Top 5 Reasons Why Coworking Is Ideal For All Companies

Coworking has become the go-to workspace solution for businesses, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and the corporate world–and there’s a good reason for that.

When you think about it, what’s not to love about coworking spaces? They offer flexible and affordable workplace options, with the added value of a strong and involved community where opportunities to network are vast.

Below, you will find five reasons why coworking is a smart solution to your workspace needs, regardless of your company size or your line of work.

They’re Inspiring

Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and employees of 500 Fortune companies are all bound to feel inspired when in a coworking space. Coworking spaces are a place that people choose to work from, which means that they are usually looking forward to getting their work done and to being productive.

The environment we work greatly influences our work and our productivity levels; if people around you are typing away and working hard, then chances are you will feel encouraged to follow that behavior. Also, having someone around with whom you can share ideas often leads to creativity, innovation, and collaboration.

Networking

Community is a very important (if not the most important) aspect of a coworking space. And just as you are likely to form a strong friendship with fellow coworkers, you are also likely to find your next business partner or client.

Networking in a coworking space translates to opportunity.

Also, because of their nature, coworking spaces often host different types of events, which give workers the opportunity to network with other workspace members, as well as members of the local community.

We at Office Suite Strategies have helped various workspace and coworking providers host unique events, from happy hours, to brown-bag lunches, to business workshops. In these events, we have observed how members of these workspaces are able to ‘click’ with one another and find ways to work together.

Flexible and Affordable

Most businesses and freelancers are looking for affordable workspace solutions that will help their business grow. Coworking is ideal in this sense as it allows companies and workers to have access to workspace without having to incur large costs.

Larger companies benefit from this flexibility and affordability as they are able to reduce overhead costs by only paying for the amount of space that they actually need.

The Perks and Amenities

Here at OSS, we have helped various coworking spaces find the right amenities for their local market and community.

Most coworking spaces offer the same core amenities with additional ones tailored to their particular markets. But just to name a few, how does less hassle and stress sound? When you use a coworking space, you don’t have to deal with administrative or real estate management costs. You also have access to meeting and conference rooms equipped with the latest technology, plus the great advantage of having a prestigious professional address.

Also, not having to worry about WiFi, or running out of ink for the printer is pretty neat. And let’s not forget the community and the people you will share time and space with.

Opportunities To Expand Knowledge

As you get to know other coworkers, you will find that you become more knowledgeable or learn a new thing everyday.

The reason why coworking communities are so strong and appealing is because people like to share insights and tips with one another. Because coworking members are so diverse in nature and lines of work, there is an incredible amount of knowledge there just waiting to be shared.

Coworking has completely transformed the concept of ‘office’ or ‘workplace’. At Office Suite Strategies, we are committed to helping coworking spaces be their best version so that people continue to love the way these spaces feel, look, and grow.

If you’re a coworking space provider seeking to improve your offerings or events, or if you’re looking into setting up a new space, here is how we can help you.

How to Make Your Business Memorable During the Holidays

The holiday season is a fantastic time of year to let your clients know how much you value and appreciate their business! With their attention split between work, family, and festivities, how can you ensure that your business stands out among all the excitement?  Work smarter and take a personal approach to capture their attention this year!  There are some key efforts you can employ to make sure you are forefront on the minds of your clients during the holidays and as we head into the new year. Some are even simpler than you might think. Doing just a little extra now will set you on the right path with your clients and build momentum for your business in 2017!

Customer Service

Customer service is always important and is especially so during the holidays. Your team is likely juggling typical daily tasks for customers and clients along with end-of-year tasks. There is no better time to ensure your clients the best experience. Take a positive approach and make sure you clients know that you are working harder than ever for them.  Stay proactive and keep your clients well-informed. They will appreciate your communication and enthusiasm, which will likely help them focus on other matters that are more in need their attention.

If you are planning to be out of the office for a while, delegate wisely. Ensure an easy transition by appointing colleagues who can confidently take on tasks in your absence so your clients know they are in good hands.  Let them know you will be away so they aren’t taken by surprise and make sure your out-of-office message clearly directs your clients to the appropriate person or persons. Brief your colleagues on any particulars they need to know about your projects before you leave. Your attention to detail will not go unnoticed.

Act Fast

Most people are probably going to start taking off a few days to a week before Christmas. Be cognizant of this and work to adjust deadlines accordingly. Talk to you clients and find out if they would rather move deadlines up or wait until after the holiday season is over to complete projects. Avoid working overtime to complete tasks that the client may not be interested in reviewing until after the new year and focus your energy on priority projects. This will take unnecessary stress off you, your employees, and your clients during the holiday. Showing consideration of your clients’ own holiday schedule will remind them that you care and is a great way to strengthen the client bond as you close out the year.

