Archive for the ‘Why Choose Shared Offices?’ Category

Introducing Our Document Review Center

July 20, 2010

Until three years ago, Theatre District Business Center offered the same traditional accommodations and amenities of most shared office environments . . . fully furnished office space, telephones, shared internet access, conference rooms, receptionist and secretarial services, etc.  However, a phone inquiry led to our making a very unique addition to our selection of services.

A local legal staffing agency was looking for an immediate short term space to house about 30 contract attorneys for a document review for a major law firm.  Until that point in time, even our corner boardroom fell short of those requirements.  But, as luck would have it, one of our tenants was leaving the state and vacating a space that we believed could serve the agency’s needs.

Within two weeks, we had the space set up and ready to welcome the agency and their attorneys, and provide the professional atmosphere they needed to accomplish their goals.  Within a relatively short time-frame, we marshaled our forces to coordinate desk space, computer rentals, phone service and expanded internet capacity.  What began as a six-week rental ended up extending to an 18-month commitment.   For all those months, this due diligence/meeting room space had been occupied and now it has been leased by a new tenant. 

Now, we have created a new space and are once again pleased to offer a flexible, convenient space for document reviews, training sessions and meetings of any kind.  It’s a great room . . . well lit, overlooking Dearborn Street, able to accommodate 24-26 people.  It is available by the day, week, month or longer.  Public transportation makes it convenient for most users and there are many restaurants, shops and services close by.

We’ve learned that flexibility is a major component of managing shared office space to meet the varied needs of our tenants and clients, and being able to offer this space affords us the opportunity to set our center apart and to expand our horizons to keep pace with the ever-changing economic climate.

If you would like to tour this space, please call 312.762.9200 or visit our website for rates for this and other meeting rooms, http://thesuitescollection.com/conference.asp.available

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Our Doors Are Open to the Community

July 2, 2010

The Suites Collection has a wide variety of conferencing choices available at our three locations – Court House Executive Offices and Tree Studios in River North and Theatre District Business Center in Chicago’s North Loop.

Recently, Court House Executive Offices had the pleasure of working with The University of Chicago/School of Social Services Administration.  They required the use of several of our conference rooms and a number of furnished offices.  The flexibility of our business center made this very complicated process run smoothly for their interview sessions for Administration positions for the Chicago Public Schools.  Their intent was to put together a team of Education Professionals that could be integrated into a public school and help them redefine their current administrative operations for optimum success.  

The staff and tenants at Court House Executive Offices met some very talented and dedicated individuals over the two weeks that they were here.  We had the opportunity to speak with staff and candidates alike and share the excitement they had about their plans.  It brought all the recent news headlines about our public schools to the forefront for all of us.  We wish University of Chicago staff and all of their candidates the best of luck in their endeavors.

At each Center, we have a large board room that offers a flat screen TV for presentations and all meeting rooms have internet and conference calling capabilities.  If needed, there are a number of great restaurants in the areas that offer tasty catering options for meetings. One of the great advantages to these rooms is the wonderful experience our staff and tenants provide when we host outside groups.  Our spaces are convenient for long term due diligence teams, shorter term training seminars, formal board meetings and quick casual meetings. 

 

If you would like to be part of our community and reserve a conference room for a special meeting or for a training session you are hosting, please contact us at 312-994-2700. 

We look forward to welcoming you to our community.

Entrepreneurial Necessities

May 27, 2010

 

People embarking on new businesses adventures when traditional income streams dry up are called “necessity entrepreneurs”.  As you might imagine, the number of people turning into necessity entrepreneurs is increasing.  The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, a research project that tracks entrepreneurship, cites “necessity” as a factor for 24.7% of new U.S. ventures in 2009.  This is up from 16.3% in 2007. 

If you no longer have a traditional job and you possess dreams of owning your own business, now is a great time to give yourself that chance!  Use local resources to help you set up shop and get the support you need to achieve success. 

