source: Gartner (December 2017)
As interest in remote working increases, digital workplace leaders need to make sure that these nomadic employees can easily find and reserve the kind of workspace they require when they do go into the corporate office. Working with RE/FM colleagues, they can support a mobile workforce with a smaller real estate footprint and no loss of productivity.
As part of continually re-evaluating how space is used, RE/FM professionals are exploring more-dynamic subleasing arrangements for unused space. Use of shared workplace or co-working spaces, whereby companies rent office space on flexible terms (hourly, daily, monthly or yearly) directly from businesses with space to share, is increasing. By the end of 2017, nearly 1.2 million people worldwide will have worked in a co-working space. This phenomenon is not restricted to freelancers, individual business executives and fast-growing startups; it includes large enterprises such as AT&T, Tyco, Autodesk and Accenture.
FASB/IASB accounting changes to take effect on 1 January 2019 will radically change accounting for operating leases and affect almost every organization, especially those that lease real estate. These changes will effectively do away with the traditional off-balance sheet operating lease for terms longer than 12 months, and will require that they appear as liabilities on the balance sheet. Listed companies using IFRS (international) or GAAP (U.S.) accounting standards have around $3.3 trillion in lease commitments. Specific assets that will be most affected by these accounting changes include corporate real-estate holdings that are often financed via an off-balance-sheet operating lease (see “Beware the Effect of the Operating Lease’s Demise on Finance and Real Estate”).
While these reporting changes will not directly affect how business is conducted, the changes will impact how a company’s financial health appears on paper. As a company’s total cost of occupancy is typically its second-largest category of expense after the cost of labor, the impacts on financial results for many will be significant. Therefore, this accounting change serves as a catalyst for corporate RE leaders to urgently seek cost-saving opportunities and, in the long term, to revisit or even overhaul their RE management strategies.
RE/FM leaders are already making investments in technology to create smarter, more efficient buildings. Digital workplace leaders need to actively engage with them to ensure that the business outcomes that are fundamental to the RE/FM business case can be addressed with the communication infrastructure. Alignment can drive lower technology costs, lower technology risks, better agility to new hybrid projects and access for IT to new sources of data (see “Show the Value of OT and IT Alignment, and Realize Digital Business Results”).
Right technology and amount of remote work. Enabling remote work requires significant technological investment. For example, IT leaders will have to provide the right technology infrastructure from laptops with preconfigured VPN access to the internet backbone. It will also force IT leaders to reassess their mobile and endpoint strategies, the foundation for which must be the concept of unified workspaces. Technologies and services must securely deliver the right applications and data to the right user, on the right device, at the right time and location (see “Embrace Unified Workspaces to Deliver on Your Digital Workplace Vision”).
The increase in remote work might give the impression that the future of work is entirely remote, but that is far from true. Not every kind of work can be done remotely, hence it is not applicable to all organizations and job profiles. Respondents to a recent Gartner global survey indicated a wish to spend most of their work time in a corporate office. Remote work has both pros (productivity, reduction in real-estate expense) and cons (burnout, loneliness, lack of collaboration). Some companies, such as IBM and Yahoo, discourage remote working. IT and business leaders must determine how much remote working the firm can handle, as well as ensure that the culture and the technology infrastructure can support it. Digital workplace leaders who design practices that strike a balance between remote work and office work will enjoy the benefits of both.
Managing the workspace with mobile workers. When remote workers need to go to their corporate location, they must be able to find the resources that will enable them to be productive, such as a private workspace, a conference room, directions and even a parking space. Such situations surface the need for resource scheduling tools that will help remote workers to check availability and book these resources. IT needs to work with RE/FM leaders to determine their requirements and deploy resource scheduling tools that provide an optimal employee experience. Co-working spaces or shared spaces, where a number of companies coexist, clearly require technology that can efficiently schedule the shared resources and bill them accordingly (see “Market Guide for Resource Scheduling Applications”).