 

infographic-with-tips-from-article-on-how-your-business-can-stand-out-during-the-holidays

 

Show Appreciation

December marks the time that your clients are evaluating who they will do business with in the upcoming year. This makes it the perfect time to show them some extra appreciation. Send out a thank you with a gift card or offer a special incentive for them (and let them know it’s special). If you want to stand out, your gift or offer should be noteworthy and have a personal touch. Try to tailor them specifically. This continues building strong relationships, and it may help your business grow through word of mouth.

Don’t focus on clients alone. Include vendors and other service partners as well like your cleaning crew, water delivery person and mail carrier. These people work hard for you all year long and receive little thanks. A gesture of thanks is a wonderful thing to share this time of year. Remember, the more genuine and personal the thank you, the more memorable it is for them.

Let Your Clients Go Behind-the-Scenes

Show your employees getting into the holiday spirit. Take some pictures of any holiday events, or parties that you and your employees attend, as well as fun moments around the office. Share the fun on social media and in an email where you wish your clients and customers a happy holiday. Make sure your message is inclusive and that content is appropriate to send out to clients. Avoid including alcohol or other such items in your “official” holiday photos. Your clients will appreciate seeing the comradery among your team and feel confident in your ability to work together in their best interests. It is great to give them a peek behind the curtain to see the whole team, even those they may not work with directly come together.

Give Back to the Community

This time of year, there are a lot of people in need. Create a community of giving in your office and partner with a charity or organization to raise money, do a food drive, or gather gifts for the less fortunate. Get your clients involved in the giving by featuring your efforts on your website, social media, and in your emails. Set up a donation page or hold a fund-raiser to show your support and give others an avenue to help. Giving back is about helping others. Philanthropy is an admirable quality in any business owner, taking the time to help others in your community will remind your clients why they choose to business with you and happy to continue supporting your company.

These little touches take minimal effort but make a large impact. Implementing just a few of these ideas will go a long way toward making your business memorable during this holiday season. Engaging with your clients and customers in personal, meaningful ways will help your business and your relationships grow as we move into the new year.

happy-business-group-high-five-over-success

The Best Ways for Businesses to Show Employee and Client Appreciation

Employee and client appreciation is a key part of any successful business. Feeling appreciated goes a long way toward better productivity and overall happiness at work. In fact, a Glassdoor study revealed that 80% of employees say they’re motivated to work harder when shown appreciation by a superior for their work. This month, let your clients and employees know how much they mean to you with a few gestures that will keep your company in the foreground rather than the background. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Better “Thank You” Gestures

Sending a thank you card is nice, but it isn’t necessarily a “stand out” gesture. Try tailoring your gift to the individual. Is it for a client who is always drinking coffee or tea? Find a nice travel mug and include a gift card for a local coffee shop near their location. Is it for an employee who has been working harder than usual? Reward them with a dinner-for-two at a high-end restaurant.

The holidays can be a hectic time for employees and their families. Travel delays can strike without warning and preparing for family to visit can cause extra stress. Make things a little easier on everyone by giving employees days off before and after the holiday breaks. They will appreciate the extra vacation time to spend with their families.

ways-to-show-client-and-employee-appreciation-infographic

Company Field Trips

Getting out of the office with your team for the day can be a great opportunity to connect with employees and boost their happiness quotient. Let them give you some ideas of what they would enjoy and make the most of it. Look around your area for events, tours, or fun day-trip locations like a winery, beach, state park picnic, go-karts/arcade, art classes, and more, or even stay in the office with a “board game day” and a fancy catered lunch. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures for social media!

When you give your employees the chance to form bonds outside of work, everyone wins. Incentives like this are also attractive to potential employees who want to work for a fun company and become part of your brand identity. Clients will be impressed and you will inspire confidence in your team when they see your employees engaged in team-building activities.

Client Loyalty Rewards

Just as retail or food establishments reward customers for their continued patronage, so should you with your best clients. Think outside the box and avoid standard dinner and drinks fare as a reward, save that for a more genuine gesture of thanks.

Why not bring lunch of their choice to their location? You can take advantage of the time and share insights or tips in your area of expertise. Offer a free workshop lesson on a helpful topic that could help their business.  For referrals, send a card with a fun coupon that they can redeem for services with you or for pampering with a massage or facial. Memorable and useful rewards mean your clients will be motivated to continue to send business your way.