Court House Executive Offices in River North is the ideal workplace for an entrepreneur.  You will have your own private, furnished, affordable office for as little as $600 per month.  That price includes your telephone and high speed internet connection as well as a receptionist to answer your calls and a professional office manager.  In addition, the benefits of working among entrepreneurs who have followed the same path can be inspiring and educational.   

Connect with the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and check out their newly federally funded program The Cluster Acceleration Program (CAP).  CAP provides entrepreneurs with access to resources and relationships in key industries – including alternative energy, consumer products and services, information technology for the new media, as well as financial services and healthcare markets.

For the lighter side of business networking, attend a “High Speed Networking” event with Chicago’s Networking for Professionals branch.  Meet other business people looking to make connections in a casual, but fast paced environment.  They claim that with high speed networking you can make more new business contacts in one evening than most people will make in 6 months!

Sometimes life gives you an opportunity.  Sometimes you have to take a risk and try something new.  The economy will be back and stronger than ever eventually.  Put yourself in a position to make the most of it – try something you’ve always wanted to and become a successful entrepreneur!

Should you work from home?

April 12, 2010

Working from home may seem like a walk in the park for some.  For others, it is an absolute impossibility.  Why the difference?  You may think the disparity lies between older workers accustomed to traditional offices vs. younger workers who are “hip” to technology trends.  Actually the difference is more about personality type and life situation than your age bracket or owning a smart phone.

In his recent Chicago Tribune editorial titled, “Work at Home?  Not so darn fast”, Clarence Page admits that working from home can make him feel like a “prisoner”.   Especially for extroverted personalities, being alone all day is depressing.  For people whose home office is a make-shift desk in the corner of a living room, they just can’t achieve the privacy and quiet they need to accomplish anything. 

Editorial staffers at Inc. Magazine just undertook a fascinating work experiment.  They spent an entire month away from their Manhattan office and made their department virtual.  When it was over and they returned to the office, most of them were relieved.  Their blog about it is a fascinating read on how the experiment impacted the individual employees and overall business. 

Not everyone gets to make a choice about where they work, but if you can, it is a hugely important decision.  As Americans, we spend more time working that doing anything else – 8.8 hours a day on average!   At The Suites Collection, we count many former telecommuters among our current tenants. Their reasons for choosing our offices range widely, but “professional environment”, “support services” and “networking opportunities” rank among the highest.   Depending on the type of person you are and the type of business you are in, you just might want a traditional office where you can feel productive and connected.   If so, contact us and we will find you a great new location. 

How’s business?

February 10, 2010

It’s not hard to find predictions for the U.S. economy in today’s 24/7 media frenzy.   If you look around long enough you’ll find one that predicts just about every possible scenario.   One of the direst comes from Russia, where a former KGB agent is asserting our country will enter into civil war, the dollar will collapse and our nation will break into six pieces in 2010 – with Alaska reverting to Russian control!  This baloney was not reported on some fringe website, but by the Wall Street Journal.  The media will keep throwing darts hoping they’ll land somewhere accurate or entertaining.  Meanwhile, it’s small business owners and their employees doing the heavy lifting in this economy, and we’ve got to keep our ear to the ground for valuable information.

From 1980-2005, firms less than five years old accounted for all net job growth in the country. In 2007 alone, young firms (1-5 years old) accounted for nearly two-thirds of job creation.  As such a singularly vital part of the economy, we should look to each other for ideas.  That’s one of the biggest benefits in a shared office environment: the day to day opportunities to exchange practical information with other small business owners, employees and burgeoning entrepreneurs.  Going to work and connecting with your neighbor becomes a way to expand your understanding of your own business.  Another way we can increase our individual prowess is to present an organized front to legislators.  Kaufman, the foundation for entrepreneurship, is one group dedicated to doing that.  They aim to organize entrepreneurs to confront fundamental issues needed to achieve an improved small business climate.