Data-based space planning. Leverage the utilization data from RE/FM tools such as IWMS and resource scheduling to design your future workplace. Buildings are no longer built to last for decades; they need to more flexible and adaptable. For example, Japanese imaging and electronics company Ricoh was able to create annual space savings of up to 50% by analyzing data from workspace occupancy sensors. The desk data captured indicated average desk utilization of below 30%, with busiest periods peaking at 51%. The data revealed that 58% of Ricoh’s desks were used under 20% of the time throughout the study. Many such insights on workspace allowed Ricoh to use its resources more efficiently.
Combined user segmentation modelling.It is becoming impractical for RE/FM and IT to address employee needs individually. As part of space utilization studies, RE/FM leaders are beginning to classify workers based on how often they are in the office and what they do when they are there. This is strikingly similar to the user segmentation used by IT organizations to plan for and control service provisioning (for example, who gets a laptop or a desktop and who is entitled to a company-provided mobile device). All organizations should have a single, evolving user segmentation model, developed and applied by all shared service organizations that contribute to the employee experience. This will avoid redundant employee surveys and focus groups whose data and learnings are collected and applied independently.
IT possesses a treasure trove of “digital bread crumbs,” such as usage of mobility and conferencing services as well as device assignment, to help inform user segmentation modeling. Vendors are emerging to operationalize these approaches (see end-user analytics in “IT Market Clock for Client Computing, 2015”). A simple model that quantifies this information is a good first step, but using techniques such as journey mapping and persona development will start to answer who is using which spaces and for what activities. Work done on the move requires IT to support a work context that follows the worker to any space. Understanding the activities being performed helps inform the space designer of the type of physical space needed to support.
Developing these competencies needs to be a shared activity of IT and HR with RE/FM. The employee experience is the cumulative effect of interactions with services provided by all the shared service organizations.
Adapted from Forbes: Larry Alton
Have you seen a jump in the number of “shared” office spaces in and around your city? The “shared” office model is rising in popularity and has been for the past decade. Back in 2007, the trend was almost unheard of, with only 14 documented coworking spaces in the United States. Now, there are more than 11,100, and we’re projected to see more than 26,000 spaces hosting 3.8 million people by 2020.
One of the biggest drivers of this trend is the emergence of X’ers in the professional world. They’re becoming entrepreneurs, building and joining startups, and are starting to shape the trends of how and where we work. But why are coworking and shared office spaces so appealing to X’ers in the first place?
What Is a “Shared” Office Space?
WorkSocial in New York City has 3 different locations with both daily and hourly rentals.
So how are these office spaces able to thrive with the X’ers population?
Shared office spaces are almost always cheaper than their full-office counterparts. Buying a large office could set you back tremendously, and leasing a space will cost at least several thousand dollars a month (especially in an urban center). With membership fees potentially under $100 a month, shared spaces have a major advantage.
X’ers entrepreneurs who partake in shared space also have fewer responsibilities to worry about. Things like cleaning and maintenance are taken care of by the building’s owners. This is one reason why Gen Xers tend to prefer renting over owning; most of the annoying tasks and responsibilities are already accounted for.
In a shared office space, there are usually dozens of other people—if not hundreds—occupying the same location as you, and those demographics will likely change every month. It’s a perfect place to meet new people in the professional world, which is advantageous to the social X’ers who wants to expand their professional network.
X’ers also like the idea that they don’t have to commit. Leases tend to cover periods of several years, and owning a building is an investment that can (or should) last for a decade or longer. Shared office space, on the other hand, can be reduced to a monthly, daily, or hourly If your needs change often, this is a must.
Though the data has led to mixed conclusions, most X’ers love the idea of starting their own business, and many are following through on that entrepreneurial drive. Thanks to the availability of online resources, and the fast turnover rate for tech startups, creating a startup from scratch happens fast these days, and can be done with smaller teams. That increased, rapid-fire demand for startup space has been a boon for the shared office space industry; shared spaces are ideal for entrepreneurs with small budgets, uncertain futures, and a need for networking with other business owners.
According to Nielsen surveys, 62% of X’ers prefer to live in urban centers, where access to resources like grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment are convenient and mutually accessible to others. Shared office spaces usually occupy urban centers, making them a perfect fit in Xers’ dream locations. Centrally located, X’ers can either walk to work easily or use the opportunity to explore more of their home city.