Unexpected Appreciation

Do something memorable for birthdays, promotions, or new additions to their family. A gift card that aligns with the event or a unique experience to celebrate. If they’ve been doing business with you for a long time, a nice discount on their next invoice with a personalized message on the bill will mean the world to them.

Another great idea would be to hold an after-hours client appreciation party and invite all of your clients to your location for a few hours with food, drinks, activities, door prizes, and swag bags. Along with showing your appreciation, this provides an excellent networking opportunity that can be beneficial for clients, as well as for your business.

Showing appreciation for employees and clients can come in many forms that go beyond what is listed here. Even simple, unexpected gestures can work wonders for morale and productivity. Now is a great time to start, but keep it going to show how much you value their business and commitment on a consistent basis and you will see the difference throughout the year.

Tips Entrepreneurs Can Use to Cultivate Their Personal Growth

For many entrepreneurs, it can be easy to determine where they excel and hone those skills to their respective product or service. However, this can become a burden rather than a benefit if it becomes difficult for them to see the forest for the trees. Not all entrepreneurs have an innate business sense, and those that do are part of a lucky few. Many know how to do what they are best at and let the other pieces fall into play. Entrepreneurs are very aware of the common pitfalls of running a business. Challenges from within can take any entrepreneur by surprise and divert them from the path they set off on when starting their business.

As important as it is for an entrepreneur to invest in their business when starting out, it is equally, if indeed not more important, for an entrepreneur to also invest in themselves along the way. Following are a few of our suggestions for entrepreneurs looking to increase this worthwhile self-investment.

 Continuing Education is the Ultimate Investment:

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”
– Unknown

You no longer have to physically put yourself in a classroom environment to continue the learning experience. Thanks to the Internet, there is a plethora of resources that allow you to devote time to learning a new skill or enhance an existing one. Whether it is something that directly relates to your business, or something broader, it will open new avenues that can positively impact your business.

Subscribe to /r/Entrepreneur

Reddit is a vast resource for business owners. Here, you’ll find thousands of other like-minded individuals where you can discuss ideas, get feedback, and help other entrepreneurs with their own issues. If you look at the top posts tab, you’ll find the most helpful or interesting discussions and resources that resonate with other entrepreneurs.

Sign up for Khan Academy

This free resource covers all math levels, physics, chemistry, entrepreneurship, history, coding, and so much more. There are lesson plans geared toward making it easier follow at your own pace. Best of all, it’s completely free.

Free resources at MIT OpenCourseWare

Now you can have complete access to thousands of MIT courses from every department and degree program including entrepreneurship courses. These include video lectures, free online textbooks, assignments, and exams and are completely free for everyone.

Free online courses at HarvardX

Ever wanted to study the masterpieces of world literature? Contract laws? Computer science? Well, it’s all available at your fingertips now. Open your mind with these online courses. Upon completion of the free course, you can receive a certificate of completion (for an additional fee) to add to your qualifications and accolades.

Think about taking up an artistic class at a local community college or workshop near you. Art allows your brain to activate different areas which can lead to new insights. It also nurtures your creativity which can simultaneously be relaxing and rewarding.

Coworking is Community Building

The most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
–Kurt Vonnegut

Taking part in coworking is an excellent way to nurture your creative side as well. Having the opportunity to change venues and charge your mind with an engaging, bustling office space can really get your brain firing on all cylinders. Just being around other professionals is beneficial when you find yourself removed from others or on the go most of your day otherwise.

Coworking offers time to reconnect to the world, network with fellow coworkers, and brainstorm issues that you are trying to tackle in your business. Having a change of scenery or discussion with someone outside of your organization can give you new insight and help pull you out of a rut. The benefits of coworking are good for your overall wellbeing. You will find other entrepreneurs and professionals who will inspire you to keep moving forward and may even serve as valuable contacts for yourself and/or your clients.

Networking Beyond the Norm

“If your business comes from relationships, relationships should be your business.”
– Doug Ales

This is a given, BUT, instead of your usual unproductive business networking mixer take part in something that gets you excited, or maybe even scares you a little. Sites like meetup.com help you find and connect with other people in a variety of activities like cooking, marathon training, practicing a foreign language, dancing, writing, and more. This is similar to continuing your education but the great thing is that you are also meeting tons of new people who have similar interests and passions. Those connections can prove to be valuable personally and professionally!

