Connect with us

Business Entrepreneur

Small business owners’ new ammunition: office hoteling

You may have heard of coworking or co-officing, and considered your office options, be it opening your first, or expanding and contracting your current, but have you heard of office hoteling? One of the biggest consulting firms in the world has implemented hoteling, and it is a viable option for many brands.

Published

on

New ammo for small business owners

As an independent contractor, I wholeheartedly understand what it means to have a professional demeanor and brand that faces my client and I am lucky enough to have a broker with a stunning office that I get to utilize with all of its additional benefits when I need them for initial meetings and client introductions. I understand that the client wants to know that their agent or consultant is a professional who is able to manage their transactions, time, and keep things organized (not just for them, but for themselves).

Have you ever walked into someone else’s office and seen their filing system (ahem – or lack thereof) and thought oh, sweet baby Jeeeeesus… I can’t have this person handling my this-that-or the other thing? I know you have thought it, it may have even been a coworker that you were frightened by their leaning tower-o-files. We’ve all seen it. Also, how often do you see people that have home offices inviting their clients “into the fold” so to speak or to “come to the office” if they are consultants who work from their home office? You don’t see that, is the answer and if you said that, gold star for you.

Is the artillery for you? Small business owners opt in

In these times where we see many folks telecommuting and enjoying the benefits of a home office, there is an increased need for organizations that offer hoteling options for small business owners and independent contractors who are looking to hold a high powered meeting in a location that isn’t lunch over at the neighborhood TGIFridays or in the local library. No, these independent business owners have worked too hard to build up their reputation as a solid business owner and they want to flash a little class and sophistication!

Enter the not-so-new intelligent offices of the world, where people can rent out a space, a cubicle, and glassed-in office, a conference room, or even just have their phone calls routed through a professional reception team before they get to you. Intelligent offices are a smart way for people who do not currently have the budget for the overhead of a fully leased commercial space to receive the benefits of a higher-end executive suite. Rent a conference room; receive full reception services from a professional administrative team; even attend or teach at professional development seminars so you can strengthen and sharpen your own business savvy.

Bringing out the big guns: Booz Allen Hamilton and hoteling

Speaking of savvy, the concept of business hoteling isn’t just for the small business mind you, no. It has evolved into something much more interesting and sustainable for some of our nation’s top consulting firms. McLean, Virginia’s Booz Allen Hamilton, the original consulting firm and defense contractor went public… then they went hotel.

Yes, if it is good enough for Booz Allen’s elite team of professionals to have to call in to reserve their desks, then it must be good enough for the rest of us! It has been just over a year since they implemented the practice where junior level staff had to “call in” to reserve their desk and to date, it seems to be working wonders. From privacy rooms to collaboration rooms, Booz has thought of everything to make their system of hoteling work for their employees and the style of business that they conduct; they even request that some employees telecommute to reduce the demand on office space and improve employee moral and productivity.

Booz started to develop this program in 2009 as they were growing significantly. Since there weren’t enough desks at the main offices and they understood that most of the consultants were usually on client sites, why did these folks even need offices if they weren’t even going to be there to fill them? Since inception, Booz has streamlined their operations by closing the doors to a facility in McLean, eliminating the need for the operating costs, which can be substantial for a commercial building of that size. Hoteling is about business sustainability and makes perfect sense for the consultant who is always on the go.

You sank my battleship: the downfalls of hoteling

If a larger business is thinking about hoteling, yes there are many cost saving benefits such as the cost savings from operating costs going down, etc.; however, you need to think about potential pitfalls, too. There is the possibility that there will be a loss of brand identity and community if your employees aren’t always seeing each other or your branding. Employees who are telecommuting might not have all of the resources that they need in their home environment and the other distractions as identified in the recent corporate A.D.D. article.

And let’s not forget about the slacker employee that you have to chase after while their at work… what happens when you leave them to their own devices?! If you do think that the hoteling option might be something you’re interested in, the Booz Allen Hamilton model seems to be working well in full swing after just over a year of use. Keep in mind, they managed change and expectations through extensive videos and online help tools to get their staff acquainted with this seemingly foreign office structure.