Finally, remember that X’ers are resisting the urge to comply with traditional office structures (for better or worse). They’re breaking down corporate hierarchies, dismantling 9 to 5 mentalities, and even redefining social norms in business interactions. Shared offices offer more opportunities for individual expression, and offer a counterpoint to traditional office culture. To put it simply, they’re new and they’re hip.
Shared office spaces do have some disadvantages, of course; you’ll be limited in terms of what you can do with the space, and if you need to upgrade, you won’t have much infrastructure to scale (you’ll need to start again from scratch). Still, for the remote workers, entrepreneurs, and other X’ers professionals out there, shared office spaces are quickly becoming the dominant choice in work.
Imagine how happy you could be if you were in control of your own life. What if you decided how productive you were, what time you went to work, and how much money you made? The truth is that you can. Many people have followed a life of entrepreneurship by leaving their normal 9-5 work lives to launch out on their own!
But what about the downside? What about all those businesses that fail? Don’t entrepreneurs struggle? Of course, we do!
But, honestly, it’s all about perspective. What some entrepreneurs call failure, others call learning. What some call struggle, others call growth. It all depends on how each person looks at it. The problem here is how we choose to consider the situation. Will we view things as obstacles or as opportunities? Because truthfully, many of the negatives about entrepreneurship can actually be positives with the right frame of mind.
Let’s explore the 3 most positive mind frames that lead new business starters into the true joys of entrepreneurship.
One of the most common issues entrepreneurs face is capital, especially startup capital. This frustrates some to the point of freezing them still. They feel they don’t have enough, so they either don’t start at all or start but then stop too soon.
Other entrepreneurs, however, view this differently. They see this as an opportunity. The solution is to become resourceful; these entrepreneurs come up with new ideas to raise funds, to get out and open doors in what appear to be closed hallways.
They sell things, learn to invest, rent out a room, something, anything.
This hidden joy of entrepreneurship is that they become stronger people. Added to their already developed set of skills is the newfound resourcefulness they’ve acquired along the way.
Another issue many entrepreneurs deal with is competition. As soon as they’ve developed their idea, the company across the street has done the same.
It’s almost like when you buy a new car. Before you had the black Toyota Avalon, nobody had one. Now that you’ve got yours, you see black Toyota Avalons everywhere!
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs give up in this situation. They feel as though someone else beat them to the punch, so they back away.
But not all of them.
Some entrepreneurs recognize this as an opportunity – the chance for innovation. Backing away from your idea when competitors mimic it is not the only option. Innovating the idea to become better than what you originally made it and what the competitor made it is also possible.
That’s when the joy of innovation comes in. The entrepreneurs who figure out how to make their idea better grow both themselves and their business.
And this results in massive satisfaction.
In addition to the first two opportunities, entrepreneurship often comes with a third challenge – having to do too much. Especially in the beginning, entrepreneurs feel as though they are doing too many things to scale the business.
It’s different than feeling overworked and under appreciated as is typical for an employee. The entrepreneur is generally happy to work long hours. The adrenaline and excitement that accompany a startup are usually enough to keep the person going.
The challenge arises when the entrepreneur knows the company needs to expand, but they can’t scale it because they handle too many of the responsibilities alone. They may be the company manager, accountant, human resource department, and customer service specialist – all at the same time.
Some entrepreneurs flatline at this point. They typically don’t quit if they’ve made it this far, but they generally stop growing as well. Then, the adrenaline fades from the initial startup and burnout begins.
Other entrepreneurs see this differently, however. They’ve heard about delegation. Many of them want to do it. The problem is that delegation is a skill., not a natural talent. And it isn’t exactly easy to learn.
But instead of freezing, some entrepreneurs view this as a chance to learn the joy of delegation. They begin to practice the skill. It’s hard at first. But they don’t give up. Then, they do it again. And again. Eventually, they get a good handle on it. Now, they aren’t wearing 7 different hats. They’re only wearing the one they’re supposed to wear – the delegator’s hat.
And that’s when the entrepreneur begins to truly experience the joy and satisfaction of a fully scaled company as the results of having learned the skill of delegation.
All in all, entrepreneurship is a rewarding experience. And yes, it has its difficulties. But the solution is to view those difficulties not as setbacks, but as setups – setups for growth and the joys that follow as a result.
