Category Archives: Tips

How Coworking Can Help Grow your Business

How Coworking Can Help Grow your Business

As exhilarating and freeing as working from home and launching your own business seems at first, after a while, you want to get out of those sweats and go somewhere else to work. The distractions of your home office may be taking their toll on your productivity or, you’re starting to feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the business world because your home office is your business environment. You know you need an office space that’s not connected to your home but renting office spaces can lock you into long-term leases that you can’t really afford, not to mention the maintenance and labor overhead that comes with operating out of your own office. Then there’s the whole ordeal of office design and outfitting, with even more expenses for furniture, equipment, technology, coffee, water and whatever other amenities you might want in your office setting. Out of your comfort zone?  Overwhelmed at the thought of how setting up an office will pull you in a gazillion different directions and cost a fortune?

Well . . . lucky for you, many other entrepreneurs and growing business owners with the same hurdles to jump over have discovered a happy medium between working from your home or local coffee shop and opening your own office. If by some chance you aren’t already considering this option, coworking spaces offer flexible, affordable alternatives to biting the bullet and setting up a private office. Coworking spaces are rapidly replacing traditional office settings as the preferred way to help grow your business. Connecting with other like-minded professionals with success on their agendas motivates you to get down to the business of expanding your business. This is just one of the ways coworking can help do just that. Besides the healthy, competitive camaraderie that propels members to show up every day, coworking spaces offer many other ways to help grow your business. These include:

  • Move-in ready offices

    Opening your own office requires the resources and time commitment that most businesses poised to expand just can’t afford. Coworking spaces allow you to skip that monumental obstacle by offering a variety of different office spaces with flexible monthly leases. This lets you go right on with your growth plans without skipping a beat.

  • Supplies and amenities included

    While amenities can be looked at as unnecessary by some people, when you or your associates don’t have to take the time and the expense of stocking water and coffee supplies, they can concentrate on working out ways to grow your brand. Additionally, you don’t have to hire a cleaning company or a maintenance crew to keep your office up to your standards. Many coworking spaces feature catering and/or dining options in-house and most coworking spaces are located near other businesses in metro areas. You can take clients to lunch, take the team out for a celebration, or just take a break to refresh and rejuvenate during your workday.

  • Technology, printers and meeting rooms

    Not needing to invest a huge chunk of your profits in technology, printers, scanners, and other office equipment also makes sense for businesses on the brink of expansion. Growing businesses can often need a variety of spaces to work things out. You may need a private office, along with some semi-private desks for a month or so, while you may be in need of a presentation space to launch new ideas, products, and services. Coworking spaces offer conference rooms with full audio and visual capabilities and the printing services you may need for a presentation. Other semi-private virtual office spaces can be the perfect unfettered setup for Skype meetings and training sessions.

  • Resources at your fingertips

    As the trademark of coworking spaces, networking opportunities are built in by design. Along with the potential to meet other business owners in your community, who can increase your exposure, many of the services you may need as you expand are within arm’s reach. Save time and money by hiring a freelance writer, photographer, or web designer in your network. Other independent companies and services that can be easy to source at your coworking space include marketing and legal help, as well.

  • Other networking opportunities

    In addition to meeting other business professionals that can help you stay on your path to further success by providing marketing services or designing your website, you can interact with other business owners who have walked in your shoes and can advise you on how to navigate a certain obstacle. A fresh set of eyes on a project might be just the adjustment you need to fill in a blank to move your business forward. You, in turn, may be able to help someone else with an obstacle they’re struggling with in their business.

  • Collaborative spirit can lead to new business ideas

    Working alongside enterprising professionals, as well as getting to know other members of your coworking community, inspires the creative process. Brainstorming with other members could lead to forming new businesses or working with other business owners who need your expertise in developing new projects.

  • Connecting with other members increases exposure

    Unlike attending social networking events where business cards are exchanged but little else, connecting with your coworking community at social or educational events sponsored by your coworking space, you increase your exposure in the community at large. Referrals from other members help grow your brand footprint when they send business your way via friends, families, and other connections in your community.

Coworking spaces also offer their members a business address, along with mailing services that further streamline your business plan. At Venture X, our well-appointed facilities offer you a variety of office space options, in contemporary, high-design spaces. Meeting with clients in our community area or office spaces that impress will help grow your client base and increase your bottom line. With all the services and amenities you need, but without the labor or maintenance involved in opening your own office, you can focus on expanding your business and moving into your next successful phase. Contact us to schedule a tour of your local Venture X location.

