Prioritizing 101 for Serviced Office Center Managers

The single most vital employee to the success of any serviced office center is its manager.  The person in this role is responsible for driving the operations, finances, sales, and marketing functions of the business, so there are often times where their task list can seem insurmountable.  If you’re a serviced office center manager, and you’re in search of some tips on how to prioritize that endless scroll of To-Do’s, then this blog post is for you.

1. Stick to the Strategic Plan

The first tip on my list is to stick to the strategic plan for the serviced office center.  This plan determines how time, staff, and monetary resources are allocated to achieve various business goals.  The managers that I work with are all major contributors to the strategic plans for their serviced office centers.  Because they help develop the plan, they have a detailed understanding of the overall vision for the business and can prioritize based on the targets outlined.   So, if you’re removed from strategic planning and goal setting for the serviced office center you manage, then you should work to be involved in those processes.   Your participation will naturally influence how you prioritize your day-to-day activities going forward.

If your strategic plan has already been established by the center owners or other shareholders, it should still motivate how you prioritize whether you’ve helped with its composition or not.    If your strategic plan makes customer growth a major focus, then dedicate the appropriate percentage of your time in sales and marketing.  Or, if the major focus is improving efficiency to better serve your current client base, then shift your time to process improvement and/or technology upgrades.    Again, the strategic plan’s purpose is to guide resource allocation decisions toward business objectives. As the business’s most valuable resource, you must do your part to make sure your time and talent is used accordingly.

2. Hone your Routine

With so many responsibilities on your plate, it is imperative to have a well-crafted routine.  As a serviced office center manager, you should have the autonomy to develop that routine to best carry out your job function.   When developing your routine, you should ensure that each recurring task adds value for current clients, drives new business development, and/or ensures that the business functions optimally.  You should exclude tasks from your routine that can be delegated–tasks that another employee is or can be trained to complete.  If you’re the only employee, as is the case for many small serviced office centers, you don’t have the option to delegate. In these cases, you need to prepare your routine so that the tasks that require your skills the most are done first and other more general tasks are left for afterwards.

Remember that your routine is not set it stone.  You should assess the tasks that you accomplish on a routine basis regularly to ensure that they are still appropriately prioritized. When you established your routine, you might have had filing paperwork on your to-do list for every other week.  But, you’ve recently hired a part-time assistant who has time to file once a month.  You can now delegate that task even though it will occur less often.   You can then increase your time spent on tasks that can only be accomplished by you.

3. Outsource What You Can

Outsourcing is a great tool for center managers. There are businesses dedicated to accomplishing some of the tasks that can clog up your day.  Providing reception services, for example, can be burden on the time you should be using to generate new business or better serve your customers.   At Office Suite Strategies, we offer Professional Receptionist Outsourcing Services, PROS, to provide outstanding call answering service to serviced office centers.    PROS helps serviced office centers effectively grow their businesses and improve their productivity by removing the constant distraction of a ringing phone.    If you are interested in adding PROS to your tools for effective prioritization, please contact us to learn more.


Strategic Planning for Customer Growth: Goal, Stretch, and Capacity Framework

A strategic plan for any business is an exercise in resource allocation.   The main objective during the process is to determine how best to use time, staff, and money to accomplish business goals.  One of the frameworks that you can use in strategic planning is structured in three parts: Goal, Stretch, and Capacity.   In this first blog post on strategic planning, I will define the Goal, Stretch, Capacity framework in detail.  And in future posts, I will provide example cases of how this framework can be used effectively for the workspace services industry and specifically for the customer growth objective.


The Goal component of this framework consists of outlining a strategy to reach a simply measurable target during a defined period time with the resources currently available and all other major objectives being equal.  I’ve included in bold text the most important features of the goal set during this phase.  I’ll explain the advantage of each as the strategic plan is composed.

During the goal stage, your target should be measured without high-level evaluation techniques.  This ensures that everyone involved in planning has the same picture of success in mind when crafting the plan.  Having a set time limit for the established target further narrows the plan and focuses it on efficiency.   You avoid planning action that would take longer to implement than the time allotted to reach the goal.  And, when the time limit is part of the strategic plan from the beginning, you know that the final evaluation of the success of that portion of the plan must happen.   When there is no defined time period, it is common to see plans drag on and on without really measuring whether or not it’s effective for reaching the target.  It is equally common to see what could have been good plans abandoned when they weren’t carried out long enough to see the intended result.