And what separates the winners from the losers is the decision to enact this solution – to perceive the obstacles as actual opportunities instead. Where some see a lack of resources, others see the chance to become resourceful. Where some see difficult competitors, others see room for innovation. And where some see too many hats to wear, others see the prospect of delegation.
It’s all a matter of mindset.
And that is what makes the difference.
We invite you to contact us about how we can help you on your journey.
Have you ever pored over the many statistics on your website analytics dashboard and wondered what to make of them? How should you interpret them to increase conversions of site visitors? What’s more, how can you target the types of site content to users based on their point of origin?
We know that business owners and website managers struggle with these questions every day. Some of them are lucky enough to maintain a relationship with a boutique IT firm, but others are forced to make difficult decisions about website analytics and features on their own. They don’t have the expertise to build an optimized website, so they choose to give their attention to other business activities.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach. There are many IT firms like ours that will give your organization valuable advice when needed and help you build the site infrastructure or features desired once your budget can support it. One of the clear solutions that site owners should use for their website analytics more is a Google trend feature, which helps you to make decisions based on patterns that it has already detected!
There are nifty features business owners can add to a site that might work well for other companies but don’t match your needs. “Make something people want” is the motto that we love from Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham. Although it sounds simple enough, it’s tough for you to know what prospects really want!
For a website that is just delivering your online presence, you can check out website analytics tools to see what links get the most traffic. For websites with many functionalities, you might need to be more strategic in the use of Google trends feature.
After you have the data from an appropriate website analytics tool, the challenge is how to convert insights into actions that will suit your audience’s needs. It is not always easy to infer what your audience wants just by studying hundreds of pages of stats. That’s why Google trend feature is an extremely useful tool for gauging consumer interests. It aggregates all the keywords on the Internet and detects patterns from them.
In the same way that the Google trend feature aggregates data, you can find similar insights by analyzing the keywords on your own website. If you don’t know how to build it yourself, there are tools that will do it for you.
One of the popular ones is Queryly, which offers a self-service dashboard of search analytics for a business site. Queryly automatically aggregates all the top keywords and shows the most popular trends on your site. For example, if you own a tax preparation service, people who visit your site might also be interested in related topics such as property taxes, paying back taxes, tax law, tax foreclosure, tax shelters, and tax write-offs. As a site owner, you can get a sense of what target audiences want to know with a simple glance at your Queryly dashboard, allowing you to add more content on the topics that continually rank at the top of internal site searches.
Queryly is a search engine tool that you can easily install on your site for users to search other databases across the web, including online newspapers, magazines, blogs, video news services, and business websites. They can see what other sources are saying for a selected keyword phrase. Your users are actually getting links to more content around the web based on the keyword phrase they found in a piece of content currently posted on your site. If you recently wrote a blog post on how to weather-proof your luxury sedan, then Queryly will recommend other content for site visitors on this topic. The only cautionary point here is that content is king when people can find it and use it, but you don’t want users to find related content that contradicts what you have posted. Therefore, your company should post authoritative content (which you may have to pay people to write) and then do some fact-checking of your own to ensure it’s reliable.
For more details on incorporating Google trends, please contact us today.
Many business owners can’t help but micromanage employees, but a truly talented CEO encourages autonomy and purpose within the organization. Of course, there is a risk in fostering autonomy.
It’s a lot like the old saying:
“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.“
When you know you’ve got a quality team member who is talented and trustworthy, you hold on loosely. (Hey, wasn’t that a song in the 80’s?) Anyway, freedom breeds trust and with trust comes more freedom.
The employee who is given autonomy will be a higher caliber employee! And yes, there is always the chance the autonomous employee will fly away some day, or worse yet, surpass you in business success. A confident CEO has the guts to hire the person who possesses the lions share of business savvy. Those are the kind of risks that pay off in the long run. In real estate, they say you should buy the least expensive house on the block. The strategy in business is, hire a subordinate who is a wee bit brainier than you.
If you have already decided to foster autonomy within your organization, it starts during the initial interview. Organize the conversation and questions toward autonomy and purpose, every time. Do not vary the process you formulate as long as the company continues to embrace these values.