Let Creativity Run Wild – How and Why

Let Creativity Run Wild - How and Why

Except for marketing and advertising agencies and, well… creative agencies, creative thinking and creative problem solving, for the most part, took a backseat in traditional office settings in the not too distant past. More often than not, activities of the creative sort were dismissed as frivolous and distracting to the drudgery of the cubicle. In today’s more flexible coworking office environments, encouraging creativity can improve productivity, generate innovation, and possibly help save money in the long run.

Improving energy levels

When employees are encouraged to think creatively, they are allowed to take risks. Taking chances by introducing a new way of managing an issue or an operation can give your staff license to explore ways to improve on other programs and practices, in addition to helping keep the workday interesting. When your staff feels engaged in their day-to-day, that freedom opens up many avenues to discovering favorable, more efficient business outcomes.

Managers can promote creative initiatives

Encouraging creative thinking and creative problem solving can look like many different things. Managers can foster creative thinking by mixing up the day-to-day with exercises that stimulate the right brain. Some ideas include:

  • Collaboration

    Brainstorming sessions that use constructive creativity games can help your employees see different solutions other than the expected ones. In a group setting, ask your team to think about a topic or theme and then take turns as the leader discussing different aspects of that topic. Encourage team members to look at issues in different ways. More structured activities might include exercises that stimulate the right brain such as starting a narrative around a certain issue and each team member taking turns adding to that narrative. You may come up with a lot of nonsense but the collaborative effort will build trust in team members, allowing them to step outside of their comfort zones into the land of other perspectives that you may not even see yourself. Sometimes, someone else’s take on something triggers the ideas that unlock solutions.

  • Celebration

    Acknowledging natural creative thinkers and encouraging more outside of the box thinking from them can rub off on your other employees, as well. When other more reticent employees feel comfortable stepping out of their comfort zones, new ideas, even silly, outrageous and way over the top ideas can take the shape of innovative solutions. In order for businesses to grow and expand, most companies need to develop new ideas on a regular basis.

    Developing a fun, working atmosphere encourages team members to risk failure and as most creative thinkers will tell you, failing is the next step on the road to success. Creative thinking relies on failure as a process of eliminating less effective solutions. Creative thinking and problem-solving can be thought of as a process. Sometimes, the rejected ideas will come back into play as the project takes a different direction. While some ideas just can’t possibly work and some you count on every time, in between the good ideas and the questionable ones, lies the process of sorting out new solutions to many different situations. Brains like challenges.

  • Change your scenery

    As individuals, or as a group, do something different that may, in turn, stimulate your brain to think about other things, rather than the issue at hand. Going to a museum, taking a walk, or just going shopping at a different store can help get the creative forces to jump into gear.

  • Stimulate your brain

    Reading can introduce you to ideas that inspire creative thinking. While some people will grouse about reading, saying they don’t have time, they read too slow, blah, blah, blah, avid readers tend to find inspiration in things they’ve read about. Read fiction, blog posts or anything that stirs your interest. Writing is an exercise in creative problem-solving in itself, so if nothing else, reading connects you to how authors come up with ideas that keep your attention. While reading, you may be reminded of something in your past experience that helps formulate creative solutions to a current stumbling block.

  • Wordplay and humor

    Taking a look at those marketing, advertising, and creative agencies, here’s the thing: Most of the creative environments are upbeat, high energy businesses that invite their employees’ imaginations to go a little off the beaten path, or way off, if need be.  Since humor in advertising and marketing go a long way towards audience recognition and buyer response, clever wordplay, a generous sense of humor, and a drive to create new and innovative client messages are often the order of the day. Working in an environment where wordplay and humor are incorporated into the landscape can keep workers engaged with projects and thinking creatively about solutions. A little laughter and a modicum of fun allow your staff to interact with each other. Bouncing ideas off each could lead to ideas that stick.

At Venture X, you can fine-tune your creative thinking and problem-solving scenarios with a variety of different office spaces that work for brainstorming sessions, team meetings, and many other configurations that help summon the creative forces for your next innovative idea. With great spaces to take breaks and common areas to chat on a leisurely level, Venture X coworking spaces are conveniently located near popular dining, entertainment and shopping venues to keep the creative groove going until that ah-ha moment shines on the situation at hand. Get creativity to work for you at Venture X. Contact us to schedule a tour.

Join us at Venture X where creativity is your friend!

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Ways to Grow Your Business Without Spending Money

Ways to Grow Your Business Without Spending Money

All small business owners and startups know that it takes more money than you think it should just to get your business up and running. Getting all of the components working together, with your supply chain and inventory management operations running seamlessly, can take a while and the initial investment in technology and equipment can take more than a chunk out of your startup budget. Then, when your business starts to take off, growing pains can keep your profit margins from increasing, especially if you plan to open your own office or invest in warehouse space with a large overhead. While tech startups and Software as a Service (SaaS) companies may not need to invest in storage spaces or packing and shipping supplies, there are still a lot of ways your company can be wasting money. Streamline your company’s operations by implementing these things that help you grow your business without spending money.

