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10

Oct

CATEGORY: Event Review
 

WM360 officially launched their Australian office at the Cluster Glasshouse last Tuesday night, to a crowd of more than 60 people from Melbourne’s IT and business communities. The company promises to shake up the SharePoint market in Australia, adding a highly skilled local presence to its global network of SharePoint experts.

The office was officially welcomed by Victorian Minister for Technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips, with dignitaries from the UK (including the British Consul-General, Mr Gareth Hoar) also in attendance. Managing Director Tom Hiscutt launched proceedings by commenting on how the technologies that WM360 works with are fast becoming an absolute requirement for a modern, efficient workforce: “Why resist embracing employee behaviour that will become the norm? Why not instead embrace technology which facilitates those changed behaviours to make your employees more productive, more efficient, and, importantly, happier!” said Mr Hiscutt.

The Minister highlighted the importance of ICT to the Victorian economy, noting that the tech industry was a major driver of growth. He welcome WM’s flexible approach, highlighting the value that our agile delivery methodology can provide as technology, the government and business begin to evolve more rapidly.

Group CTO, Stephen Monk, who has relocated to Melbourne to bolster the office’s delivery capabilities, also spoke at the event. He talked about WM’s journey from three people to more than 50 across 3 continents. The Melbourne office is the 6th opened in under 4 years, and comes on top of the successful launch of the Auckland office in December last year.

WM’s growth has been fuelled by a focus on delivering exceptional value to their customers. Stephen highlighted how the organisation had been able to grow rapidly through referrals and word of mouth, eschewing the large sales and marketing teams usually found in IT companies. WM have a team of skilled consultants and developers who engage with projects from the very first meeting through to post-launch support, ensuring that the right solution is designed from the start.

That approach has worked well for the organisation, which was recognised as one of the most inspiring and fastest growing businesses in the UK at the recent Santander Breakthrough 50 awards, and has been a Microsoft Gold Partner for three years.

About WM360: WM360 are a specialised global business consultancy and technology services firm. We build innovative, world-class intranets and business systems using Microsoft SharePoint. Headquartered in London and with offices around the world, we have vast experience in delivering outstanding results on SharePoint projects for enterprise clients.

09

Oct

CATEGORY: Guest
 

What time is it where you are in the world? When was the last time you looked at your preferred mobile device? 5 minutes ago? Are you reading this on it right now? Recent research shows that we are spending spend more and more time on such devices. According to communications regulator Ofcom UK adults spend an average of eight hours and 41 minutes a day on media devices, compared with the average night’s sleep of eight hours and 21 minutes. Is this cause for concern or just the way of the modern tech dominated world?

Despite this we cannot resist the lure of our social tribe. Melbourne has once again won the accolade of being the world’s most livable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit. In another survey by Conde Nast readers released the same week, Melbourne was also voted (alongside Auckland) the world’s friendliest city. These two things are not mutually exclusive.

WE ARE SOCIAL BEINGS – EVEN ALONE WE LONG TO BE TOGETHER.

Why are so many solitary acts performed in public? Why do we make the effort to leave the relative comfort of our own homes to go and sit in a public space to read a book? To send emails from a coffee shop? To listen to music with earphones on a park bench? It is because we are inherently social animals. Although technology has enabled us to connect virtually to anyone from anywhere we still love to just hang out with other human beings. This applies in our working lives just as much as it does in our personal lives.

In the early days of the internet there was speculation that such technology would deliver to us a utopian world of working in our pajamas. The reality is that this simply doesn’t work for most of us. We like the idea of working autonomously in our on time and on our own terms but after the initial attraction has faded we quickly realize we actually don’t want to work from home, all alone and in our jimjams. We may lack purpose and become lethargic and lonely. As of 2012, estimates suggest that over fifty million U.S. workers (about 40% of the working population) could work from home at least part of the time – but less than 10% actually do (Matthews & Williams, February 2012). The future of work is not only about what we do but what we are. And what we are – at our very core – is social.

Lawyers, accountants, doctors, engineers. That’s what our parents encouraged us to be when we grew up. However, although very well intentioned, Mum and Dad may have been wrong. According to author Daniel H. Pink in ‘A Whole New Mind’, the future of work belongs to a very different person with a very different kind of mind. There is research evidence to suggest that the left brain influence of information is giving way to more right brain values at work: inventiveness, meaning and empathy. This is influencing the way we consume and communicate, the way we run our businesses and as such the future of work. Pink suggests we are seeing a shift from our current information age to a future conceptual age. Where ideas are the currency of success. Where divergent thinking and innovation are replacing set process and problem solving. This has huge implications for the new world of work. How can we embrace this conceptual age without changing the way we work? Alone but together?

This is of course only one possible suggestion on the future of work. We hypothesize about the new world of work because in reality no one really knows how things will play out. However, seeing as it is a possible future let’s start with the notion that work could be a happy place. How would we generally like to work and play? Traditional thinking suggests we would start with a space. The office. The workplace. The spare bedroom. Modern, Gen Y oriented working environments tend to focus on this. Google’s Silicon Valley HQ ‘The Googleplex’ features everything from a slide to flamingo adorned dinosaur skeletons. Exciting? Maybe. Social? Perhaps.

Let’s turn that on it’s head for a moment by reconsidering the new world of work in the context of what we are at our core: social animals. With that in mind here are 5 stages to establishing a new world of work that ends rather than starts with a space:

1. CONNECTION

Find others. There is no substitute for human contact. We have established in previous articles and research that it’s good for you. It makes you happier, healthier and more successful. That’s it. Hanging at home with the cat is good for the soul only up to a point.

2. COMMUNICATION

Start a dialogue. Once you’re out, about and connected it’s time to say hello. Find common ground and literally have a catch up chat. It will release endorphins to lift your mood as a minimum. Other than that the sky’s the limit.