However, not everybody deserves autonomy, so it is important that you hire someone who is deserving of what you are about to give them.
Hopefully you already know what the organizational purpose is because it is entirely up to you. Now you want to find out as much as possible about your future employee. What motivates them? What are their core values? What is their individual purpose?
You need someone who thinks bigger than money and security. You should be looking for an artistic inventor who has a purpose greater than themselves. Someone who is motivated by their own innovation; someone who accomplishes small goals toward their life purpose.
Once your interview processes are secure and you’ve done your part in getting the right person for the team, what can you do as the CEO to foster these values within the organization? Here are a few strategies to kick around:
Autonomous employees should be able to own their successes and failures. They must deliver in the workplace. Obviously, they need to motivate themselves and produce great results with very little supervision.
“Defining purpose is a straightforward proposition. In its simplest form, purpose is the organization’s reason for being“
A purpose is threefold:
Creative differences and fresh ideas originate from people who have varying ideas about purpose. The purpose of an organization can change over time. This is something that you should be evaluating on a regular basis.
“No matter what you do, your job exists for a reason. When you know that reason – and when you fully understand how your efforts make the world a better place for someone else – you have found your job’s purpose“
“Work should be purposeful and meaningful. It should contribute to making the world a better place. It should be a cause that’s making a difference in people’s lives“
How does your organization make the world a better place? Do you have a mission statement? Here are a few examples of big companies and their mission statements:
Autonomy is a reward given to highly valuable members of a team. Purpose is our reason for getting out of bed in the morning. We want employees to value the company as if they own it. Autonomy and purpose are the bridge to achieving that goal in the 21st Century.
WorkSocial is the state of the art connection that can help you achieve your organizational goals. We offer the newest ideas in collaborative workspaces, training venues, and creative space sharing networks.
Interested in learning more? Request a tour today!
New start-ups are showing up all across Jersey City. On top of that, the freelance workforce is growing like never before. Because of this, office spaces are taking on a new form called coworking.
We’ve all heard of multi-billion dollar businesses that grew their roots in garages or college dorms. However, a lot of small business owners and freelancers want a space that’s somewhere between a garage and an expensive office downtown.
Welcome to coworking spaces.
They allow several businesses to work out of a central location. There are many benefits to this, which we’ll cover in the next few minutes.
Once you see how awesome this idea is, WorkSocial coworking spaces have you covered in Jersey City.
Now, let’s have a look.
This is a huge benefit of sharing office space. Renting office space on your own can cost several thousand dollars a month.
In contrast, shared spaces can cost only a few hundred dollars per month.
When your business is comprised of only you or a handful of employees, it doesn’t make sense to rent an entire office.
Coworking is the way to go.
Working on a living room couch with children around is full of constant distractions. For a lot of small business owners or freelancers, it just doesn’t work.
A busy environment at home is distracting and keeps you from getting business done.
When you want to work in peace, you need a dedicated coworking space where you can collaborate with employees without life getting in the way.
Peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing. It can be good when it lights your competitive spirit and makes you aim for success.
In shared workspaces, you’ll feel a certain pressure pretty much every day.
When you look across the room and spot a rising technology company, you’ll be inspired by their success and want to emulate it.
Renting from WorkSocial gives you ample opportunities to network.
The neighbor sitting across from you might hand you your next huge client.
Say you need a web designer for a complete website re-vamp. She might be sitting a few desks from you and fit perfectly into your budget.
Have you ever worked a 12 hour day from home and at 10 pm had your next big project staring you directly in the face?
When you keep work out of your home, you’ll live a more fulfilling home life away from work stresses.
Leave your work back at the office and enjoy time with friends or family.
Healthy competition is great when you share a workspace. But you could even find your next big venture.
Sometimes you’ll see a company working on a great idea but not executing it properly. You may have the skills and experience to get it done right.
Of course, sharing a workspace is not a license to steal other people’s ideas. But you never know what you might see and hear that could lead you to the next big thing.
When you don’t want to work from home anymore but you’re ready for your own office space, WorkSocial is an amazing solution.
Get in touch with us today and find out what a shared workspace can do for your business.
We look forward to talking!