At The Suites Collection, we are researching some big new trends in our sector and examining how we can incorporate these new approaches in 2010.  Change is constant in every business, and we are working hard to understand how our changes will affect us at every level – from daily operations to upper level management to the overarching marketing strategies.  Even though the specifics of each business may be unique, the subjects we tackle are the same.  We know we’ve got to stay nimble and find ways to do more with less.  Flexibility, affordability and adaptability are the new economy key words and they are here to stay.

Energize and Maximize

September 30, 2009

help wanted

Today concludes the third quarter of 2009 and The Dow Jones Industrial is up 15.3% for the period, on track for its best quarterly performance since 1998.  It’s fitting news for the last installment of our blog series on keeping on top of the economic wave.  While the climate improves, we should keep in mind that the result of this recovery will be a new economy unlike the one we enjoyed just one year ago. 

How will it be different?

1)      The consumer will place more emphasis on value.

2)      Labor markets will be volatile.

3)      The environmental & renewable-energy sector is a powerful new force.

Given the new realities, what choices can you make to better your position in your sector?  It is our business to be aware of issues facing independent and small business owners.  We find that being informed about our clients’ concerns makes it easier to build long lasting relationships and gain their trust.  Lately, we have taken our blog advice to heart and have delved into every area of our organization to find ways to energize new initiatives and maximize current realities.  We are going through a marketing blitz, reinforcing our assets and resurrecting stalled initiatives.  Our staff team goal is to not leave any stone unturned in our quest to better every area of our business.  We are excited to see what comes next and are glad that the news keeps getting better!

Are you ready to stop working from home?

August 11, 2009

crowded house

Working in your living space can be burdensome on your family and your business.   Certain aspects of the arrangement that appeal to you at first may not seem so beneficial once the interruptions and expenses add up.  Personal matters can become a distraction.   Cost savings disappear when equipment fails.  You may not have appropriate meeting space for clients.  Maintaining the efficiency of a home office can drain your resources.   Don’t let the value of your business suffer because you are not in the right place to get the job done.

Furnished offices in a professional atmosphere are move-in ready at The Suites Collection.  If you are weighing the decision to leave your home office for a new one, arrange a tour for any or all of our three convenient business centers.  Rents start at under $1000 per month.  Your furniture, telephone and high speed internet connection are included in your rent.    Our centers are equipped with conference rooms, copier, fax and secretarial support.   We have a wide variety of office sizes and layouts to suit your style and our experienced staff will work with you to select the right one.  If your office needs change in the future, you can transition to another one with minimal disruption. 

Studio 7

model law office

If you do plan to continue working from a home, The Suites Collection offers another service that can enhance your business.   Our virtual office program will allow you to have a prestigious mailing address and personalized telephone reception with 24/7 access to voice mail.  Our flexible office program offers part time use of an office for when you need focused time to prepare for a meeting or require privacy with a client.   Meeting and conference rooms that hold up to 20 people are available for half or full day rental and are located close to public transportation and parking.

For more insight on the ways individuals and businesses make the most of shared office environments, see these recent articles from Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.  Or, for a fun international perspective, read how the Germans are also enjoying the benefits!

Time management

July 31, 2009

time_rush

The Suites Collection’s business centers are located in River North and the North Loop, two of Chicago’s hottest neighborhoods for dining, theatre and shopping.  Tourists are ubiquitous in these areas.  On sidewalks, they pause for sightseeing or stop to get their bearings.  Because they are operating on leisure time, their casual gait sets a conflicting pace with business people rushing by.   The contrast reveals how the choices we make every day determine the speed in which we live out our lives.

“Time is money.” – Benjamin Franklin

When you are running your own business, effective time management is crucial.  Not only will it make you more productive, but it will allay burn out from impeding your success, happiness and health.  The expectation that we will multi-task from anywhere has removed boundaries that used to shelter our leisure time for ourselves. 