  1. Join a coworking space, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money setting up your office and you can actually focus on your business. With coworking becoming the new norm in office settings, many businesses set up shop in shared office spaces and remain there as their needs change. Most coworking spaces offer flexible monthly rentals in upscale buildings with all the amenities you need plus great motivated settings.
  1. Cut your overhead labor by automating some of your non-producing functions. Chances are, you can hire an accountant from your coworking network that will work on an “as needed” basis. Sales reporting, order monitoring, and record keeping can be sometimes accomplished with integrated software unless you ship a lot of products, then you may want to consider a 3rd party logistics company that can automate your supply chain and take over your customer care services.
  1. Encourage your staff to try more efficient ways of doing things. We’ve all heard, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but we can all look for different ways to perform certain tasks that save time and money. It might just be a way to bundle supply ordering or automating parts of your fulfillment operations. 
  1. Fine tune your marketing message. Less is more today in marketing messages. A well-designed logo can go a long way to getting your products more exposure. Graphic designers will tell you that a good logo can be drawn in the sand. Look at your marketing initiatives. Are they positioned where your brand base will see them? Join forums if your customers are asking each other questions about using your products and post to these forums as an expert advisor. If you’re a restaurant, get your business into area directories to attract visitors and locals alike. 
  1. Get the word out. Get involved with your brand base. Join LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other outlets where you can publish articles that highlight your services or products. Download industry magazine and newspapers’ editorials. Submit articles about your products or services. Send press releases to your local newspaper and feature articles on your website when you host an event, launch a new product line, or surpass a milestone.
  1. Be the face of your company. Offer your advice when local media needs an expert in your field. Create your own video blog on your website or host your own educational events and offer attendees a discount or a coupon to use to purchase your products. Network within your community. 
  1. Feature promotions on your website and position them on your homepage or somewhere your potential customers will easily find them. Offer limited time specials and end-of-season clearance items. If you have returned items that you can refurbish at a low cost, sell them for deep discounts rather than counting them as losses. Post these specials on your Facebook page, as well as on your website. 
  1. Focus on the services or products that sell and turn over other responsibilities such as your content management and other marketing initiatives to other associates who can turn them into profitable entities. The learning curve on trying to master aspects of your business that aren’t exactly in your wheelhouse wastes time you could be spending developing a new line of products. If you’re the principle and the crew of your business, hire freelancers to help you with content and design for your web presence. While not free, a professional-looking, high functioning website will pay for itself and help your business grow exponentially. You can’t be an expert in every aspect of your business and keep growing. 
  1. Reward your employees for good work in adhering to deadlines on time-sensitive issues, meeting budget timelines, serving your customers well, and increasing your bottom line. A little appreciation goes a long way. Your team will appreciate small bonuses and be willing to go the extra mile to help your company grow. 
  1. Give away promotional items on your website or at your physical location. Send them with your invoices and deliveries. Along with coasters and pens, these freebies can also be coupons, how to videos, or tips on getting the most out of your products. If your business centers on kitchen equipment and appliances, you could offer recipes or access to a downloadable recipe book.

Streamline your business, taking stock of and replacing processes that don’t work with more efficient functions can help you grow without spending money. At Venture X, our shared office spaces can lower your company’s overhead in many ways. Working in an energized environment, among other like-minded professionals, growing businesses take advantage of built-in networking opportunities. Plus, collaboration possibilities abound in upscale office environments that feature many different shared desk and private office spaces, as well as comfortable places to take a break. Contact Venture X in your area to schedule a tour. Grow your new business or move to the next phase of your successful enterprise, saving time and money along the way as a Venture X member!

Why Networking is Important – Learn from your Peers

Why Networking is Important - Learn from your Peers

When Aristotle postulated that “Nature abhors a vacuum,” we are pretty sure he was not referring to the plight of home-based business owners and other independent contractors who experience the isolation and whacked out work/life balances from working and living in the same place. However, the ancient philosopher’s wisdom still applies today. In order to please nature, coworking spaces have changed the way we work – due, in part, to their built-in networking capabilities.

For startups, small businesses looking to grow, and most definitely, entrepreneurs and freelancers, networking not only helps you get out there and get exposure meeting other business owners, but it is also a necessity in today’s commercial landscape. When you come into contact with other like-minded professionals at industry events or conferences, you stand a good chance of learning a few things from the people you meet in between sessions and at conference social gatherings. The popularity of coworking spaces can be credited to supporting the natural peer-to-peer sharing atmospheres these spaces create.

