Category Archives: Tips

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!

Why Major Companies are Moving to Coworking Spaces

Benefits of Coworking Spaces

Initially, coworking spaces offered a professional, flexible work atmosphere for young creatives, startups, and freelancers who were looking to bridge the gap between working from home and investing in an office space. With so many of today’s business leaders starting up their careers in coworking spaces in the mid-2000s, the idea of using coworking spaces for a large company’s temporary or remote office space needs is more appealing than spending a bunch of hours and money flying employees to their corporate headquarters to attend meetings in person when using today’s technology allows for other, less expensive options.

Moving directly into coworking spaces, attractive for the convenience and amenities

Coworking spaces made a lot of sense with immediate access to upscale workspaces without going through the process of setting up shop on your own. Sidestepping the expense and time required to lease an office space, never mind purchasing office supplies, office equipment, office furniture and who knows what else in order to just get up and running, coworking spaces offered all of the amenities of a well-appointed office space without taking your focus away from developing your business. Also, for startups with uncertain futures, coworking spaces offer a professional environment that scales to your office space needs as your company evolves.

Some of the largest tech companies began in coworking spaces

While some of the largest tech companies today got their start in coworking spaces – Spotify, Instagram, Uber, Wanderfly, Charity:Water and IndieGoGo, among others –  coworking spaces haven’t really been able to shake their association with young entrepreneurs and tech startups . . . or have they?

Corporations now account for 40% of coworking space membership

It seems large businesses are finding coworking spaces preferable to establishing their own physical presences in some places. Even though we all know that large corporations possess the resources to expand into their own new spaces, coworking spaces offer instant connectivity, polished surroundings, amenities and so much more.

Perhaps, as businesses grow more mobile and global, the impact of a physical footprint on communities doesn’t mean as much as it did in the past. However, it’s not just the convenience of monthly leases or the free coffee and water that are drawing large businesses to coworking spaces, it’s . . . well, it’s everything.

Instant temporary digs

Coworking spaces come in handy for major companies as they work out the particulars of an expansion into a new geographic area. Bringing staff together or interviewing for positions at a new location can be easily accommodated at coworking spaces. With flexible contracts, coworking spaces offer semi-private offices for recruiting as well as boardrooms for brainstorming. Semi-private office spaces are ideal when teams need to convene and tech-savvy virtual office spaces work for conference calls and Skype meetings with corporate.

A community atmosphere

Many coworking space studies, like these in business.com or Harvard Business Review, have shown an uptick in productivity among professionals working in coworking spaces. Not unlike going to the gym on a regular basis, when you work out around other people, some people find motivation and focus, while others naturally switch into competitive mode, working harder than they would on their own. Just a little bit of healthy competition can keep eager business professionals working steadily towards the same goals of success. Survey subjects said coworking spaces not only helped with productivity but with confidence, self-esteem, and motivation.

Major companies can save some money that they can invest elsewhere

Why not save some money when venturing into new territories? Corporations can cut outfitting costs and the overhead required to acquire and maintain an office by setting up shop at coworking spaces in different locations. Major companies also save time by instantly getting their coworking spaces up and running. With monthly leases tied into one payment, corporations save time and money on accounting services as well as other ongoing expenses corporations incur in the day-to-day of office management. And, there’s more.

Coworking vibe can’t be found in most corporate office spaces

While your company may have the hippest vibe in town, dedicated office spaces can’t really generate the same electric atmosphere that’s palpable in most coworking spaces. A sense of creative innovation and the capacity to change the world underlies the excitement of turning professional passions into lucrative realities. The creative process hums like a pulse in coworking spaces, igniting ideas and fostering collaboration. New ideas evolve into new projects.

Connecting with the larger community

Networking and collaboration are built into the very definition of coworking spaces; they offer ties to a larger community than traditional office environments. Not just a number, a common downside of the traditional corporate structure, coworking members get to know other members and discover resources they can bring to their specific corporate cultures. Social activities and networking events lend themselves to finding new talent for large companies as corporations take advantage of recruiting the talent they need from coworking members they already know they’d like to hire.

At Venture X Naples, we welcome major companies as part of our diverse, growing membership. In the up-and-coming North Naples area, the Mercato plaza is home to many popular dining, shopping and entertainment venues that offer many options for Venture X Naples members to impress clients, celebrate team successes or to just take a break from their business days.

Contact us to schedule a visit or reserve a workspace. Large companies, small companies, startups, and others can all find the right working space for their business needs at Venture X Naples. Join us and experience the excitement of interacting with other business professionals, as well as exploring the many options for grabbing a bite or taking a well-deserved break such as heading to the beach that’s just a five-minute bike ride away!

Why You Need to “Show Up” Every Day

Why You Need to Show Up Every Day

Seems like a no-brainer, right? You show up because you need to work so you can eat, pay your rent and buy stuff that makes the end result of showing up worthwhile. However, when you’re the boss and possibly the sole employee of your company, so far, you can get sidetracked by other things in your life or periods of time when you can’t seem to work out any aspect of your business plan. Sometimes, you don’t even know where to start to get past a hurdle so you can move forward. It’s at these times that you could use some handy tools to help you show up and account for something, every day.