Now that you understand the characteristics of the goal, I’ll explain a more about the Goal stage context: using currently available resources and all other major objectives being equal.  The context is the major distinguisher between Goal stage and Stretch stage.  Goal stage is about planning to use the budgeted amount monetary resources and not over prioritizing the target so that time and staff resources are not taken away from equally important and urgent tasks.  When you keep this context in mind, you are able to plan strategic action that is realistically accomplishable and that does not over extend any of the resources most essential to your business.


The Stretch phase of the Goal, Stretch, Capacity strategic planning system is all about having a calculated means of “striking while the iron’s hot”.  This phase raises the priority level of the goal phase target and is only implemented when the established target is met as a result of the planned goal phase action.   When planning for the Stretch phase, you decide how the resources of money (if the goal phase was under budget), time, and staff can be shifted to further drive success in the goal target area.   The Stretch phase target should be to accomplish at least 10% more in half the time.   That means that staff must dedicate more time to the goal during their working hours and/or more staff should make the target their priority.  You shouldn’t necessarily hire more staff unless it makes financial and organizational sense to do so.   Keep in mind that the intent is not to necessarily reach the stretch goal, but to push the available resources to their limit.

The Stretch plan should focus on the most successful activities from the goal phase and completely remove activities that did not at all contribute to reaching the goal phase target.   You can’t truly know what those are until after the completion of the goal phase.   Before even the goal phase is implemented you must write into your strategic plan that any remaining budget from that phase is earmarked for activities during the stretch phase.  If you don’t have a plan for the extra funds, they will likely get absorbed by other business objectives.  At the completion of goal phase, all of the staff involved in carrying out the stretch phase activities should be involved in the stretch phase plan.  This way you are more likely to have total buy-in from those staffers who are going to be asked to work harder and longer than usual on the target.

But what happens when you don’t accomplish the goal phase target in the set amount of time?  At this point it is important to conduct an After Action Review and evaluate what parts of the planned activities were effective, determine which parts were ineffective, and decide how to adjust the plan and target with the resources now available.


Your capacity phase should put a plan in place to monitor the indicators that show that you have reached capacity and that further progress toward the target would in fact be crippling to your organization or service level.  The capacity phase should also address how to adjust the allocation of resources in the event that you reach capacity.  For example, consider the target to grow your reception service customers by 30% and at 23% increase your on-site receptionist responsible for providing the service begins to miss 15 calls per day where he or she had only missed one call per week previously.    Your capacity planning would establish a reporting system for keeping track of calls missed and provide options to resolve the capacity problem perhaps by outsourcing receptionist services.

Unlike the goal and stretch phases that are carried out in succession, the capacity phase is really an ongoing component throughout the implementation of the strategic plan.   If your organization has an individual or team who is primarily responsible for customer service or satisfaction, they would be the best to handle setting up and carrying out the capacity plan component.

Final thoughts

I hope this overview of the Goal, Stretch, and Capacity framework has been useful to you.  Future posts will discuss how this plan can be implemented for the workspace services industry.  Please share your thoughts on this framework on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.



When to Rejuvenate your Brand

When I had the idea to write about “brand rejuvenation” for businesses in the workspace services industry, I thought myself unique for using this term to describe freshening up the overall image and marketing. But, alas, the term “brand rejuvenation” is a pretty popular one as Google turned up a digital ton of articles and posts with that term in the title. Be that as it may, I want to share some thoughts on the subject as it pertains to serviced office centers. Over the course of my career, I’ve helped many of these companies revive their brands in order to attract more business and stimulate their growth. I’ll share two of the times when a brand rejuvenation should be considered.