Coworking and networking go hand-in-hand

Research has shown that coworking environments improve productivity in business professionals by 74%, according to the online publication deskmag.  One study pointed out that 86% of folks using coworking spaces increased their business networks and 93% enjoyed larger social networks. Two-thirds of these coworking members felt more creative and now collaborate more on projects, while a third even reported increased income. The bottom line: networking steps up your business game in many amazing ways.

Get and give some advice, share some insights

Learning from your peers occurs naturally when you network. Another timeless adage states, “Two heads are better than one.” With more eyes on an issue, resolutions abound. You might meet someone struggling with the same issue that is slowing down your forward momentum. By mentioning your challenge, you might find that missing link, something that had not occurred to you before this encounter. You might talk to someone who has been where you are, who can give you the tip you need to get your business back on track. On the flip side, you could share just the right magic insight to straighten out someone else’s business hurdle.

Find a freelancer

For independent contractors, networking provides a way to increase their exposure and grow their brand bases. Offering web design, photography, content writing, marketing plans, and other services to update your online presence, freelance professionals can spare you the distraction of putting your work on hold while you work on your website. You don’t have to be an expert at everything; just talk to your peers, they’ll get you in touch with freelance professionals, as well as independent attorneys that can help you with licensing, permits, contracts and such.

Hire from your coworking community

Again, coworking spaces lend themselves to networking within your work community. Businesses can find freelancers and suggest them to other businesses while freelancers, in turn, can recommend your business to other clients in the community. As your business expands and you need to hire an in-house content writer and marketing team or an IT team, well . . . you’ve got your bases covered. Hiring from within your coworking community means you save the time and expense of interviewing random candidates whose work you don’t know. Hmmm . . . hire someone you already know and like the way they work? What a concept.

Collaborate, collaborate, do that new thing

All of this networking, idea swapping, brainstorming and imagining new horizons can lead to a synergy that’s ripe for collaboration. Motivated and inspired by like-minded individuals, imaginations can soar and a shared thought evolves into a new business concept. An unintentional side effect of networking, synergy has a tendency to spark new ideas, taking on a life of its own. A strong, collaborative community can harness these ideas and turn them into new, successful business ventures. Peers can also help each other reach out beyond their own circles of support to broader exposure and brand identity building.

Growing your brand

As you grow and your circle of connections expands, peers can help strengthen your business’s footprint, exponentially. Attending business networking events should be part of any growing business’s plan. Industry-specific events and conferences can expand your peer base, as well as deepen your industry knowledge. Peers can put you in contact with others in your industry that will refer you on a local basis for services outside their geographical locations. Also, other professionals in your network may refer you to clients that require your specific skill-set or products that their business doesn’t offer.

At conferences and events

When attending industry events and conferences, make sure you do your homework and come prepared to make an impression. Look at the attendee list for other industry professionals you are interested in meeting. Formulate a list of questions you would like to ask certain peers in terms of your business’s needs. Remember to pack enough current business cards for events or be sure you’ve got an effective, alternative keep-in-contact device up your sleeve.

After events and conferences, it’s important to follow up with peers you have just met. Sending emails, joining LinkedIn groups and other industry groups can strengthen your networks and increase your company’s online presence.

In business, learning from peers is important because peers give you second opinions, additional insights, and a much-needed reality check sometimes. In addition to supporting your efforts, peer advice can increase your exposure and build stronger, more effective networks to grow your business. You stay motivated and inspired, working around other business professionals towards the same success goals.

Venture X coworking spaces are designed to create an inspiring and motivating place to work. Our contemporary, upscale facilities cater to the needs of our members with a variety of different workspaces and flexible, monthly rates to meet your business needs. From shared desk spaces to semi-private and private offices, Venture X offers many amenities and well-appointed spaces to help you network and meet new peers in the course of the business day.

But, it’s not all work here at Venture X, as our community areas offer excellent places to take breaks and grab a bite to eat. With educational networking events and a space to throw your own launch party, Venture X makes the most of peer-to-peer networking. Make the most of your networking potential and create some fun in your work life.

Contact Venture X to schedule a tour at any of our welcoming locations. Peers are where we’re at!

Coworking Spaces: Top 5 Reasons They are Good for Growing Your Brand

Top 5 Reasons Coworking Spaces are Good for Growing Your Brand

Coworking spaces, by design, are good for growing your brand, offering versatility and functionality that just can’t really happen in traditional office environments. As your business grows, you can scale up to meet the needs of your developing team or split your team into smaller groups to work on various projects. Coworking spaces allow your business to expand in place, without the disruption of moving your staff and environment to a different, larger location. Getting back up to speed in a new office can take a while and take your focus off growing your brand, in addition to the expenses incurred.

