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SquareFoot: disruptive commercial real estate startup

SquareFoot will soon launch, but has given our readers an exclusive look behind the scenes before anyone else sees how they plan to better serve an often neglected demographic.

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Better serving small to medium business owners

It is no secret that the commercial real estate industry has very few threats to the decades old way of doing business, but a soon-to-launch startup seeks to disrupt the industry to make it more consumer friendly, rather than forcing small businesses to waste time driving all over town in hopes they’ll be able to guess what NNN, GLA, Breakpoint, or CAM stand for or even mean.

There are budding commercial real estate lease sites that are shaking up the industry, but SquareFoot will launch to the public on June 13th as a fully web-based one-stop marketplace for commercial real estate leasing that connects prospective tenants with the full complement of providers they need for finding an office, giving relative pricing (that non-real estate professionals can actually understand), and setting up a new office, store, warehouse, or even restaurant. The company says “this begins with landlords and tenant brokers and continues with furniture vendors, IT providers, commercial movers, and a variety of other service and product providers.”

The company seeks to serve small and medium business (SMB) owners, entrepreneurs and the like for free to the user, as 75 percent of all commercial leases are less than 5,000 square feet, and AGBeat would add that this demographic is commonly neglected as most brokers focus on bigger fish. This is exactly why the need is prevalent and we predict SquareFoot will see massive revenue in their first year or get acquired quickly.

“Our approach to leasing transactions strengthens the tenant’s proposition in the leasing process while providing valuable pre-educated leads to the supply side, creating a situation where ALL parties benefit,” the company says. SquareFoot also provides additional value add to landlords to help them lease and market their available listings.

“The goal of our site is to make the process more digestible for the prospective tenant, and we have no vested interest in the leasing transaction,” the team adds.

Additional ways to help SMBs

Last fall, SquareFoot launched a prototype product and are now in private beta, set to launch first in Houston on June 13th at RealComm in Vegas, with aspirations to expand through Texas within the next 18 months.

The company already has ten of the top 15 office and retail landlords in Houston signed up, and offer commercial real estate info on their blog, and have launched Leasopedia.com to help educate prospective tenants with more than just a glossary which is the industry standard.

What is most impressive is that all three founders are in their twenties, two of whom are University of Texas at Austin graduates and one who is working on his MBA at Columbia. Justin Lee has a background in commercial real estate leasing development in Texas, Jonathan Wasserstrum spent four years in real estate finance for Jones Lang LaSalle before beginning his MBA at Columbia, and Aron Susman was a CPA at Deloitte and a VP, Head of Business Development for a healthcare technology company.

The team is energetic, enthusiastic, and knows personally the pain points small business owners go through to simply set up shop, so their passion for educating and helping shines through in all they do as they remove the commercial real estate iron curtain. Keep an eye on this company.

Click any image below to enlarge:

Company name and featured image updated in March of 2018.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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    May 29, 2012 at 5:26 am

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Business Entrepreneur

Amazon on a collision course with politicians as they strengthen their monopoly

(BUSINESS) E-commerce has come a long way in the last decade, specifically led by Amazon, but are their controlling ways putting them on a collision course with regulators?

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In March, Amazon stopped replenishing weekly purchase orders for tens of thousands of vendors in a move that has stirred up some trouble. The tech giant has once flexed its power over first-party sellers over their platform. And it’s not the first time.

Amazon originally sent out to vendors as an automated message citing the hold up in orders as a technical glitch. The following day, vendors were told the change was permanent. The affected vendors were categorized as making $10 million or less in sales volume per year and not having managers at Amazon. Vendors selling specialized goods that were difficult to ship were also a factor.

The effects can have remarkable effects on the market as Amazon’s algorithms decide who is able to sell what to whom via their near-ubiquitous platform. According to John Ghiorso, the CEO of Orca Pacific, an Amazon agency for consultation and manufacturers representatives, the decision is driven by financial data such as total revenue, profitability, and catalog size.

In a response from an Amazon spokesperson, the change was made in order to improve value, convenience, and selection for customers. The mass termination of purchase orders and the delayed response from Amazon herald the transition to the One Vendor system, putting vendors in an exclusive relationship with Amazon. This system will merge the current Seller Central and Vendor Central.

Amazon’s message is loud and clear: they will do what’s in their best interest to mitigate the market for their convenience. One may be reminded of the anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft in 2001.

The lack of warning didn’t do them any favors either.

