You might be asking yourself, “What’s the STICKY Factor? And why on earth would I want to associate it with my serviced office center?” Well, the STICKY Factor is all the things about your serviced office center that inspire member loyalty: Service, Technology, Innovation, Community, Knowledge, and Yearly Improvement. This blog post will share why these different areas are important to establishing member loyalty and provide ideas on how to maximize their contribution to the STICKY factor.
Services at Your Serviced Office Center
If you are following the consultative sales approach (which I advocate that you do), your sales process should involve learning the members’ workspace needs and business goals so that you can provide a fitting solution at that time. After you’ve made that initial sale, you must continue to educate your members of the range of services that your center offers in order to establish it as a one-stop-shop for all their workspace needs. If a member began at your center using only address services, you must ensure that that member also knows that they also have access to meeting rooms and administrative support services there, too. Including service promotions and additions in your center newsletter is one way to make sure your center members are informed. You can also connect with your members on social media and post regularly about your center’s services and special offers. If possible, you can also include short notices regarding specials on your center’s invoices as well. The STICKY Factor begins with your members knowing every opportunity they have to use your center’s services.
Staying up to date on the latest technology should be a given for businesses in the workspace services industry. It is important that your center stays current on business-essential hardware and software that your members need. What really motivates member loyalty is how your center implements and grants access to those technologies. If your implementation of upgrades is not carefully planned and executed, you stand to drive some members away as some technology upgrades can seriously affect the way their business functions within the center. But, if you take care to vet the upgrades with key members, set your members’ expectations of how long the upgrades will take, communicate the value of the upgrades, and grant access to the upgraded technology at an appropriate price, the STICKY factor for your center will definitely improve. Your members will not only appreciate the new technologies now available, they will also value the care you’ve taken to incorporate them into your center’s offerings.
Your members are the lifeblood of your serviced office center. Look for ways within your organization to genuinely let your members know how important they are to you and your business. Recognize members’ businesses in your center newsletter by having a member of the month section. Feature your new members in your newsletter as well. Send personalized holiday cards. Provide donuts or fruit for breakfast occasionally. You can also throw random happy hours at 4:30 in the afternoon by supplying a couple of bottles of wine and a few cold beers. A simple cheese and cracker tray can add a nice touch.
I advocate that center managers should meet one-on-one with a minimum of 3 members monthly. That way, they can get to know their members’ business goals, learn about their experience with the center, and gain a better understanding of the services they can provide to better provide for their workspace needs. These meetings also help increase the STICKY factor by making members feel how important they are.
Establishing a community culture at your center also helps increase the STICKY factory. You can do this by offering mixers and meetups where your members can connect with each other. Co-working environments also foster a sense of community. Lastly, using your center’s social media accounts to make introductions, share your members’ posts, and provide information about your center’s services can also help build a STICKY community at your serviced office center.
Selecting a staff with broad skill set increases the STICKY factor as well. When you have people at your center that are equipped with the knowledge to provide assistance, either paid or complimentary, your members know that they can count on your center for support service as well as workspace services.
Making sure that your regular and temporary staff know how to provide the service your members expect is key to maintaining your STICKY factor, too. Therefore, training is essential.
Stagnation will surely lead you to failure as a business. So in order to keep members excited and engaged in their services, you must make an effort to develop and improve your offerings, staff, and facility. You must also focus on solving process inefficiencies and failures so that you can spend more time interacting with members and developing the relationships that make your serviced office center STICKY.
I hope this blog post has given you an idea of what it takes to master the STICKY factor. I look forward to reading your comments about more features of your businesses that motivate member loyalty.
Goal setting is a critical decision making process for any business. Failure to establish appropriate goal can contribute to more widespread failures, dampening of company morale, wasted opportunities, and misallocation of resources. To avoid these outcomes, we must use more than intuition, ambition, and experience to motivate our goal setting decisions. Our goals must also be informed by relevant data. This blog post will outline four key data sets that can optimize our goals for customer growth in the workspace services industry: Leads generated and conversion rate, lead sources, and customer decision making period.
Sales Leads Generated and Conversion rate
Customer growth begins with lead generation, so it is important to record real data on the number of sales leads drawn by your current marketing endeavors and the success of your sales team in converting those leads to customers. If your sales team’s conversion rate is moderate to high, you know that you need to focus your goal on increasing the number of opportunities they have to sell by contributing more resources to marketing. If the conversion rate is low, then you need to focus your goal on improving their effectiveness in the sales process. A low conversion rate compared to leads generated could also be due to insufficient sales staff to handle lead volume. In that case, your goal should be hiring and training additional staff to further grow your customer base. In short, lead generation and conversion numbers help produce more specific targets and justify your strategic planning activities for reaching those targets.