3. CREATION

It’s amazing what can happen once people get together and talk. It’s extraordinary in its simplicity. Remember the days at University, as a backpacker or just in social settings when you gathered plans to change the world? Why has that changed now you are at work and yet success is all about the ideas?

4. COLLABORATION

Make things happen. Ideas and people are wonderful but they can exist in a cloud-like vacuum of unicorns and rainbows. They are beautiful but can you eat them? The other fantastic aspect of the new world of work is social collaboration. We can get things done with others, through others, for others. Quickly and with input and validation from a range of sources.

5: COMMUNITY

Then, and only then, do we create a space for all of the above. In doing so the space will be relevant to all and will serve the purpose of points 1-4 rather than the opposite. Google may have done just that. One of the planet’s biggest companies simply modeled on how they all got together in the first place: through a tech-nerd world of pizza and gaming.

In doing this the need to belong can be reconciled with a sense of freedom. In this brave new world of work we can collide like neutrons to form molecules with like-minded clusters of people. We connect with each other as human beings, not just via LinkedIn or departmental meetings. We can meet in the kitchen as well as the boardroom. Corridor conversations are spontaneous happenings not HR policy. Coffee can be functional but never forced. We choose the working life we want to lead. We engage as diverse groups: new or experienced, Melbourne or Manchester, black or white, male, female or transgender, gay or straight. What matters are the ideas.

We bubble up and validate our creativity socially through divergent thinking in groups.

We take action based on collaborations with those who think, those who know and those who do. Bolstered by this nurturing network of support we are free to explore what is best for us as people, what is relevant for our customers and for our businesses as the enabler of our free spirits, wellbeing and success. We embrace the conceptual age and in doing so find a fresh identity in this new world of work.

This new world of work calls for a more social approach to our working days. Step away from the I Pad and towards another human. Beautiful things can and will happen.

With all that said, let us leave you with a quote from a standard bearer for the free, the social and the creative – Jack Kerouac

‘The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.’

09

Oct

CATEGORY: Cluster
 

Ever have a dream, then life is a bit of a blur, than next thing you know you’re living it? Ok, so maybe I glossed over the hard work and long hours part of making your business idea become a reality.  But this first blog is about pointing out that is does happen, your dreams do come true, your hard work pays off – but then what?

When you have almost 1000m2 meters of classy coworking space, 17 floors up in the sky, filled with leather armchairs, jarra wood chess sets, 52 palm trees and 360 degree Melbourne skyline views you tend to want to sit back, pop a bottle of bubbles and pat yourself (& your staff) on the back.

Alas, there is no time for that!  The reality is; this is just the beginning.  Because our goal is to be the best professional coworking space in Australia that means we need to do everything different to what people currently perceive coworking to be.  The research and growth is continual. The office is now your showroom, the receptionists are trained customer services specialists to make you and your guests feel welcomed and relaxed.  The technology is more than you need and the internet is the fastest around.

You are looking at our new website, with a new brand and new subtle touches everywhere.  The greatest part is we still have the same core values and that is to share, grow and to challenge the direction of our industries.  This can only be done with the help of the amazing people who create the buzz in the office and walk past us every minute of every day.

The Cluster is disrupting the idea of coworking and it is all because of the people we have crossed paths with over the last 4 years.  We’ve listened to you, you don’t want meetings on bean bags, you don’t want techo thumping the the back ground, you do want to be kinder to the environment, you do want a place you can be proud to bring important clients and you do want the little things taken care of so you can focus on your business.

You want it, you got it.  Now, like a pair of brand new pair of beautiful heels, let’s wear this new space in – and look great while we are doing it.

30

Sep

CATEGORY: Cluster
 

History of Coworking. Coworking Melbourne

The term “coworking” was first used by Bernie DeKoven in 1999 in the context of virtual working practices. In 2005 Brad Neuberg used it to describe a physical shared working space.  His now famous “Hat Factory” coworking space in San Francisco was one of the earliest examples of the phenomenon that is now sweeping the globe.  Most of the existing coworking spaces are based in the US at this time, but the idea is rapidly spreading to other cities around the world.  Typically coworking spaces fill fast and there can be long waiting lists.

The Cluster Coworking Space

What is Coworking Melbourne

Coworking is basically a shared office where different companies with symbiotic relationships work and share resources, ideas and sometimes ideals.  In general there is a focus on the community created within the space.   It’s a contemporary innovation in a world where more and more people are working for themselves.  Many coworking spaces cater to to hi-tech or other creative industries.   Coworking has a strong social element with shared values and a realisation that by working side-by-side with other companies or individuals in a friendly social space, that the synergies created lead to new opportunities.  Ultimately, companies in coworking environments experience greater levels of success from these synergies.

The Cluster Coworking Space

How Coworking Melbourne helps

In a world of interconnectedness it has become apparent that we crave social interaction in our working lives. Business is created through interactions between people face-to-face. Developing and maintaiing social interaction skills is a necessary tool for any working person who wants to become successful.  When the Internet revolution made it possible to work from home , many virtual employees discovered that they felt isolated and missed the human interaction.  Coworking offers a flexible solution to the home based business by providing an alternative space away from the distractions of the home.

The Cluster provides a social, relaxed coworking environment for creative innovative companies whilst also presenting the most professional image possible.

The Cluster Coworking Space

Brilliant!! coworking videos

Co-working: Origins and Future. The Hat Factory founder speaks

Co-Working: Independent Workers Unite

The Coworking wiki! Your one stop shop to coworking worldwide

Welcome to the Coworking Wiki!

Coworking Visa. Coworking sites across the planet!