While smaller businesses need to change for Amazon’s program, first-party business will revolve around larger brands like Nike with whom Amazon is maintaining a relationship.

Despite the streamlined platform Amazon is going for, the company wields power over vendors and customers alike. Capitalism is one thing, but monopolies are a whole other ball game, and politicians are finally paying attention.

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Business Entrepreneur

Culture Codes is the guide you need for company culture questions

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) One of the biggest sellers of a company to a prospective employee or customer is their culture. Culture Codes has compiled some the biggest companies cultures in convenient decks for you to study and align with.

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Organizational culture is a hot button of conversation. While a variety of definitions exist, one way of defining Culture is the way businesses exist – a summary of values, rituals, and organizational mythology that helps employees make sense of the organization they work in.

Organizational cultures are often reflected in Mission, Vision, and Value statements of organizations.

What many entrepreneurs or new organization struggle with as well, is how to create a culture from the ground up. What kinds of statements and values do they advocate? What are areas of focus? Who are our competitors and what can we do to create a service, product, or quality advantage?

Building a strong culture can be challenging, but a good place to start is looking at the best cultures around.

A new resource by Tettra, Culture Codes, has everything you could want to know on different companies their cultures available for you to study up.

Over 40 companies employing over 280,000 employees have created culture decks and collected core values and mission statements. Companies like Spotify, Netflix, LinkedIn, and NASA have all contributed information.

This information is great for young companies or entrepreneurs to start building a schema about what kind of culture they want to create.

Or existing established companies can look towards peers and competitors and help decide what statements they want to engage culture change on.

For job seekers, Tettra can help potential employees gauge if they are a fit for an organization, or discover that maybe an organization they dream about working for has a culture they may not jive with. And perhaps most valuably, transparently showing off your culture and allowing it to be compared means that organizations can better compete in the talent market.

Recruiters should be obsessed with talking about culture – because it keeps people in the door.

The reasons why people leave employment: work/ life balance, poor treatment, lack of training, or relationship issues with a supervisor or boss; in many ways are a by-product of organizational culture. If you want to compete in the talent market, make culture a selling point and show it off in everything you do.

Even consumer’s benefit from learning about an organization’s culture – values that indicate a commitment to excellence in ethics make consumers feel good about supporting an organization.

It pays to have a good culture. I encourage you to head over to tetra.co/culture-codes and see how companies like Etsy are keeping it real, every day.

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Business Entrepreneur

Simple, inspiring growth hacks from successful startups

(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) Growth hacks – they’re not the end all be all of tech startup success, but they’ve certainly helped give a major boost to many companies that are thriving today.

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Growth hacks – they’re not the end all be all of tech startup success, but they’ve certainly helped give a major boost to many companies that are thriving today. If you don’t know, a “growth hack” refers to a strategy used, often by tech startups, to rapidly sell products or memberships, and gain lots of exposure and a big following right off the bat. Growth hacks are usually clever, creative ways to maximize social networks, digital or literal, to gain customers quickly.

Quora recently listed a round-up of the “most ingenious” growth hacks. Let’s review three killer examples of growth hacking success:

Groupon remains one of the most obvious growth hack success stories.

In order to unlock Groupon discounts, you have to share them with your friends to reach a minimum number of people buying in.

Merchants can afford to give massive discounts, even losing profits, in exchange for the huge amount of exposure their brand gets.

Groupon and the brands offering coupons both win.

Airbnb’s business model has a built-in growth hack – literally anyone can list their apartment or house, meaning that the growth of Airbnb’s user base knows no bounds.

What is even more ingenious is that when you list a property on AirBnB, you have the option of also posting it on Craigslist.

You’d think more companies would have tried this hack by now, but apparently it took some pretty crafty coding for AirBnB’s tech geeks to figure out how to piggyback onto Craigslist’s audience.

One fabulous growth hacking idea comes from Dropbox. Refer a friend on Dropbox and get free extra storage space.

The storage space is relatively cheap for Dropbox to provide, but the referral is valuable.

This is exactly how I myself got into Dropbox, and every time I want to share a file with a friend, I recommend that they download Dropbox. As a file sharing platform, it makes sense for me to want the friends I share files with to be using the same platform.  This model has worked out so well for Dropbox that other companies are now offerings freebies in exchange for referrals.

Growth hacks won’t save a company without a solid business plan and sound investments behind it – but they can be a great way to utilize social networks to boost growth and establish a broad audience right from the start.

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