Take Care of Yourself Inside and Out

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.”
– Deborah Day

When you’re the heart and soul of your company, your physical, mental and emotional health should become your number one priority. It’s easy to say: “I’ll start next month.” But then that becomes 2 months, then a year, and then five years. Owning a business is not for the faint of heart and if you aren’t taking proper care of yourself, your health will start affecting your business and vice-versa. Start out slow by taking walks after a healthy lunch, take a break every few hours and do something that doesn’t involve looking into a computer screen. Select activities that will help round-out your physical, and in turn, your mental well-being so you can be sharp as a tack and prepared for anything that comes your way.

Get Involved in a Productive Way

“Nothing liberates your greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve.”
– Marianne Williamson

Not all entrepreneurs are in it for the money. Many get started by solving a problem or providing a needed service. These business owners quickly realize how much they enjoy the freedom of creativity or helping others. Getting bogged down in the day-to-day issues of running a business can be a barrier for some to remember the feeling that got them started in the first place.  A great way to combat those feelings is to get involved charitable work. Helping others creates a positive, lasting effect on one’s well-being.

If you’re an entrepreneur, your personal growth and business growth go hand-in-hand.  In our managed office suites and coworking spaces, we have watched many entrepreneurs grow their business with several of these tips. We love to watch these relationships grow and are proud of the opportunities we can offer our clients!

For a handy reference guide, check out our infographic!

An infographic with advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners to continue their personal growth for the success of their business

The Biggest Takeaway From the GWA Conference In Vegas

In May this year, Allwork.Space published an article titled “Coworking: No Longer Synonymous With Open Space.”

Just a few weeks ago during the GWA Conference, we experienced first hand the truth behind Allwork’s statement. But we also reached an even more significant conclusion:

Coworking is the new term that everyone is using to refer to any type of shared workspace, regardless of whether it is a business center, an executive suite, an incubator, an accelerator, open space, or private space.

Believe it or not, this is good news.

Traditional business center operators and private office providers rejoice; you get to take advantage of the SEO benefits that come with coworking.

But, wait a minute — when did the definition of coworking change?

In our opinion, the definition hasn’t changed, however how the term coworking is perceived seems to have shifted internally within the shared workspace industry as a whole.  Though we can’t give you an exact timeframe, this shift in how coworking is perceived took place when people started to realize that coworking is more about the culture within the shared workspace environment than it is about the layout of the space. Think of it this way: together, the industry has fine-tuned what coworking is.

Again, the essence of coworking has remained the same: to foster a community made up of various professionals from various industries.

Business centers and executive suites have been doing this for a long time. So don’t feel left out, don’t feel outdated. You are as much a coworking space as any that offers hot-desking options.

Coworking has evolved, and this evolution has brought about many different styles or models of coworking. Simply look at two of the major coworking operators, WeWork and Industrious. Those who have been inside their locations know that they offer a hybrid model approach to coworking, one where they offer private space, open space, and meeting rooms.

It’s balance. It’s our industry’s sweet point. It’s coworking.

But why coworking? Why not business center or shared workspace?

Well, the market chose it to be so. There could be a plethora of reasons why ‘coworking’ is the keyword that people are searching the most for online. Maybe it’s because it’s shorter, maybe it’s because it makes people think of collaboration, or maybe it’s because it sounds cool.

In the end, we’re glad to put an end to the misconception that coworking means only open space and hot-desking options. The coworking industry has a lot to offer, and it’s time people acknowledge that.

So, don’t be put off by others calling your executive suite center coworking, as this is a good thing. It means you’re fostering community, you’re building a culture, you’re offering more than simply a physical workspace.

Traits To Look for When Hiring A Community Manager

A Community Manager (or sometimes referred to as a Client Services Manager) can make or break a workspace. They’re the person that keeps everything running smoothly, everyone getting along amiably, and they’re the ones that organize all the fun stuff. Oh, they’re also in charge of making sure the coffee’s always hot.

Although the Community Manager typically reports to the Center Manager, they bear a lot of responsibility and are accountable for all the goings, comings, and happenings in your center.

Have a new member? Have a visitor? Need printing paper? Need coffee? Organizing a party or event? Need to send out an email blast? Have to update social media? Need an extension cord? Gotta give someone notice that their invoice is past due? Need to get next month’s invoices ready to go out?

You name it. They do it. They fix it.

As you can probably imagine then, this job isn’t for everyone. So, where do you find the right person? More importantly, how do you make sure you pick out the right one for your shared workspace?