List of coworking spaces in Australia

inspire 9 (Richmond, VIC)

OpenHub (Melbourne, VIC)

hiveSTUDIO (Fitzroy, VIC)

CO-WORKA (Sydney Northern Beaches, NSW)

Canberra Coworking (Canberra)

Hub Melbourne (Melbourne, VIC)

Vibewire Youth Inc. (NSW)

If you would like to add a service provider to the list please drop us a comment and we will be happy to include you.

Chris Mosely is CEO of The Cluster which provides  Virtual Office, Serviced Offices, Office Space and Coworking

13

Jun

CATEGORY: Uncategorized
 

ENTRY LEVEL, FULL TIME IN-HOUSE WEB DEVELOPER

I have on offer a full time position for a front end website designer/developer with javascript capabilities. Someone who takes pride in their work and is looking for fun, social environment in which to grow . This role would be leading the development process while working for super cool, growing, funky, Melbourne CBD company.

 

Entry Level, Full Time in-house Web Developer.  HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, AngularJS.  

*    Work with the very latest web technologies.

*    Lead the development process.

*    Great CBD office with fun supportive people.

*    Lifestyle opportunity.

We’re searching for a top-notch web developer with the following skills.

*    HTML5, CSS3   *    Javascript

*    JQuery                 *    PHP

The following would be highly regarded:

*    AngularJS          *    MongoDB

*    Bootstrap            *    NodeJS

*    LESS, SASS, CodeIgniter (or other framework/Zend).

 

Would be super nice:

*    Java/Netbeans programming experience

You would be knowledgable in the latest trends and technologies bringing with you experience from a digital agency or other web development shop or with a  strong educational background or personal interest in this area.  You will be provided with a social and fun working environment surrounded by a supportive and pro-active team.  The organisational structure is flat, you would be a crucial member of the team.

 

Requirements include:

*    At least 2 years of front end development experience using HML5, CSS3, Javascript.

*    A tidy, organised and well structured development environment, development pipeline.

*    Extensive JavaScript experience utilising frameworks such as AngularJS, Bootstrap or NodeJS

*    Experience dealing with cross browser compatibility and CSS Best Practices

*    Exposure to Unit testing frameworks highly desirable

*    Excellent written and verbal skills

Please provide a cover letter and 2 references with your application and email [email protected].

 

17

Oct

 

I used the boardroom today for important meeting with clients. I just want you to know that the girls were fantastic at reception and in hosting & accommodating my clients. Particularly the American girl who offered water, tea, coffee and brought my guests to the boardroom.

I know it’s what we pay for, however, in today’s world we don’t always get what we pay for. Good service is harder to come by these days. Your staff do an excellent job on the phones and facilitating the front desk operations.

Congratulations.
Thank you.

17

Oct

 

Without a doubt the best shared office space ever. The Cluster’s inner-city location, light and modern offices, and free coffee/tea/cake/fruit/be-surprised-what-else are just the start. Kirsten, Amber & team have created a Cluster culture that is exceptional, with regular Friday drinks, and other socializing events. I am glad to come into such a great place with creative, switched-on people around me every morning.

17

Oct

 

Our global IT company needed to find a professional office footprint in Melbourne, after looking around at other venues we choose The Cluster. It offers our Melbourne based and visiting interstate/overseas employees a location to work, share ideas, meet clients and enjoy the company of other professionally employed individuals. The team at the Cluster are welcoming, considerate, happy and energetic. We recommend The Cluster to friends and other business looking for a shared office space.

17

Oct

 

The Cluster really is a fantastic place to work. It is the perfect working environment for a self-employed individual like myself or for a small company, and is also very affordable, with many different options available. Everyone is very friendly and I fully recommend the Cluster to anyone looking for work space in Melbourne.

http://epicmarketing.com.au/

17

Oct

 

“I am not a smart person, but I know how to surround myself with smart people” – Henry Ford

This describes The Cluster to a tea. As an entrepreneur, possibly a serial entrepreneur, it is vital that you surround yourself with smart people. The Cluster provides an ideal environment for collaborating and consulting with others; for sharing specific and broad ideas; for sharing the challenges and the successes; for sharing a coffee or a beer. It is an inspiring space for inspiring you. Great space. Great people.

http://socialopportunitygroup.com/

Puck Specialty Coffee

http://clubbid.com.au/

Director at del Mundo

… and more

17

Oct

CATEGORY: Uncategorized
 

From the moment I arrived the faces were welcoming and the process professional. There is a great mix of businesses from lingerie designers to game designers but the one thing they have in common is a great attitude. Fun, funky place – try it!

17

Oct

 

Start-up heaven, The Cluster is the perfect space for companies like ours that are born in the cloud and know that work is what you do and not where you go. The pricing models are both competitive and fully flexible, the workspace is friendly and collaborative, and the services tailored for start-ups and established companies alike.

The Cluster plays a key role in our success as a small but growing enterprise, can’t recommend them enough! @TeamMexia

http://www.mexia.com.au/

 

17

Oct

 

Fantastic shared office space with a professional but friendly environment. Excellent facilities including meeting rooms, high speed internet, telephone services, full kitchen access and afternoon tea!

The Cluster is a great setup for small and start-up businesses looking to base themselves in Melbourne CBD, and to network and collaborate with like-minded people.

http://morphum.com/

17

Oct

 
I love working here! I have had a lot of experiences with shared spaces and co-working spaces in the US, and I created one of the first co-working spaces in Austin, Texas.
The Cluster is professional, fun, productive and suits my small business perfectly. Sometimes shared offices or co-working spaces can be loud and it is challenging to stay productive, but I found that when I moved into this space, my productivity tripled. I feel really happy bringing my clients here, as they are greeted by the amazing receptionists and really taken care of by the team. I feel constantly taken care of as well.
17

Oct

 

The Cluster is a unique place in Melbourne that offers truly flexible and reasonable rates for its mostly entrepreneur clientele. No hidden charges or unnecessary extras – what you get is a desk, fast internet connection and coffee, in a great camaraderie atmosphere where people can interact and share ideas. And the staff are friendly, professional and always helpful. What else does a start-up need?

http://www.butlerfinancials.com/

17

Oct

 

I have worked from The Cluster twice, and was very impressed with it. It’s the best value of the co-working spaces in the Melbourne area. The staff are very welcoming, professional & helpful, and your co-workers feel like colleagues and were all very friendly. If I lived closer to the city, I would definitely operate from The Cluster on a regular basis.