  1. When Your Edge has Dulled…
  2. For success in the workspace industry, your brand identity must radiate descriptors like “innovative,” “advanced” and “cutting-edge”. Our customers are drawn to our unique solutions often because they offer technologies that improve their overall efficiency and working flexibility. We must take every opportunity to drive home the message that we are up to date with the latest in services to that end. So it’s important to evaluate on an annual basis if your serviced office center’s edge has dulled compared to the technologies that are currently available in the industry. That’s not to say that you have to adopt every new thing that comes on the market for your business, but you do need to keep an eye out for industry innovations that are easily integrated and of value at your serviced office center.

    One of the main things to do right away to make sure your brand communicates “cutting-edge” is update the format, content, and layout of your website if it has been longer than 5 years since you’ve done so. More and more, businesses are first found online. And if your website is not up-to-date in both style and content, then you stand to lose a lot of prospects before you even know they’re interested. Web development can be a hefty expense, so be sure to fully shop the options available to you for refreshing what you already have rather than a complete re-design. Small changes can make a world of difference.

  3. When You’re Expanding…
  4. As a consultant to business owners in the workspace services industry, I’ve guided many centers through expansions and site additions. A key question to consider during this time is, “Is my brand as attractive to new prospects as it is to current customers?” This question is particularly important during expansion because the decision to add more space is usually motivated by having reached capacity with the current set up. If you reached capacity some time ago and are just now expanding, you need to make sure that your brand will attract customers of today. It could be the case that factors that lead to your reaching capacity initially are no longer motivating current members of your target audience.

    The answer to this question lies in the feedback you get when you’re consulting prospects during the sales process. Pay close attention to the values your prospects communicate. Does your serviced office center and the planned expansion appeal to those values? When we survey target audience members we’ve found that chief among their values today is the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded professionals. Does your center offer a co-working space and foster a collaborative environment? If so, make sure you communicate that in your marketing and brand identity, especially if you’re focusing on such spaces in your expansion.

Please share your thoughts on brand rejuvenation. I look forward to reading your comments on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you own a serviced office center and would like to talk more about how to rejuvenate your brand, please contact me, Karen Condi, at


The Benefits of Virtual Office Space for Small Businesses

Virtual offices are becoming an increasingly popular decision for small business owners who want to enjoy the luxuries of a traditional office space, while still having the flexibility to enjoy work on their own terms. With a virtual office, you have the ability to work anytime anywhere and still take full advantage of the support, technology, and meeting space that a regular office provides.

Professional Business Address Provided

If you’ve ever hesitated at the idea of having to put your home address on your website or cringed at the thought of someone checking you out on Google only to discover your location is in a residential neighborhood, a virtual office has a major benefit to you. With a virtual office you are provided a professional business address at well-known buildings in your community. The best part? You don’t even have to rent office space at the building. The virtual office service forwards all mail sent to this address to the client. This is an essential advantage with Google; the service is not a fan of P.O. Boxes or home addresses linked to a business.

No Commute Time to the Office

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average travel time to work in the US is 25.4 minutes. Depending on your location, that number can be considerably higher and significantly more stressful. Now you don’t have to spend all that extra time getting ready for work and then sitting in traffic. Since there hasn’t quite been a way invented to combine these two activities into one yet, it all feels like such a huge waste of time. That one, two or more hours could be spent working, growing your business and actually BEING PRODUCTIVE. When you’re ready to grow your team, an additional bonus is that you can now hire employees anywhere in the US without having to relocate them or be overly concerned with their personal commute and how it will affect their work/life balance.


Reception and Communication Services

As many of us know, a quality reception service can really help elevate the perception of your business. Having someone who handles phone calls professionally adds clout and authenticity to the office experience. Adding a mailbox number that doesn’t start with P.O., as well as having items and mail delivered to a professional business address can only help to increase the feeling of security for your clients that they are doing business with an established and well developed business.

The virtual office service can provide live phone receptionists, voice mail and other communications options. Your office can even have its own email address and fax number for these communications and to increase the professional image of your business.The front desk staff will also receive and sign for any parcels sent to the business address. The service then arranges for delivery of the parcel to the client. It may also be possible to arrange for on-site notaries and witnesses.