That’s what we at Office Suite Strategies are here for. We’ll help you find the right fit, the one that will keep your workspace buzzing, with a healthy community, and happy clients. Our President, Karen Condi, has shared some traits that you should look for when interviewing for the Community Manager position.

Traits to Look For and Tips To Help You Find Them

  • What’s your first impression? Is the candidate shy or do they have a strong presence from the get go? Your community manager should be a social butterfly, it should be someone that’s comfortable with meeting new people, isn’t shy to knock on doors, and naturally knows how to get conversations flowing.
  • When looking for the ideal candidate, look for qualities that’d you’d often find in that one friend that throws the best parties and naturally knows how to have a good time, regardless of who is there and who isn’t. (Quick side note here: make sure the person you hire doesn’t promote any networking events…what’s cool about “networking”?. Encourage them to call your events a  party, a member social, or a happy hour–it’ll bring the attendance up.)
  • Of course, the one person that throws the best parties has to have some killer organizational skills. Your ideal candidate is also someone that knows how to handle administrative tasks and is pretty good at keeping his or herself organized; they need to be detail oriented and not afraid to take the lead when it comes to administering tasks.
  • Last but certainly not least, customer service needs to be your candidate’s middle name. The perfect fit will be the person that is good at delivering good news and bad news; they will be patient with members, the won’t hesitate to call up someone and remind them their invoice is past due or when member fees will go up, and they’ll also be the first to want to celebrate a client’s success.

Final Thoughts

Your Community Manager is going to be everyone’s go-to person when they have good news or when they have bad news. Which is why it’s important that this person be someone that people naturally like to interact with at all times.

Ysel Hernandez, Client Services Manager at Lakeside Executive Suites, shared some words of wisdom with us.

“What makes a great Client Services Manager is the ability to think of each client’s company as if it were your own, that way you will be able to provide a level of service that will allow for that company to continue to grow at your center and beyond.”

We hope this helps and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions, doubts, or need some extra tips to hiring your ideal Community Manager.

The Days of Telephone Answering Services Aren’t Gone

Earlier this week, Karen Condi, Office Suite Strategies’ President, hosted a webinar for The Global Workspace Association (GWA) on how telephone services are not so 2005, as many mistakenly believe.

Considering mobile tech has exponentially grown in the last several years, it’s no surprise that workspace operators starting out and people looking to get into the business of serviced workspace are a bit skeptic about offering telephone services.

“Our clients/members all use their smartphones, our market is extremely tech savvy,  or our client/members would rather use their mobile phones at all times, or coworkers don’t use office phones” are only a few of the excuses that Karen has run into. We’re not about to argue against the increased use of mobile phones, but whoever said an office phone line can’t integrate with smartphones?

Before we dive into the perks of actually offering this type of service, here are some stats that will get the ball rolling for you:

  • 12% of overall revenue of OSS managed centers comes from telephone services and its related add-ons such as vm to text, and live answering services
  • 60% of workspace members from OSS managed centers are taking phone services today
  • 35% of virtual users from OSS managed centers are subscribing to phone services today
  • 47% of total members in a center (office, coworking and virtual)  are purchasing telephone services according to a WUN Systems survey

Still believe telephone answering is out?

The way telephones are used and the revenue they provide has drastically changed over the years, but it’s an experience no one is ready yet to fully turn their backs on. Especially today, as the coworking and flexible workspace market grows and increasingly continues to attract large companies and corporations to the industry.

A big driver behind the success of flexible workspaces is the amazing customer service that staff gives to its members. Not to mention the convenience factor of having their phone supported and managed by the same group that is providing their workspace.  Imagine the downtime involved when the client/member has to set up their own business phone line with Google Voice or any other web based service.

Whether you are a brand new center or If you’re running at full capacity and experiencing a high call volume, it becomes really hard to manage members and calls while keeping everything running smoothly. Just another reason why you should consider hiring the telephone answering services of an expert. Because there are scalable and cost-effective options available today through hosted phone systems and outsourcing of live answering services, it’s really a no brainer to offer these services in your workspace. There are various options out there, one of them being PROS, which rolled out a year ago and offers a wholesale and whitelabel model of telephone answering services that’s specifically designed for workspace operators of all kinds.

Now that you’re convinced and sure that telephone answering services aren’t as old school as you thought, let’s go over some best practices for selling the new service to your members.