17

Oct

 

The Cluster is 10 stars AWESOME!!

People here from staff to other office residents are friendly and open to chatting about anything from work, best practices, best dinner recommendations, festival experiences or how to cook a chicken with a beer (this seriously happened). The space is relaxing, clean, and bright. I like the array of plants dispersed amongst the desk to create a calm environment (I do also like the bright sombero perched atop the cactus-like plant too!) Easily accessible in the heart of the city. The location is unbeatable.

The Cluster also puts in much effort to create and hold social events to facilitate networking and general funtimes :) Friday night drinks, meet+greets, etc. It’s great that they know we like food! I’ve never worked in an open office, communal office space setting and now, they’ve set the bar extremely high. Kudos!

http://www.allianceabroad.com/

17

Oct

 

The Cluster is without a doubt one of the most unique and warmest environments i’ve ever had the pleasure of working in. After coming over from the UK to start a Melbourne studio for a digital agency, it was the perfect ‘ready made’ professional and social circle that you can choose to plug right into. In terms of the service they offer their team goes above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis to ensure your success. The Cluster is more then just another city share office or start up incubator, its THE lifestyle choice to make for any ambitious entrepreneur.

Highly recommended.

17

Oct

 

Great location, great people & cool space.

Perfect Melbourne CBD location, perfect for meeting with big or small clients.  The Cluster staff are excellent, presenting a professional image to your clients while being very friendly, always organising lots of fun activities.  The space is set up very nicely, cool entry area, range of meeting rooms and well laid out desk spaces. One of my clients said “Its like the google offices”.

http://www.inhousemad.com

17

Oct

 

The Clusterians are helpful, fun and smart. The place is so hard to leave, that even when we grew up so much we had to find our own place, we still benefit from their reception service (through cool IP phones) and meeting rooms.

It’s a bit like an adult version of the incubators and accelerators that have popped up around Melbourne, all the flexibility without the low-level hand holding. A great place to start for entrepreneurs, I recommend it to all my students.

http://www.greensync.com.au/

17

Oct

 

I can honestly say I love working out of this location. As a remote office of 1 it was difficult finding affordable office space. The Cluster is a dream come true, I found them right away upon moving to Melbourne. Knowing no one when I first moved to the city, The Cluster has given me a medium for meeting people personally and professionally. It has been a great experience and I regularly encourage people I meet that are in similar situations to myself to check it out. I can’t thank you guys enough for being the space that is perfect for me.

17

Oct

 

Throughout the entire year that our company worked at the Cluster, we only have positive words to say about our experience. As our company grew rapidly from two to thirteen people in a year, the Cluster happily accommodated for our every need. Whether it was 8am or 8pm, the girls always had a smile on their face and a can-do attitude to help us in any way possible. Any question that you had regarding booking meeting rooms, printing, moving desks etc. was always greeted with an optimistic approach.

The quality of work we produced was high as our office surroundings supported and nourished business growth and development. The Cluster is a great environment to meet like minded individuals and companies looking to grow their business. The extra bonuses such as complimentary bread, coffee, fruit, cakes and lollies make your own job that little bit easier.

http://precedent.au.com/

09

Sep

 

It is often assumed that you are either born an entrepreneur or you’re not. That you either have that risky, quick-thinking, innovative nature or you don’t. That you will either succeed in business or you won’t. However, the truth is anyone with a bit of determination and a great idea can be an entrepreneur!

Almost all references that attempt to educate one on how to become an entrepreneur start with the step, ‘think of a great idea.’ For some this can be the hardest part. It is important to remember that an idea does not necessarily need to be entirely original or a one of a kind invention. Instead, it may be a service – a way to do something better or a product that is more efficient than its predecessors.

Entrepreneurs relish the opportunity to take an idea no matter how brilliant or underwhelming and develop them into successful business ventures. More often than not, at first entrepreneurial ideas either seem too unrealistic or just plain terrible. When Perrier first contemplated the idea of bottled water, there is no doubt that it would have been dismissed as ludicrous.

One of the most unique and powerful characteristics of an entrepreneur is his/her ability to turn an unrealistic idea into a profitable business venture. Above all else, entrepreneurs themselves rate passion and self-belief as one of the most important things to possess when setting up a business. It does not matter if you don’t have accounting skills or any marketing knowledge – these are all skills that can be purchased or borrowed from other people. What is most important is that you believe enough in your idea to stand by it and put in the hard yards.

Hard work comes with the territory of an entrepreneur. Aside from driving the idea and planning for a new business, you will often find yourself working in a myriad of different and challenging roles to keep the business afloat. In the beginning these jobs may include, pitching your business to investors, drafting marketing plans, and importantly predicting and evaluating the profitability of your business. However, as your business grows you may find yourself as the ‘jack of all trades’ doing anything from wining and dining your new clientele to unpacking stock.

To ensure that any hiccups or obstacles that are bound to come your way do not disrupt the entirety of your business you must plan. Passion and belief may be enough to drive your idea but it is intelligent planning that will ensure it grows. A really in-depth and well researched business plan is key to this. Many universities and TAFE’s offer short business planning courses that will go through this step by step. They are also a way to learn from people who have done it all before. Alternatively, there are endless examples on the internet that will point you in the right direction.