Hoteling can be a great option for larger businesses who have created a very streamlined and well executed plan and can also work wonders for small business owners looking for that outward-facing, professional edge that they had been looking for in a more sustainable way.

Genevieve Concannon is one of those multifaceted individuals who brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media.  Genevieve takes marketing and sustainability in a fresh direction- cultivating some fun and funky grass roots branding and marketing strategies that set her and Arbour Realtyapart from the masses. Always herself and ready to help others understand sustainability in building a home or a business, Genevieve brings a new way to look at marketing yourself in the world of real estate and green building- because she's lived it and breathed it and played in the sand piles with the big-boys.  If you weren't aware, Genevieve is a sustainability nerd, a ghost writer and the event hostess with the mostess in NoVa. 

Business Entrepreneur

If you’re easily distracted, you’re more likely to thrive as an entrepreneur

(ENTREPRENEUR) If monotony and boredom at work- well bores you, it’s possible you may fit with the other entrepreneurs with a quick and constantly changing career.

Published

on

entrepreneurs work place

When Bill Gates was a kid, he knew he liked messing around with code. He couldn’t have known how it might evolve, but he was willing to live in the distraction, focusing on details when needed, but always learning, moving on, taking risks and growing in the process.

Some of the most successful folks among us are not content to sit and make widgets every day. They cannot thrive in a detail and focused work environment. So, it may come as no surprise to know that people who are more easily distracted are also more likely to thrive as entrepreneurs.

According to this study, if you are intelligent and get distracted more easily, those two qualities combined will likely enhance your creativity. And, that creativity and ability to use distraction as an advantage can be channeled to create new things, jobs, companies, etc.

For those of us who are more easily distracted, who enjoy doing different things every day, and who like learning, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggests a good option is to find a career path that provides the right amount of distraction and which is a great fit for your personality. If you do that your talent is more likely to be apparent because you are playing to your strengths. Also, if you are working in your sweet spot you will be more productive and motivated.

Maybe not surprisingly, the top job for those who live in distraction is entrepreneur. The term “easily distracted” often comes with a negative connotation, but considering an entrepreneur is taking risks, making things happen and creating companies, ideas, products that may have never existed, this spins that idea on its head. Entrepreneurs are the chief cooks and bottle washers of the world. They ideate, create, hire and inspire. None of that is possible in a monotonous work environment.

“Unsurprisingly, meta-analyses indicate that entrepreneurs tend to have higher levels of ‘openness to experience,’ so they differ from managers and leaders in that they are more curious, interested in variety and novelty, and are more prone to boredom — as well as less likely to tolerate routine and predictability,” according to the HBR story.

Other careers that are great fits for those of us (me included) who enjoy distraction are PR/Media Production, Journalism and Consultant. What these fields all have in common is, there is never a dull moment, switching from task to task is pretty commonplace, and you will do well if you can be a generalist – synthesizing information and weeding out the unnecessary.

Not sure where your strengths lie? Here’s a quick quiz to give you some feedback on how curious you really are.

Continue Reading

Business Entrepreneur

How can a small business beat a large competitor moving in next door?

(BUSINESS) How do you stand out when a big competitor moves to your neighborhood? Reddit has a few suggestions – some obvious, some not so much.

Published

on

small restaurant competitor

Small businesses, especially restaurants have been hit hard by lockdowns. Many closed for good this year, and those that are still hanging on are in a precarious position as their local economies shift.

Last week, a user on r/smallbusiness asked a timeless question that is especially relevant right now. Reddit user longbottomjr writes: “We have a strong competitor moving in next door in a few months. Our restaurant is one that pays the bills but […] I feel that if this new competitor takes up enough market share we will lose our restaurant. Can anyone chime in with resources/ideas I can use to help put together our plan of action?”

Comments quickly pointed out what common sense would dictate.