Sales Best Practices

  • Start with a question that puts members in a mindset of how they will provide the service to their clients as opposed to a matter of whether they will or not. Here’s an example: will you be porting a phone number into us or would you like for us to provide you with a new number?
  • Follow-up by asking them how their current call answering is handled. Do they have one? If not, share the benefits of having one. If they do, explain to them why having an integrated workspace and call answering service is beneficial to them.
  • Continue by highlighting some of the most popular features. Take for example the voicemail to text service; this is a great service to highlight as it clearly shows how smartphones can easily be integrated with the telephone answering service. (Think tech savvy members.)
  • While you’re doing your ‘sales pitch’, remember to make it sound as if everyone you talk to takes the service. It’s like a psychological thing, clients want to do what other clients are doing.
  • Finally, remember to mention all of the services and add-ons of your telephone services such as live answering, call screening and voicemail to text services.

Now that that’s taken care of, don’t forget to include your new service in your website and give yourself a shoutout over social media or a newsletter. Here’s a fun fact to close: “once a sale is done, the retention rate for phones is extremely high for the service.”

If you’d like to check out Karen’s webinar, you can easily find it by clicking here. And if you want to get started on setting up the telephone answering service, you can learn more about PROS and how it can help you generate revenue here.

The Best Solutions for Small Business Growing Pains

As your business begins growing, what are some of the things you need to think about to prepare for the future? Based on our extensive experience with small business clients, we know that at a certain point it becomes unfeasible for business owners to handle everyday tasks while also preparing for the growth and success of their company’s future.

This preparation includes all of the critical aspects that go along with growing your business such as planning your office layout for existing and future employees, thinking over your business plan, crunching numbers, client outreach, and being able to hire someone with the particular requirements that you need.

We’ve prepared a helpful guide to assist those business owners who are entering a growth phase in their company.

Client Communication Management

At some point, that slow trickle of client communication will turn into a constant stream, eating away at your valuable time. Once you realize this, the logical solution is to start looking for help to meet this demand. However, as a growing business, you may not have the resources to hire someone new just yet. This is where full-service office space can really help save business owners, in more ways than one.

Full-service office spaces provide administrative assistance and reception services to help lessen the time-consuming task of managing client communication. Office staff is available to answer and screen phone calls, help with packages and mail, as well as faxes. The client services team will also help manage walk-ins and appointments by greeting them at the front desk, even when you aren’t there. The level of professionalism conveyed by having a person ready and waiting to help your clients, especially when you are not available cannot be overstated. This service saves you time and money, two very important factors in growing your business!

Evaluate Office Space

If you don’t have office space, what is keeping you from making the move? Is it concern about signing a lease for your business before you’re sure where it’s headed? Are you worried about finding yourself outgrowing your office suite and being locked into an inadequate space? Not so with flexible, full-serviced office space provided by our offices across the United States. You will not be locked into a long-term agreement, but will have the flexibility to choose the plan and amount of time that works best for you.

Or, if you already have office space, where do you see your needs changing in the upcoming months? If you’re not hiring immediately, but hope to in the foreseeable future, traditional office space may not be the best choice for you. You may find that your business grows faster than your office space will allow, and a flexible option will work better in this situation. Flexible options allow you to add space to your current agreement and use flexible office suites as needed. After all, you don’t want an office so small that employees feel constrained, stressed, or worse, feeling like there isn’t really room for the business to grow.

Revisit Your Business Plan

How old is your business plan and when was the last time you modified it? If you don’t know the answer, chances are it’s time to reassess. This is a critically important area for business owners to focus on, especially during a growing period when things are rapidly changing. Your business plan is the foundation for the future success of your company and should always be subject to reevaluation anytime there is a significant change within the business.

Through this process, you will start recognizing the pain points that may have initially been overlooked. This can be anything from employee roles and the services you offer to your product inventories to and revenue projections. In essence, the ability to grow your business will stem directly from how structured your business plan is and how closely you stick with it.

Consult an Accountant

Not every business owner is a number cruncher, and even those that are good with numbers will need some outside assistance when it comes to the nitty-gritty details. An accountant is a tremendous help in identifying what business owners cannot. Maybe you need to hire additional employees but aren’t sure what current expenses can be eliminated to make that possible. Or, you need to take a good look at your existing product inventories to see what is more desirable to your customers over what isn’t. An accountant can help make this possible which will expand room for growth. When employing their services, a business owner can gain a much clearer understanding of where their business needs to adjust in order to operate as efficiently as possible. This way, you are on a road to start turning revenue into profit.

Don’t Lose Touch with Clients

Your clients have made it possible for you to grow your business. They are important to your current and continued success. The time you are saving by employing the resources offered by full-service office space will help you keep up with the endeavor of touching base with your clients on a regular basis.