A business plan should include a clear mission statement that guides and determines everything else you plan to do in or for your business. In addition to this, a business description/overview, marketing strategy and a financial plan are extremely important in the early stages of your business.

Whilst your path and in the end your business will change time and time again, a business plan provides a focus, and helps to eliminate unforseen problems from arising in the future. The more research and time you put into planning for your business, the easier establishing yourself and producing an initial cash flow will be.

Good luck in your future entrepreneur endeavours!

02

Sep

 

By definition delegation is the, ‘assignment of authority and responsibility to another person (normally from a manager to a subordinate) to carry out specific activities.’ Important to note is that the person who delegates the work remains accountable for the outcome. It is for this reason that people and entrepreneurs in particular, shy away from delegation. Is the chance of having the task done poorly or even not at all worth the risk of delegation?

Many traits synonymous with a successful entrepreneur naturally hinder delegation. Their independence, ‘get it done’ attitude, impatience and ego often prevent them from passing on even the most minor tasks to other people. Catherine Eibner, serial entrepreneur and most recently Developer Evangelist for Microsoft Australia, admits that she once too held the strange belief that she had to do everything. ‘From scrubbing the floors to hooking up computers to the internet,’ she continuously found herself distracted from what she should have really been doing – growing her business!

Eibner, recalls the exact moment when she realised that these mundane day-to-day tasks were actually making her and her business inefficient and unsuccessful. A friend suggested she hire ‘a sociable, eager and hard-working’ person he knew with no formal training to look after her accounting and bookkeeping. Outraged that her friend would suggest someone with no qualifications she immediately dismissed the idea, before suddenly realising that the person her friend was describing was actually no different from her.

So often, entrepreneurs find themself acting as the office manager, book keeper, marketing director, accountant and ultimately jack of all trades regardless of the fact that they may not be qualified for any of these roles. Unfortunately whilst they may in fact be very capable of all of these things, it can become very easy to lose sight of the end goal.

After being thrown what she describes as ‘the greatest small business lesson [she] ever learnt,’ Eibner quickly became very fond of outsourcing. She realised that if she spent for example, ’10 hours a week chasing new clients and netted $1,000, one hour of her time could then be valued at $100.’ By outsourcing small tasks for $25-$50 per hour to a book keeper or virtual receptionist she was actually saving a lot of money!

Greek mogul, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou of the ‘easy’ empire (easyJet, easyHotels and easyCar – just to name a few!) believes that aside from this it is still extremely important for entrepreneurs to make their own mistakes. Not to say that he is unwilling to also hand over the reins, but he believes it is extremely important for an entrepreneur to prove first that his/her business model is sound. Paying attention to the smallest of details and ensuring that any mistakes that arise are solved properly he says will allow you to build a successful venture that you can trust someone else to manage.

In the meantime, some carefully planned and clear delegation may be the next best step for entrepreneurs. Donna Robinson, a business consultant with the University of West Georgia in the United States of America, believes there are three keys to successful delegation. (Robinson, D. Can Entrepreneurs Delegate? Business Sense, Georgia)

1) ‘Careful planning of what is to be done and who is best suited to do it.’

By getting to know your staff and becoming familiar with their skills and passions you will be able to appropriately delegate tasks. This also acts as a way to offer your employees the opportunity to further showcase their skills and grow within the company.

2) ‘Clear communication of why the task is important, and what is expected, including outcomes, reporting and timeframes.’

You cannot expect someone else to complete a set task exactly the way you would. Their individual mindset, training and experiences will influence how they set about carrying out a task. It is important to outline clearly what is expected and of course by when, but it is also crucial that you allow your staff the freedom to explore possible solutions.

3) ‘Feedback mechanisms in place for ascertaining what worked and what did not work and rewarding good or correcting bad performance.’

It is expected that the ‘delegator’ monitors the performance of the people he/she delegates tasks to. By providing constructive feedback and rewarding great performances, delegation will become a lot easier – for everyone involved.

Whilst, it is hard for an entrepreneur to ignore the fact that they will be held ultimately responsible for the outcome of a delegated task, he/she cannot deny that the possible benefits are far greater. By carefully delegating tasks to capable and motivated employees, an entrepreneur can free up valuable time that can be spent on growing their business. Put aside that ego, and give a little – you may find you in fact gain a lot!

26

Aug

 

When you think of a traditional office environment, it is easy enough to imagine a large space, probably on the 13th or 14th floor of a building with city views, filled with people buzzing in and out of small cubicles. It is rare that you imagine a team made up of individuals who all work from different offices, cities or even countries.

These days it is very common for a professional team not to share an office. Remote workers are becoming increasingly popular amongst large companies, a move employees seem to be mostly positive about. Relishing the freedom and independence from the long commute to work and bland office environment, remote workers appear to be more than happy to set up office at home.

The ‘Virtual Workforce’ as it is known, is continually growing. Along with it online business systems, technology and even Virtual Management firms have flourished. Whilst the benefits; lower overheads, improved efficiency and flexibility for your staff are obvious, the downside is that many companies are left to manage a team that are not necessarily ‘there’ all the time. Employers have to rely solely on trust and grade their staffs’ performance on results – not by how much overtime they may be doing.

Debra Dinnocenzo, president of VirtualWork! a firm that specialises in training companies in virtual management, believes the two most important things for a remote team are trust and communication. It is important to believe that your virtual workers can perform their jobs properly, with little supervision. This of course does not mean they don’t need guidance. One of the most common complaints from Virtual employees is a lack of communication and interaction with their boss or team. Dinnocenzo says, ‘it is important to have regular check-ins with employees to discuss their work and progress.’ She believes it is also crucial to commend employees for their work even if you cannot do so easily face-to-face.