Meeting Rooms and Day Offices are Available for Use

How many meetings have you had to drive exceptionally far out of your way for to meet at a client’s location? What about meeting at a coffee shop with too-small tables and too much noise for productive discourse? Virtual office space and business centers offer rental meeting rooms and conference rooms to clients that are available on-demand. This meeting space is available at the same building as their professional business address. In addition to meeting rooms, the virtual office space may offer temporary office or work space to clients. In many of these cases you may also have access to amenities like video conferencing equipment, break rooms and wireless Internet connectivity.

Cost Savings for Your Small Business

The average monthly rent per square foot of office space is $65.16 in San Francisco and $23.09 in Dallas, according to data from With virtual office space, many basic packages start below $100 per month. There’s no office lease, no utility payments, no hardware and none of the associated costs that come with having a brick-and-mortar space. All that savings can not only be passed along to clients, but it also affects your profit margin, allowing you to invest more in your people. Not to mention, you won’t be forced to drink five cups of coffee a day just to stay at your makeshift coffee shop meeting space.

Starting a small business is time consuming and costly. Having the ability to eliminate some of the cost concerns, like the fear of getting an office before you are ready or being concerned you will end up with either too much or too little space can take a lot of stress of a small business owner’s plate. Additionally, being able to pass along some of the tasks that are important, but could definitely be handled by someone else frees up time and energy to focus on what you can do to build your business. Ultimately, taking advantage of a virtual office space means you don’t have to do it all on your own!


When to Offer a Promotion

Not unlike most other types of businesses, promotions, sales, and discounts are effective tools for growth in the workspace services industry. Over my 17-year career, I’ve found that there are several ideal times of the year to offer special pricing for business center services. I’ll walk you through each of them in this post. This is not an exhaustive list though, I welcome your feedback and stories about a particular sale that produced results for your business.

  1. When School’s Out
  2. A large sector of the customer base of workspace services industry businesses consists of those who primarily work from home. For families with school-aged children, the home office can be incredibly distracting when school is not in session. The question for them becomes, “Where can I find a distraction free zone?” Enter: virtual offices and meeting room services.

    You’re probably asking, “Why, if the need is high during these times, do we need to offer special pricing?” The answer is the nuanced difference between need and demand for the solutions serviced office centers provide. Home-based business owners are fully aware of their need for a more productive environment when school is out, but they might not be aware that workspace service solutions are available to suit exactly this need. Hence, there is no demand for our services specifically during this time. With a well-composed and publicized limited time offer of special pricing that highlights the various solutions to fulfill the distraction-free zone need, serviced office centers can generate demand and see new business opportunities arise.

  3. When it’s Tax Time
  4. The angle for advertising special pricing during tax time is much different for the serviced office center than many other businesses. Tax time is when small business owners have to really evaluate the necessity of the expense of their office space. Their considering questions like: “Does this set up make me any money?” and “Has my office really been worth it?” At this time, serviced office centers generate special pricing offers to drive home the realization that the answer to those questions is a resounding “No!” Our primary target audience for the workspace services industry are those whose businesses don’t really rely on the traditional office format full-time. But, unfortunately, part of our battle is making that fact clear when the traditional office format is so ingrained as the “right” option for businesses. When we offer special pricing during tax time, we are spotlighting our solutions as more flexible and less financially burdensome option to consider as they are considering questions related to money in general and the necessity of office expenditures.

  5. When the New Year Rolls Around
  6. The new year is a perfect time to promote special pricing offers because, like tax time, it is a time when our primary target audience is weighing various options. While budgeting and financial planning for already established businesses occurs during this time, it also a time when would-be entrepreneurs are considering new ventures. Your limited time offer for special pricing can be just the motivation they need to take the plunge and get started. Promotions to entrepreneurs during this time should work to contrast the advantages of workspace services solutions to the burdens of traditional office space. It is important to always present the services your business provides as the best answer during your prospects time of questioning and consideration.

    Final thoughts…

    I hope this blog post has been helpful. I encourage you to share your thoughts on the times of year that are best for serviced office centers to offer promotions, sales, and discounts. I look forward to reading and responding to your comments and questions. If you a workspace industry business owner and you need assistance crafting an attractive offer for special pricing for your center’s services, please contact me, Karen Condi, Office Suite Strategies’ president and founder, at