Social media is an excellent place to start! By giving your audience the ability to find and connect with you, you are able to communicate directly to your client base whenever you are able. You can share changes to the company, staff, product and service updates, news pertaining to your industry or anything you think your audience would like to see. You’ll even be able to tap into growing your client list and gain new clients who may not have been aware of your company otherwise. E-Newsletters are another great option. A friendly, informative newsletter is a great way to stay top-of-mind with your clients. Whatever you choose to do, just don’t lose touch!

Hire Smart

As a growing business owner, you should start taking an active interest in always accepting resumes. Even if you’re not currently hiring, you may need to sooner than you expect and you don’t want to rush through the hiring process because you’re limited by time. By creating a pool of candidates, you can start filtering out the best applicants based on what your future needs will be. Refer back to your recently refreshed business plan to determine what that might be.

There are many professional services that can make life easier when you are working to grow your business. Full-service, flexible office suites offer a host of ways to assist with those needs. We hope this guide gives you a great starting point when it comes down to considering how to best deal with any small business growing pains you may have. If you have more questions regarding the services offered by our nation-wide office suites, please contact us!

Here is our infographic that breaks down this article!

Small Business Growing Pains tips for Small business owners

 

 

 

Receptionist services provided by PROS

Heritage Office Suites Shares PROS Success Story

Office Suite Strategies created PROS, Professional Receptionist Outsourcing Services, to help shared workspace business’ increase the productivity of their on-site staff, provide better customer service to their members & guests, and reduce staffing expenses.  As PROS draws closer to celebrating its first year in business, we invited Christa Wilke, General Manager of Heritage Office Suites in Round Rock, Texas, to share how PROS has impacted her business.

Heritage Office Suites LogoOver the last year, my center has become increasingly busier.  On average, a little over 60% of our clients choose phone answering service with us.  We were answering on average 250 calls per day, and it was beginning to affect the quality of our customer service to our clients and prospective clients.  Answering the phones became almost debilitating for me and my team.  We were unable to walk away from the front desk area to perform other business critical tasks.  We had to hire temporary employees while staff is on vacation/sick. And, we suffered endless interruptions by the high call volume, which hampered sales presentations and in-person customer interactions.  I was even considering hiring additional staff in order to accommodate the workload as we were only getting busier.   I found out that  Office Suite Strategies (OSS) was offering outsourced phone answering through PROS, and I immediately thought, “This is the answer to my many concerns!”  I performed my own analysis, and I realized that I can actually cut some (staffing) costs and continue to experience a nice profit margin by offering phone answering services to my clients, while outsourcing this service to PROS.

The process has been practically seamless as PROS handles our calls the same way our onsite staff did previously but with added efficiency, allowing us to focus more on the customer service tasks at hand. PROS has made it an easy transition as they understand the variety of clientele we serve, especially our Legal Professionals.   They are able to take care of all of our clients professionally and efficiently. They answer with a customized greeting and transfer the caller either to the client’s desk phone, cell phone, or voicemail.  They handle our call screening clients by getting the caller’s name and the subject of the call.  They, then, contact the client to see if he/she would like to speak to the caller.

PROS reporting has given us an additional revenue source that that we were unable to tap into before.  PROS provides monthly reports that show us each client’s call volume. Because of those reports, we are now able to charge our clients for call volumes exceeding 150 calls per month and for other overages that might occur in any given month.  90% of our clients receive less than 150 calls per month so we’ve built our pricing model around the masses and only have to charge additional fees to those clients that receive an abundant amount of calls.  This allows us to keep our pricing down and for those that need more support, they understand the value and are happy to pay the additional fees involved.

The benefits of outsourcing our phones to PROS have more than exceeded my expectations.  We are able to present a more professional first impression to guests coming into the center.  There are no more loud phones ringing at the front desk while we are trying to serve clients and customers.  We have increased revenue generated from providing various administrative support services to our clients.  The morale of the whole team has improved because they can complete tasks faster without interruptions and leave work with a heightened sense of accomplishment.  Our level of customer service has increased, and the team can be more involved with our sales and marketing.

I would highly recommend PROS to any shared workspace.  We continue to see positive changes as a result of outsourcing our phone services.

For more information on PROS, please visit www.prosanswers.com and feel free to reach out to Karen Condi at 800-239-8174 for an evaluation of your needs to see if PROS would be a good fit for your property!