Obviously the coveted ‘Corner Office’ is not a reward that can be offered to Virtual Staff. Instead, things like the latest smart phone or computer upgrades are a really good way to reward staff and keep them motivated. On a day to day basis, as Dinnocenzo said consistent interaction and regular check-ins will ensure your staff remain focused. Another option is of course to make the most of the many serviced office and entrepreneurial spaces now popping up in major cities. Often, employers who do not have their own office or require a representative in another state will set their employee up in shared space where they can benefit from both the professional office set up and interaction with other entrepreneurs.

It is also extremely important for companies who employ a Virtual Workforce to make the most of technology. With simple and easy to use programs like Skype and GoogleDocs, one would think all companies would be sharing documents and holding regular staff meetings regardless of where they are located. And yet many companies don’t. Software such as GoToMeeting, Adobe Breeze and Raindance are other great examples of programs that allow teams to easily stay in contact and share thoughts by accessing the same documents in real time.

American company, ‘Evaluserve’, employ one of the largest Virtual workforces in the world. It is no surprise that they manage to do so, once you are made aware of the healthy and completely functional working relationship between their CEO who is located in Austria, their chairman in California and the head of Sales & Marketing in Maine. With over 2,000 employees across every continent in the world, Evaluserve was expected to grow to a $17-18billion company by the end of 2010.

Regardless of whether your team is made up of 5 or 500 people it seems the key to a healthy ‘virtual’ relationship is trust. Having an open door and trusting that your employees will come to you when they need to, will not only ensure they produce results, but hang around long enough to make it worthwhile. Also don’t forget about that important interaction, get friendly with your webcam and schedule your first virtual staff meeting now!

13

Jul

 

Relishing a reputation as courageous, risk-taking eccentrics; vast differences have often been drawn between entrepreneurs and traditional managers. ‘Rock stars’ with a level of freedom most business people could only dream of, entrepreneurs are often perceived as being far removed from the standard corporate life. It seems however, that the parallels between these innovative individuals and conventional managers are much greater than often assumed. Using similar leadership characteristics and business disciplines to turn their ideas into successful and thriving companies, entrepreneurs’ balanced behaviour is much more like the traditional managers’ than once thought.

Ernst & Young’s recent report, ‘Nature or nurture? Decoding the DNA of the Entrepreneur’ begins to break down the behaviour and typical traits of entrepreneurs; comparing and contrasting them to traditional managers and employees. From their survey of 635 of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, Ernst & Young, concluded that entrepreneurs are in fact made, not born and that external factors such as; business experience, cultural background and their environments influence their success just as much as innate personality traits. In particular, most surveyed entrepreneurs stated that higher education and previous employment had been key to their success.

Regardless of this fact, vision, passion and drive were still rated by surveyed entrepreneurs as the most important qualities to have. Ernst & Young’s research showed that most entrepreneurs have an, ‘internal locus of control’ – an ability to intelligently assess risk combined with a willingness to take them. It is an entrepreneur’s locus of control that allows them to see opportunity where others may only see disruptions, their drive and tenacity is what ensures that these ideas become successful business ventures.

The one downside of being an entrepreneur is something Harvard Business School Professor Noam Wasserman calls the ‘rich-versus-king’ choice. Whilst it doesn’t sound too terrible; choosing between being king and being rich? It is something Professor Wasserman says it is the downfall of many entrepreneurs and their businesses. He says, ‘if the desire for wealth (being rich) drives the entrepreneurial leader, he or she should accept outside capital, give up the reins and enjoy a piece of a bigger pie. [However,] if the desire to run a successful business (being king) is a stronger motivator, the choice should be to rely on debt financing or self-funding, continue to control the company, and accept that growth may be constrained.’ It is entrepreneurs who insist on being both rich and king that struggle to succeed, making inconsistent decisions because they are unclear what it is their truly value.

Like anyone, entrepreneurs face obstacles in life. Whether these are attributed to their business ventures or not, their opportunistic outlook and great levels of persistence are what ensure they overcome them. The idealistic notion that entrepreneurs are born with a ‘success gene’ is greatly inaccurate. Ernst & Young’s report presents an intelligent insight into the real reasons behind an entrepreneur’s success, concluding, that it is in fact a combination of often different personal characteristics and behaviours as well as external factors and past experience.

To read Ernst & Young’s full report; ‘Nature or nurture? Decoding the DNA of the Entrepreneur’ Click Here.

06

Jul

 

I was asked the other day, how do you start a software company with no money. It’s something that happens a lot more than people might imagine, and I’ve done it a few times already.

The way to go about this is a process called “bootstrapping” which literally means picking yourself up by your bootstraps. When you’re first starting out investors are just out of the question. You’ve got no track record, no experience, no rich relatives and no money of your own. So what to do?

Having done this several times already, here are my suggestions:
You need to find people that are willing to work for free or for very little up-front money. There are many people looking for opportunities in the workplace for different reasons. Sometimes they have very little experience but lots of talent, and they just need a foot in the door. Other times, they’re looking at a career change and want to gain valuable experience in a different industry or role. You won’t know who’s available until you start to look, and you will likely be quite surprised at what’s out there.

The kind of arrangements you can have with your low cost, or volunteer team includes:

1. People

• Hiring on a casual basis so that you’re not paying salaries when the company has no income. In this way you only pay out money, when the new company has work. If there’s no work, you pay nothing. This is probably the easiest and safest way to start if you’re completely starting from zero.