First, ensure the basics are covered. Being clean, quick, friendly, and high quality will take you far, no matter what competition you’re up against. And as u/horsemullet said, “Customer service also happens before someone walks through the door!” So make sure that your online hours, contact info, menus and social media accounts are up to date and accurate.

Another point emerged that is less intuitive: Competing businesses will naturally gravitate towards similar locations. This is a well-established phenomenon known within game theory as Nash’s Equilibrium. In the restaurant industry, this is actually a good thing. It brings entirely new customers to the area and ultimately benefits all the other nearby businesses, too.

Take advantage of the attention by offering something other spots don’t, like loyalty rewards, specials, unique offerings, or meal deals.

Speaking of the area, a great way to stand out from larger competitors is to build relationships with the community you serve, as u/sugarface2134 emphasized. “In my city there are two Italian restaurants in the same location – just across the parking lot from each other. We always pick the smaller one because the owner truly makes you feel like a member of the family.”

That’s an advantage of being a small, local business that all the money in the world couldn’t buy. Get to know your customers personally and you will not only create loyal regulars, but friends as well.

One of the top rated responses, from u/seefooddiet2200, made an often overlooked but critically important point.

“Talk to your staff and see if they have any ideas. These are the people that are working every single day and may know one or two ‘annoying’ things that if they were switched would make things easier. Or maybe they see that there’s specific things people ask for that you don’t serve. Every single [one] of your employees is a gold mine of insight, you just need to be open to listening to them.”

That is applicable to any business owner who wants to improve their practices.

Ask employees what they think, especially the ones who have stuck around a long time. Not only do they know the ins-and-outs of their jobs, but this builds rapport and trust with your staff. A good boss realizes that employees are more than their job descriptions. They have valuable thoughts about what’s working and not working, and direct access to customer’s opinions.

Good luck, u/longbottomjr! We’ll be rooting for you.

Continue Reading

Business Entrepreneur

How a newly funded coffee delivery startup is thriving during COVID

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Seattle’s Joe Coffee finds successful funding in hyper specific clientele and operations even mid-pandemic. But how did they do it?

Published

on

Joe Coffee delivery

Amidst a pandemic, you might not expect a small company with limited clientele to thrive. Yet, Joe Coffee, a Seattle-based delivery service, is doing just that.

Joe Coffee, an aptly named coffee runner, has received millions in funding, a large chunk of which was raised mid-pandemic. Their mission is simple: to bring coffee from smaller shops to local consumers, especially without endangering either party.

There’s a lot to be said about Joe Coffee’s valuation and mission, but what’s more intriguing is their unlikely success.

A food delivery service that focuses on coffee may not seem that niche, but when you look at Joe Coffee’s determination to stick to the Seattle area, coupled with its staunch resolve for frequenting smaller shops (e.g., not Starbucks), the service begins to look pretty specific–and, in an economy that honors sweeping solutions, this is a welcome change of pace.

The way their service works is fairly simple: Joe Coffee provides shops with signs and information on how to order through the Joe network, then consumers are able to download and order through a mobile app on all of the usual platforms. Joe Coffee takes a nine percent cut of the order total, credit card fees included.

In return, customers are able to order from their favorite, local, non-chain coffee shops, both supporting them and sustaining their caffeine addiction at a time where alertness is paramount and grouchiness is all too common.

What’s truly interesting about Joe Coffee’s example is that it demonstrates an availability for small services with extreme specificity in terms of operating capacity. By sticking to unique businesses in a relatively small metropolitan area (as opposed to, say, multiple cities), the service is more likely to be successful in execution and delivery, thereby solidifying its relevance to both consumers and businesses alike.

And, by playing into the need for curbside pickup or home delivery these days, Joe Coffee only furthers the perception that its service is necessary.

If the country begins to reopen–whenever that happens–it will be no surprise to see Joe Coffee maintain a relationship between consumers and smaller businesses in the Seattle area. For anyone offering a similarly niche service, this is a perfect example of a company to which you should pay attention.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!