The (executive) suite life: One month and counting…

Wow, it’s amazing that a whole month has already flown by.  It feels like only last week I was getting settled in to experience the executive suites at 500 N. Michigan Ave.  During my time here, I have had the privilege of meeting several independent professionals who have embraced the value of working in a shared environment – networking with other professionals and experiencing the empowered feeling of having an established office, without having to deal with all of the hassles of a conventional office.

Since a month has passed, I wanted to write a summary of my experiences.  I have decided to evaluate the experience through a table of pros and cons of officing in an executive suite.  Note that these are my observations – I encourage professionals in the executive suite industry to provide additional insight or response to my observations.

Pros Cons
All telecommunications needs accounted for; no need to manage multiple service providers Space can get pricier than conventional offices when a business reaches 4+ people
Space is furnished to your specifications Locked into building standard finishes
Always room to effortlessly schedule large meetings or impromptu gatherings The space is not yours to do with as you please
Turnkey VoIP and internet service available, so you’ve essentially got a dedicated IT department rolled into your rate You don’t get to choose who else occupies the other offices
Easy to move in and get started
Receptionist and answering services lend a professional quality to your office without substantial fees or management hassles

To be honest, it was hard for me to come up with a lot of cons, when considering a small business.  Although office suites are not ideal for large teams or businesses, small businesses of 1-4 employees can get a professional image, quality space, and productive environment at an affordable rate without the hassles that come with conventional space.

Advertisements

The (executive) Suite Life: Just when you thought I had blogger’s block…

I’ve been fairly well-occupied with special projects related to games.  The biggest one right now is an in-culture marketing opportunity (read: advertising) to the Hispanic community – http://www.gametime24x7.com/loteria/.  By targeting a different product and market, my sales and calling skills are rapidly developing beyond the plateau (worth exploring in another post).

The important thing was that I did not have a whole lot to discuss.  Everything in the office was fairly status quo, until today.  I had the opportunity to experience first-hand the value of working in a shared office environment.  Sales directors, take note: it may be a revenue booster to have a shared office suite through which you rotate your sales team.  The following examples justify my position:

A) I’m helping a really great guy who is fairly fresh in the world of marketing and sales.  He’s looking to establish himself via the Loteria Mix program.  I overheard my neighbor at Avenue Business Center mention that she was involved in buying broadcast advertising time for clients.  Since we need to target professionals who want to buy advertising, I asked her if we could sit down for a few minutes to pick her brain.  She was more than receptive to the idea and gave us both some great pointers on who we should be targeting when we make sales calls.  As it turns out, we didn’t actually want to speak to media buyers, but media planners, who then tell the buyers to buy.

B) This morning, a woman who works down the hall knocked on my door.  She had heard from Mike, the owner of Avenue Business Center, that I run a real estate blog – Do I run a real estate blog?  No kidding. 😉   Her firm, Full Circle International Relocations, Inc., helps international executives when they relocate to the US.  Not only that, but they appear to be one of the few real estate firms (outside of residential brokers) to embrace blogging.  They have a blogger who discusses the relocation industry via www.ReloBlogger.com.  It’s a very clean site that focuses on content and left me impressed.

Two different stories.  In one, I receive valuable time-saving advice.  In the other, two related business activities that can now explore collaboration.

Two business opportunities that could never have happened if we all worked out of corporate offices and only interacted with co-workers each day.  That’s why sales teams should evaluate taking some flextime for their biz dev folks to get out there and meet new circles.

Have a great weekend,
Jacob

Going on day 2 at Avenue Business Center

Today I’m actually doing double duty.  I’ve been at my old office in the morning and will be working out of my office suite at Avenue Business Center. Although it is nice to see my colleagues in the real estate office, I am becoming more aware of the benefit of having my own space from which to work. Despite the moniker of “shared space”, having my own office changes my outlook on getting work done and also permits me more control over the environment in which I work. Not to mention the fact that I am exposed daily to a variety of other business professionals and their respective talents – essentially, Avenue Business Center is creating a melting pot of Chicago professionals and I have the privilege of being part of it.

Movin’ on up… exploring shared office space in Chicago

When I worked at Microsoft, we often spoke of “dog-fooding” or “eating your own dogfood”, with the idea being that employees were encouraged to test early versions of new software, like pre-release Office or Windows, in order to ensure that it was ready for prime time.  In the world of commercial real estate, I have decided to do the same.  On behalf of the small business segment of my clients, I will be moving in to an executive suite/shared office space so that I can walk a mile in their shoes.  Over the next thirty days, beginning tomorrow, I will be spending a good portion of my office time at Avenue Business Center, located at 500 N Michigan – which is conveniently right along both the #144 and #146 express bus lines from Uptown.

I will be operating GameTime 24×7 – one of my newest business ventures – out of this office in an effort to understand the key elements of shared office space, the concerns or challenges that my clients might find when looking for such space and the social benefits of co-located offices.  By experiencing this first-hand, I expect that I will be able to better serve my clients going forward.  This blog will be the venue from which I share my observations and thoughts over the coming days.