• You can give them a share of profits from each contract or sales of the product. This can be a risky idea because you cannot guarantee that there will be any profits, and this might cause problems between you and the team, should things turn bad. Make sure you’ve got some good contracts in place to protect you here. You need to be careful in Australia, as in many cases, the person whom you thought you had a profit share agreement with, might come back and claim they were an employee and you would be liable for their salary expenses. You need to make sure that your paperwork is correct and that you’re following the right procedures (which is beyond the scope of this article). The truth is that most people aren’t happy to take business risks, no matter what the longer term rewards might be. This is your role as the entrepreneur. Indeed, there are people that will and if you can find them then great, but if they don’t have much business experience, this might backfire on you as the realities of running a business and making a profit hit-home. If people are relying on profits to make up their salaries and they don’t materialize you’re going to get into trouble quickly.

• The most obvious solution might be to give people a share of the business. In this way they’re not relying on any one product or project to make up their salary, but rather the overall growth of the business from year to year. The problem is that your company is a highly risky venture, and people know this. It’s a fairly good strategy of course if you have no resources and people believe in you and the company’s future. Personally, I would argue against giving away any equity (of significant value). The reasons are beyond the scope of this article, but owning and controlling your own company is very important.

2. Money

Unless you’re independently wealthy, have some very wealthy friends or relatives, then you’re going to have to get money in some very creative ways.

Believe it or not, the easiest way to get money is to work for it! Well that sounds kind of stupid right, that’s obvious, but when you start a company it’s no different. The company is a legal entity in its own right, and it now has to go out into the world and earn it’s living. It’s as simple as that, and it can start straight away!

Raising money is extremely hard, takes ages and the likelihood of success for someone starting from scratch is pretty close to zero. So, where does this income come from?

You need to think laterally. There are literally thousands of things your new company can do to generate revenue. They’re not things you might like to do, or want to do initially, but they get you started and that’s how you bootstrap your business, collect quality people to work with you, pay competitive salaries, keep good people, increase your capacity in terms of your work resources, environments and tools and so on.

Really, you want to take as much work as you can wherever you find it, but some work is better than others. For example, your new company has a vision, and end goal, and some work moves you closer towards that end goal, and some work moves you away. So, even though you have very little option when you’re starting out, as time goes on you’re going to be wanting to take on the work that’s moving you towards the objectives that you’ve set for yourself.

A lot of these jobs can be tedious, boring, time consuming and pay very little money, but over time it all adds up. You’re moving towards your end goal, you’re re-structuring, learning, getting stronger, and running the business better. If you keep plugging away and never give up you will eventually reach your goals. You only fail when you stop in business, and that’s not really failure but more of a learning experience in my opinion. Maybe you just had the wrong goals from the start. In any case, you now have a business with resources and money. You’ve successfully bootstrapped your company.

The other thing to consider is government money. There’s a lot of money that you can get from the governments in Australia. The more successful your company becomes, the more access to grants you will have. Because of this, you need to just keep your company moving forwards no matter what. You need to keep taking those leaps of faith, you don’t know what opportunities are there until you start moving forwards.

When you’re staring out you’re going to have to do all these things simultaneously. Your margins are going to be much tighter in the beginning. You’re going to be doing more work than you can handle. You’re going to be doing more jobs than one person should have to do, but that’s to be expected. That’s how it’s done.

3. Resources

When you first come up with an idea, or you’re looking to start a company, many people first try to solve the problem of getting money. There are many other things of equal importance however. Things that you can negotiate or get for free for example are just as valuable as putting money into your business account.

So why not

• Negotiate with suppliers such as accountants, lawyers and other business professionals who are willing to give start-ups a go and work for free or for very low fees.

• Share an office with someone who wants to help you out. Work from home or use a coworking or serviced office space with reasonable terms.

• Barter for services and goods. Look for bargains everywhere. Every dollar you save, is money you’re pumping into your business.

• Trade your expertise in return for something you need or want.

4. Business Development
Business is about sales. You need a very talented and tenacious business development person to bring in the work or to make the necessary contacts in order to make the sales. Ideally this person will be you, but that’s not the only way. You need to ask yourself if this is something you enjoy doing, whether you can build the skills required, basically whether or not you’re the right person to do this crucial role. Without business development, you don’t have a business. You need someone who understands your industry intimately, you can’t just go out and find a business development person and plug him or her in, and it doesn’t work. You need someone who enjoys doing this work, who already has skill at doing it or who finds it easy, and most importantly someone that you can trust who has a vested interest in the future of your business or you could be training up a competitor. Obviously it’s better if you’re this person or can become this person, but it’s not critical.

08

Nov

 

Receptionist Melbourne services at The Cluster

If you’re looking for a professional front end for your business, then a virtual office is the perfect solution. With a virtual office, you can continue to work from wherever you like and have a professional receptionist answer your phone, forward your faxes and mail and even manage your calendar. It’s like having your very own receptionist without the cost of hiring one full-time.

Why have Receptionist Melbourne services at The Cluster

At the Cluster the receptionist knows your business and gets to know your clients. Your clients will understand that your receptionist is working for your business and we do everything we can to help your business succeed. We are not a call centre, we are a boutique service and we can provide many more services to your business as it grows. If you need an office in the city, meeting room access and technology, we can provide you with everything you need.

Receptionist Melbourne services sign up

So when you’ve decided that you need a Receptionist for your growing business, but you don’t want one full time or you cannot justify the cost of having one full time, then The Cluster Virtual Office is the solution.

30

Sep

 

At The Cluster, we are all about you, and your needs, instead of it being about us and our profits. Most of the serviced offices spaces out there, (whether it be highly corporate spaces with tiny offices and even smaller desks, or small box offices with no windows), charge you for everything on top of your base rental. You never really know what you will spend each month until your bill arrives, and let’s face it you’re not kidding anyone with some of these places! You’re clients are going to look on you much more favourably when you’re not wasting your money hand-over-fist, you have a comfortable impressive office that actually works for you and works to make your business a success. It’s basically what you would have if you had your own office.