 

Work/Life Balance Tips for Small Business Owners

If you’re a small business owner, then you are probably working most of the time. Some may even call you a workaholic. We get it, being a business owner requires a lot of time, sacrifice, and major commitment. But are you aware of the damaging effect of compounding all of your work duties with your own life? Without a proper workload balance, you could potentially be hurting your relationships, happiness, as well as your health.

In fact, according to the International Labour Organization, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.” However, even with all of that extra work, the US is ranked third in productivity in the world. The top two productive countries, Germany and France, have strict laws concerning their work-weeks which are shorter than the typical American 40 hours.

Does this sound like you? There’s nothing wrong with working hard, but you may gain some long-term benefit if you act now to get a handle on your work/life balance.

Here are some of our favorite ways to achieve a manageable work/life balance:

1. Digital Detox

Most of us are chained to our phones and computer screens for hours at a time. We’ve also conditioned ourselves to constantly check up on e-mails/texts/notifications/etc., or whenever we hear a notification come through on our phones. This constant checking can make your brain believe it is always in “work-mode”, which can increase unnecessary stress and anxiety for you or others around you like friends and family members.

This is why, when your work duties are done for the day, you should start considering turning your attention away from electronics. Designate a time that you can turn off your devices and tune into your life outside of work. You can also remind others in your e-mail signature of when you are and are not available so clients and/or employees don’t fall into the habit of contacting you and expecting a response when during your personal time.

2. Time Management

It’s important to analyze just what exactly most of your time is being devoted to before you can start making changes. By utilizing time tracking and management services like Asana or Toggl, you can easily figure out where all of that time is being spent. After about a month, you are able to review this data and use it to start making some improvements.

Are you factoring in any family and personal time for activities like being able to go to the gym, having dinner with family or doing something fun with the kids? Once you can see clearly how you are spending the bulk of your time, you will be able to make appropriate adjustments which allow work to be completed while still making time for other aspects of your life.

3. Stick to Your Commitments

A good habit to develop is the ability to say no. Did you RSVP for a networking mixer but something else has come up? Other things will always pop up and seem like an enticing way to spend your time, but you should not derail your schedule just to fit another activity in unless it is sure to be a boon for your company. Plan out your week in advance and set the most important task and appointments in stone so disruptions don’t occur. This is especially critical if you already have personal/family time blocked off in advance but a client wants an in-person meeting about something trivial that can wait for another time. You are no good to any of your clients if you are burned-out.

4. All Work and No Play…

Have you been meaning to take up that cooking class or learn a new hobby? Now is the time. If you keep putting it off until things “calm down” then that day will never come. It doesn’t have to be something that will take up hours of your time. Start off small by taking a break and going out to read a book in the park or unwind with your favorite music (not while doing work). Then, set some rewards for yourself if you’ve been working more than usual by leaving work a little earlier every once in a while. Do anything that helps you reset your batteries and makes you happy! If you need one more reason…you never know who you might meet or what opportunities may arise from branching out (personally or professionally) and trying something new!

5. Take Care of Yourself

This is hard for a lot of people, but after planning out your schedule, adjusting workflow and time management you should now have the ability to focus on your own health and wellbeing.

Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Start planning and preparing healthy meals for the week to prevent picking up something fast at the end of the day. Keep healthy snacks with you for a quick energy boost when you need it the most.
  • Get a full night’s rest and stop using electronic devices right before sleeping! Try taking power naps and meditating when you begin to feel overloaded or stressed out.
  • Make time for physical activities with family or friends that involves you breaking a sweat. Join that aerial yoga class you’ve been wanting to try out or go out dancing when it’s time to blow off some steam.
  • Talk to a professional if things are particularly hectic. There is nothing wrong with receiving some outside guidance from someone whose job it is to listen and offer their advice to help you.

6. Outsource Your Workload

For business owners who have an extreme sense of ownership in their company, this can be a huge step to overcome. The truth is that good leaders know when to delegate jobs to others. By allowing others to tackle the small, time-consuming daily tasks, you are freeing yourself to be able to handle more pressing issues and simultaneously relieving yourself of the stress of overseeing everything. Our serviced offices can help lessen your workload by offering reception, marketing, and IT services, among others. These services not only make your business appear more professional, they free you up so that you can get the real work done and go home on time! Now who doesn’t love the sound of that?

Creating a work/life balance is not instantaneous and is something that must be refined over time to meet your individual needs. Especially in business, not everything is as simple as it may seem, but we should always invite that which helps us improve and discard that which does not. Once you figure out your own work/life balance you will quickly realize the benefits and wonder what took you so long!

Here’s a handy infographic for your own reference!

Work-Life-Balance-Tips-For-Small-Business-Owners