Part of your goal for customer growth could be geared at improving the effectiveness of your lead sources. You must record the investments made into your marketing endeavors and the quality of the leads generated by each. Some forms of web advertising generate hundreds of leads per month. Yet, if those leads far less likely to reach customer stage than leads generated by other sources, is it worth it include that form of marketing as a component of your goal for customer growth? Or if your time is spent nurturing a strategic partnership that only produces 1 successful referral in a year’s time, is achieving your growth goal by referral accomplishable in the goal’s timeframe? Questions like this should be considered as you are setting your goal and strategizing how to attain it.
Decision Making Period
In the workspace services industry, decision making periods are rarely within a 30-day window. People like to think long and hard about where to house their business and rightfully so. Tracking the time from lead to customer stages will help you install a reasonable time period for your goal. Use the decision making period that occurs most often (mode) for your customers rather than the average time period to define your time limit for reaching the goal. Using the average can cause you to attribute too short of a time to see maximum results. To better illustrate this point, consider the following data set.
Average time: 38 Modal Time: 42
If you evaluated the success of the goal activities at the 38-day average mark, you would miss out on the majority of customers that took 42 days.
If you’re not currently tracking these figures, contact us at Office Suite Strategies, and we can help you get the systems and procedures in place to make recording this data easy and reports on this data accessible. We also provide complete serviced office management services to ensure that businesses meet and exceed every goal assigned.
In the Great Courses series, The Art of Critical Decision Making, Professor Michael Roberto names the sunk cost trap as one of the biases that threatens good critical decision making. What’s the sunk cost trap? Briefly stated, it’s the act of committing additional resources (i.e. money, time, people) to an unsuccessful course of action in the hope that it will soon pay off, recover loss, or save face. There are none more prone to the sunk cost trap than those who are in business for themselves and by themselves—solopreneurs. As I’ve written in an earlier post, solopreneurship requires a certain level of risk taking. It’s important to establish some safeguards that will prevent over commitment to risks taken, especially when those risks aren’t producing necessary outcomes. Here, I’ll share a few measures that if taken can help you avoid the sunk cost trap as a solopreneur.
As solopreneurs, every business decision we make can affect us professionally and, often to a greater extent, personally. So when we make decisions that lead to undesired outcomes, we can end up applying even more effort and monetary resources to that choice in order to restore our egos. Without someone to encourage us out of that sense of personal failure, it is very easy to feel at home in the sunk cost trap until there are no more resources to commit. I’ve found that a great mentor will alert you to that over investment in a particular strategy and help you workshop alternative plans to reach your intended goal. Now these conversations with a mentor are not always comfortable. After all, solopreneurship is about being your own boss and independent decision making. But, your mentor should be someone who has a proven track record and wealth of experience that you know you can respect and trust to be included in your critical decision making processes.
Test and Measure
The sunk cost trap is well hidden when we don’t do the proper testing and measuring of success throughout the execution of a plan. As solopreneurs, this testing and measuring can fall to low priority when we’re saddled with all of the other business responsibilities. As you compose your strategic plans, identify a key performance indicator of your planned action that’s easily tracked and set evaluation times where you will compare the actual results to what was anticipated. Advertising is one of the areas where sunk cost traps are most often fallen into because of neglected testing and measuring. For example, say you make a $500 monthly investment in a web advertising program. You should have a very simple way to identify leads generated by that particular source. Perhaps, you have a special telephone number and/or email address that prospects who see the advertisement respond to. If the number of leads generated at one year falls drastically compared the leads generated at six months or if there were no leads generated at all, you must investigate whether or not that form of advertising is worth continuing. It could be the case that that form of advertising is not effective for the service you provide, so the right path forward could be abandoning that advertising plan entirely.
Know Your Options
Sometimes we found ourselves in the sunk cost trap because the feeling that there is no other option abounds. I’ve found this to be the case when solopreneurs are shackled to traditional office rent and terms. They continue to pay monthly for square footage that they never use only because of the perception that a traditional office space is required for a business to be “legitimate” or “established”. This perception is wholly inaccurate since the advent of workspace services, specifically the virtual office. With the use of a virtual office, solopreneurs have access to the amenities and support staff of a full-time office without the pressure and expense of a lease. A virtual office also gives users the flexibility to test and measure how they use their workspace and to make adjustments if their needs change. Furthermore, the serviced office centers usually offer opportunities to network with other solopreneurs who might offer or need mentorship.