Coworking spaces work well in many ways for emerging businesses and those ready to make the move to their next phase of success. The top 5 reasons coworking spaces are good for growing your brand include:

  1. Huge savings on startup costs

    Moving into your own office space just when things are starting to click can slow your forward momentum down to a slow, angst-ridden crawl. From locating an ideal space to negotiating long-term leases, outfitting an office can derail the attention your expanding business needs to stay on track. When most of your resources and time are spent meeting with designers, engineers, IT installers and service vendors, who has time to think about new products and such? Coworking spaces, with affordable monthly leases, allow you to keep all your moving parts in motion. Working in a comfortable, well-appointed space eliminates the awkwardness of getting accustomed to a new environment. Also, you don’t waste a lot of time discussing who’s going to buy the bottled water, who’s going to buy the coffee, and who’s going to keep your new office clean and pristine.

  2. Flexibility and scaling

    Because you’re growing, your needs may change as you move into uncharted waters. At coworking spaces, flexibility is key to getting things done right in a timely fashion. You can move to a larger semi-private space to work on team projects or rent just a shared desk space for remote employees and staff that can work independently, such as an IT person or a contract copywriter. Whenever your business’ needs change and you need more space or you need a conference room to present a new project or campaign, coworking spaces provide facilities with laser-fast Internet, as well as hi-tech video and audio capabilities for live or Skype conferences.

    Additionally, you can work with a combination of different spaces. You may need a private office for the long-term and add semi-private spaces when projects call for them. Corporations are getting into this act, as well, renting shared desk space for remote employees and larger, more private spaces for think tanks and for holding monthly meetings with tech staff, who don’t need to go into an office every day.

  3. Great Locations

    The coworking spaces began to take hold in cities with large urban centers, such as San Francisco, New York, and Seattle. Centrally located in the hub of activity, coworking spaces are relatively easy to find for the occasions when your clients need to visit you. Because new businesses often can’t afford an office in a nice neighborhood, coworking spaces offer the luxury of a good address in a good neighborhood. Your clients will be impressed when you meet with them in design forward, contemporary office spaces. As part of the larger community, coworking spaces fit into the bustling commercial vibe, where most businesses are tuned into promoting growth in the area and supporting social action initiatives, such as poverty and homelessness. Supporting business and social initiatives in your community helps establish your brand loyalty and generate greater exposure to potential customers.

    Moving your business into a coworking space also gives you plenty of time to look for the right neighborhood and location when the time comes to move into your own space. By joining a coworking space, you can leisurely get to know the neighborhoods that you might like to settle in when your business grows up.

  4. Networking Potential

    The most obvious way coworking spaces work well for growing your brand revolves around the inherent nature of coworking spaces. Surrounded by like-minded professionals, growing businesses learn from other business professionals about different aspects of their enterprises.

    Suffice it to say, many an in-the-same-boat scenario from a more experienced business owner has helped fledgling businesses navigate their way through uncharted waters. By getting to know your fellow coworkers in a working environment, who knows what can happen? An idea from a passing conversation can turn into a new enterprise. Coworking spaces and collaboration just work like that. You can also increase your brand presence, building relationships with other members who will spread the word about your business to people they know, and so on.

    Also, as your business expands, you’re going to need more staff. Additionally, you may need an e-commerce site, product photography, or an SEO copywriter to add content to your website. Your search for employees and contractors you may need for projects you may not want to tackle yourself are right at your fingertips. Any number of coworking professionals, including independent attorneys, publishers, healthcare professionals, as well as financial consultants and marketing professionals, may become your go-to for legal matters, as well as for creative and IT services.

  5. Balancing work with play

    Let’s not forget about other networking opportunities that help balance your work with your play. It’s not all work, work, work in coworking spaces. Most coworking spaces are designed to encourage break taking, featuring food venues and catering events and also hosting educational, social networking events, where members mingle and have the opportunity to get to know one other better. Some coworking spaces feature yoga classes, guided meditations, and other rejuvenating amenities to help keep members motivated and balanced.

These 5 reasons coworking spaces can help grow your brand merely scratch the surface of the benefits of moving your growing business to a coworking space. At Venture X, we connect members to the spaces they need to efficiently grow their brands in a motivated atmosphere that promotes collaboration. Connect your expanding business to your local business community. Contact Venture X to discuss the features of our coworking spaces or to schedule a tour and discover why you just can’t afford not to grow your brand at one of our exciting locations!