A balanced approach to time management incorporates goal setting, prioritization, managing interruptions, avoiding procrastination and effective scheduling.  How do you feel about your time management skills?  Take this test at mindtools.com to identify areas for improvement. 

Another resource, RescueTime, is a web-based analytics tool for professionals who want to be more productive.  Signing up is free and you’ll be up and running in a minute or two.  RescueTime appears as a dashboard on your computer that monitors the applications and websites you use.  This real-time feedback allows you to make immediate decisions to increase your productivity. 

time_tourists

Other improvements may take longer.  The pursuit of effective time management can be life long.  You won’t always handle everything perfectly, but identifying your personalized strategy and employing it to the best of your ability will improve your business and your life.

Heroes

July 16, 2009

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A Canadian firm recently paid $1.68 million to charity for one lunch with Warren Buffet.  Their CEO cited the value of Buffet’s “wisdom and experience” as the reason they would spend so much money on one meal.  Whose opinions and advice would you pay for?  Is there someone in your life whose advice has value beyond measure but they give it to you for free?  When you are starting or leading a small business, engaging in dialogue with a personal hero is important.  Maintain an open dialogue with a mentor and it will make your business, and your life, better.

Often you will meet a mentor during the natural course of your professional life.  It could be a former boss or someone you know personally.  “At Their Knee” in Inc.com is an interesting article with interviews of successful business owners who were lucky enough to encounter great entrepreneurs in their early careers.  They credit the advice distilled to them from these mentors with their current success.  What’s striking is the way the mentees can recall the one or two snippets of advice that continue to drive their business decisions today.

If necessary, you can deliberately seek out and find a person with whom you can create this particular bond.  SCORE will put you in touch with an expert to answer specific questions that you have within 48 hours.  Another option would be to join a local business alliance.  One of the many unique benefits of working in a shared office environment like The Suites Collection is the networking potential.  Your adjacency to other entrepreneurs and business owners opens up the opportunity for mentorships to occur.   Even if the particulars of your business are distinctive, hearing about lessons learned by others in common situations can help you save time by not reinventing the wheel. 

We all need inspiration and encouragement.  Who are your real life heroes?  Remember to value your time with them and look forward to a day you can hopefully pass on your hard won wisdom and experiences to a younger generation.

eagle

Start up support

July 2, 2009

support key

Looking for ways to expand or enhance your business acumen? There are plenty of options for support and advice from companies whose business it is to keep you in business. Continuing your education is a great idea. Even if your schedule is busy, you can always find quick tips in magazines, online and by reaching out into your local community.

Reading a magazine is a refreshing way to discover information without having to be in front of a computer screen.  While on the train or waiting at an airport, pick up a copy of Inc. Magazine, “The Magazine for Growing Companies”.  Also referred to as “The Small Business Bible”, Inc. Magazine uses real life examples of business strategies, case studies, successes and failures to highlight real world solutions. The current issue features Paul Graham whose company, Y Combinator, is a hybrid venture capital fund and business school that funds and advises early-stage businesses.  Another article captures and compares the inner workings at Google and Microsoft.   

Toolkit.com is an online business owners toolkit offering “total know how” for small businesses.  We’ve recommended this site in previous blogs, but they’ve revamped and improved their site recently which makes it even better.  News stories and links direct you to the latest developments affecting small businesses.  The 200 free business documents, templates, checklists and official government forms make it easy for you to access those items from one place.

university

Your nearby college or university can also be a great resource.  Business and economics departments often conduct public outreach.  In Chicago, DePaul University’s Entrepreneurship Program at the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center offers consulting services, educational programs and resources for students and entrepreneurs throughout the city in the various stages of what they term the “Entrepreneurial Quest®”.

And if you want a good laugh to relieve you after your studies, read “Every Piece of Start Up Advice Is a Lie Including Mine” , an enlightening blog entry from one of Y Combinator’s participant entrepreneurs, Tony Right.