Despite the sunk cost trap’s presence in critical decision making for solopreneurs, it can be avoided if we seek mentors, test and measure, and explore options. If you’re a solopreneur interested in getting started with a virtual office to avoid the sunk cost trap, please contact us for a referral to a serviced office center in your area.
There are a number of reasons why short-term office space can benefit your company. We met with Ja-Ann Peterson, General Manager of Heritage Office Suites, asking her to explain the most popular reasons for companies to utilize their workplace. Ja-Ann tells us that there are several reasons why her clients utilize their services. Although many companies do move in on a long-term basis, the bulk of her clients do use Heritage on a temporary basis. Peterson has experienced companies moving in because their business is too small for traditional space, or they need swing space, or there was damage to their existing space. We also see a lot of companies that experience seasonal surges in business. We asked Ja-Ann to expand on her experiences; here is what she shared…
Small Businesses Can Use Short-Term Office Space
In terms of company size, small businesses are our number one demographic. Companies in the 1-5 employee range have quickly learned of our products and have come running. We find that there are two types of small businesses; those looking to expand and others that are happy to stay the size they are. Regardless, we serve them perfectly, Peterson says.
First, for the company that is looking to grow, we offer flexibility. There is no long-term commitment and as they add employees, they can take more space from us, therefore never having to commit to what they don’t need. And, as they prepare to launch themselves into a midsize company, they can slowly look for a proper traditional option.
Then, if you are, and always will be a small business, we offer the convenience of managing the office for you. Ja-Ann tells us that they have noticed that the employees don’t have time to deal with the maintenance of the space. That’s where we come in. We take care of the maintenance, the coffee, the equipment leases and all the support staff.
If Your Current Office Lease Ends before a New Location is Chosen
It is not uncommon for a company to get caught between leases. It is so difficult to obtain a seamless transition between offices, perhaps the new space is having construction delays, or they just haven’t found the right space, but know you don’t want to stay where you are. We serve as the perfect transition because we provide furniture, an IT infrastructure, and all business equipment is in place. We have served several companies that find themselves to be very comfortable in our workplace while they look for a traditional office solution.
If Your Business Outgrows Your Existing Space
All too often, a company will bypass shared workplaces as an option and go directly into traditional space. Usually, this is common practice and certainly works out just fine. But, what happens when you land that big account, or your business grows at a pace that was faster than originally anticipated? What happens when there is simply no room for the growth and committing to more space is not in the budget? Peterson tells us, “In a growing economy, this is becoming all too common. Fortunately, our office suites offer the needed extra space for the employees while the corporate office can figure out the best direction for the future.”
If You Need Meeting Rooms, Business Lounges and Day Offices
When asked about the fastest growing and most popular use of their workplace, Ja-Ann tells us, “Without a doubt, more and more people are using the meeting rooms, business lounges and day offices on a more frequent basis.” She goes on to explain that, with a growing popularity in home-based businesses, people still need a place to meet their clients. With access to on-demand options for periods as short as one hour, we offer the convenience of working from home, backed by a professional environment and business address.
If You Have a Seasonal Business
There are several business situations that have seasonal spikes. These spikes can take someone that is comfortable working from home for most of the year, and create a nightmare during certain business seasons. We asked Ja-Ann to explain a situation that may fit this mold. Being in the heart of tax season, she was quick to point out that Heritage Office Suites always spikes in traffic because the accountant’s business surges now.
How to Find Short-Term Office Space
Long-term commercial office space on average requires a three- to seven-year lease term. When a company is growing rapidly, particularly a small business, being locked in for such an extensive time frame is not a good option. Short-term office solutions provided by office suites can range from a month-to-month agreement up to a one-year term. In many instances, these offices include other small business solutions like reception services and large meeting room, which can provide excellent benefit. When deciding on the best short-term office agreement for your business, it is important to consult with an expert who can direct you based on their experience and insight in the short-term office market.
No matter what the reason, short-term office space is a life-saver for many businesses, large or small. Office Suite Strategies manages several locations throughout the country, offering excellent benefits to businesses who find themselves in need of a short-term solution for their team members. Contact us today to learn more about the options available and discover our locations conveniently located within or a short drive from major city centers.
Property owners, real estate investors, brokers and potential tenants are in search of strategic partners in the highly fragmented property management industry. Office Suite Strategies provides the link through a "sales engine" as an independent business that is a profit generator. However, the resulting outcome of this "sales engine" is an equity asset as of the new business with commercial value.
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