Matt Mayberry says showing up is essential to winning ball games

In CEO and strategist Matt Mayberry’s Entrepreneur article, the former Chicago Bears linebacker compares how underdog college football teams show up, upset highly ranked teams and shock the heck out of people who are amazed because they never saw it coming. Mayberry says that in football, as in “building businesses, organizations and whole cultures” you need to show up every day. He went on to say that the reason we see these upsets in sports, as well as in business is due to the fact that sometimes people forget to show up. First- and second-ranked teams can lose their edges and not show up on particular days when hungry, lower ranked teams show up ready to win.

Mayberry says that the highly ranked teams “will have let their record, their past achievements and the praise heaped on them by the media get in the way of their executing and treating that specific game as if they were 0-0.” In showing up “every day and treating each new day, project and task as if your life depended on it,” Mayberry offered two suggestions for surefire ways “to make sure you get better at what you do and move in the right direction to where you want and need to be.”

  1. Sign a contract with yourself

    Psychologically, taking the time and effort to compose a contract with yourself works wonders for your work ethic. Like an affirmation statement on your refrigerator, you just need to remind yourself daily of the important objectives for your business, including showing up every day. As a matter of fact, Mayberry suggests laminating your contract and placing it somewhere where you will see it numerous times a day. While Mayberry says the way you word your contract is up to you and he offers University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino and Eric Crawford’s book, The One Day Contract: How to Add Value to Every Minute of Your Life, as an excellent resource for writing that contract with yourself. “It’s a phenomenal book,” Mayberry says, “that chronicles how Pitino started using a one-day contract for himself and his team before they won their national championship.”

  2. Focus on one aspect of your business daily

    From his football training, Mayberry borrowed the idea of focusing on one key area each day. “After a couple of months, I noticed what a great impact this was making on me in becoming a better player overall.” Adopting this practice in his personal life, Mayberry maintains that he still uses this approach today. Focusing on one key area can improve your overall productivity level and work wonders in a myriad of ways. Practice things that you aren’t comfortable within your business. “For example,” Mayberry says, “if you’re in sales, maybe you are working on getting better with cold calls one day, and then the next day you are working on improving your communication or prospecting skills.” You might want to work on presentation skills if your business requires numerous live presentations or videos. Compartmentalizing tasks into focused pieces that you can work on one day and move to another task or area the next day works because, “It’s not overwhelming yourself with 1,000 different areas you need to work on, combined with your already hectic schedule,” Mayberry says.

Coworking spaces keep workers on their toes

A September 2015 Harvard Business Review article revealed that workers who were members of coworking spaces “reported levels of thriving that approached an average of 6 on a 7-point scale” – at least one point higher than employees who work at traditional firms in regular offices. Researchers did a double take, as this data couldn’t be right. But it was, because of a number of factors that come together in coworking spaces:

  1. A feeling of community inspires business owners and freelancers to show up every day

    Working in an environment, alongside entrepreneurs and like-minded professionals motivates business leaders towards results. Whether you need a cheering squad or a trusted colleague to consult on your project, coworking spaces foster these activities.

  2. Coworking spaces have a built-in network that fosters a collaborative spirit

    Not only for the social aspects of coworking spaces but the intrinsic networking effect in coworking spaces encourages members to seek help from other members. When you need help for those hurdles you can’t wrap your brain around, to hone in on a technical issue or resolve other issues that might subconsciously keep you from giving your business all you got some days. Much like a college course, say a creative writing workshop, where everyone has to read everyone else’s short stories and critique them, coworking members are willing to help someone else through an issue that may have held them back in the past. Who knows? Working alongside someone can lead to new ideas, which lead to new ventures with new partners you already know.

At Venture X Naples, we think there’s something special about coworking spaces. Working in an upscale, well-appointed facility in the heart of Naples, the Mercato neighborhood buzzes with popular shopping, dining and entertainment options, just minutes away. Our diverse community of coworking members thrives in a variety of different types of spaces, from our community spaces to semi-private or private offices with your own business address. Technically proficient conference rooms are available for meetings and presentations, as well as our community area that can be rented for your launch or as a networking tool.

Like Matt Mayberry tells us, “Showing up every single day of your life is critical when it comes to the success of your business, organization and individual success.”  To keep from sliding into a comfortable zone of thinking, “you’ve made it and don’t have to work as hard, someone, somewhere is already gaining an advantage over you and working to surpass you.” Mayberry’s take away goes like this: “Champions show up every day, whether that occurs on the field, on the court or in the boardroom. Showing up may help you be one of them.” Showing up at Venture X Naples can keep every single day moving forward with your business goals solidly intact, in one of the most exciting ways. And then there’s the beach nearby when you need to focus on your sunny disposition. Contact us to schedule an interview at (239) 300-9601 or request a tour online.