The Cluster is different, everything is included in your weekly rental. There are no surprises. We have created an environment that is cost-effective, relaxing, professional and fun. We genuinely want to help you succeed in your entrepreneurial endeavours. We’re concerned for the welfare of your business and in return we hope to have you stay with us for as long as possible That’s good for you and good for us!

The desks we provide are huge. Almost the size of our competitors offices. The space is open, and there is a great kitchen for socialising, eating, and enjoying all the free chocolate and coffee that you can handle. Sometimes you will see entrepreneurs bouncing off the walls at The Cluster. Oh the joys of “on tap” sugar and caffeine!

The Cluster provides more if you want it. We do social gatherings a few times a month. Friday night drinks, a beery lunch here and there, presentation nights (where you can discuss your business, while we watch and eat pizza), and brain bumper afternoons (where tenants get together and brainstorm each other’s ideas, for new and different perspectives).

The Cluster is a wonderful space to work in. We get to know you and your business (super well), so we know what to say when your clients call or visit. Unlike many places and call answering services, the people doing the greetings don’t know you. At The Cluster, we know you! The colour of your hair, what you are wearing on most days etc. Good luck walking past reception and not stopping for a solid and humorous chat!

So what are you waiting for. Give your business the boost it needs and take it to the next level.

13

Sep

 

The decision to move myself and little entrepreneurial dreams to The Cluster was fuelled principally for social interaction – I was bored silly working alone in a home office.

I’d seen a couple of serviced offices around Melbourne but found their shoebox sized rooms a re-creation of my solitary home office – albeit with a bit more flash than my dining room table. I knew that once the gimmick had become stale I’d be back to my original predicament of working for hours on end without seeing another person – just with significantly less cash in the kitty.

The day I viewed the Cluster, on the other hand, I knew I’d found exactly what I was looking for – an open plan environment filled with inspiring people in the same situation as myself; fantastically successful entrepreneurs in the making!
However, it was only after I’d moved in to The Cluster that it became apparent how well supported and encouraged that social environment was. The Cluster organised after work drinks, meals out, brain storming sessions and “What the hell do you do?” nights – all of which were a superb way of bringing people together and creating a true community feeling on Level 10.

On top that is the amount of added extras The Cluster provides without additional cost. In a serviced office, receptionists charge a small fortune just for a smile and hello each morning. In stark contrast, not only are the smiles and hellos in the morning free, but I also receive internet, printing, and board room access all included in my rent – not to mention free tea and chocolate! The receptionists are friendly and always ready to help out with scanning, printing, or whatever without additional charge.

It’s an easy going, relaxed atmosphere where the emphasis is on support for me, rather than profit for them. And I reckon all entrepreneurs and small businesses would appreciate a bit more of that.

31

Aug

 

The cluster rocks!

I visited another 2 serviced office spaces after seeing the cluster… both of which were double the price and half the value. Great location, fast internet, friendly people and owners who are super passionate about what they do.

In a nutshell, it’s the Disneyland version of serviced offices. If you’re contemplating moving in – don’t think, just do it!

http://www.ecommerce.com.au/

25

Aug

 

My company Virtual Planet Studios has gone from concept to reality at the Cluster. It is so fabulous to be in an office with other entrepeneurs. The shared humour and the constant activity in the office makes the environment so great to be working in. The creative, fun and innovative environment at the Cluster has really inspired and supported me in my early business start up phase.

Kirsten and Chris who run the Cluster are genuinely interested in the success of people and businesses within the Cluster. Chris and Kirsten do more than provide a great office environment they both have been very willing to share their very sound successful business acumen. Kirstens MBA training and Chris’s business background of running successful games companies make them a formidable support team to all in the Cluster. Kirsten and Chris really understand what entrepeneurs need and most importantly they have a great sense of humour.

The diversity of people and businesses within the Cluster creates a real buzz of activity. There has been fantastic collaboration amongst all within the office and the shared business support shows the quality of the amazing people within the office. I really enjoy the pizza and beer nights where we hear how other businesses in the Cluster are going. The Cluster restaurant nights are so brilliant. Everyone is so supportive of each other, its great.

As a start up business, the Cluster takes the start up business entrepeneur from isolation to collaboration. I highly recommend the Cluster Level 10 50 Market St Melbourne to any entrepeneur looking to fast track their business success, make new friends and forge new business networks. In one word the Cluster is…brilliant !

Kind Regards,

Ellie O’Collins
Manager
http://virtualplanetstudios.com

23

Aug

 

History of Coworking. Coworking Melbourne

The term “coworking” was first used by Bernie DeKoven in 1999 in the context of virtual working practices. In 2005 Brad Neuberg used it to describe a physical shared working space.  His now famous “Hat Factory” coworking space in San Francisco was one of the earliest examples of the phenomenon that is now sweeping the globe.  Most of the existing coworking spaces are based in the US at this time, but the idea is rapidly spreading to other cities around the world.  Typically coworking spaces fill fast and there can be long waiting lists.

The Cluster Coworking Space

What is Coworking Melbourne

Coworking is basically a shared office where different companies with symbiotic relationships work and share resources, ideas and sometimes ideals.  In general there is a focus on the community created within the space.   It’s a contemporary innovation in a world where more and more people are working for themselves.  Many coworking spaces cater to to hi-tech or other creative industries.   Coworking has a strong social element with shared values and a realisation that by working side-by-side with other companies or individuals in a friendly social space, that the synergies created lead to new opportunities.  Ultimately, companies in coworking environments experience greater levels of success from these synergies.

The Cluster Coworking Space

How Coworking Melbourne helps

In a world of interconnectedness it has become apparent that we crave social interaction in our working lives. Business is created through interactions between people face-to-face. Developing and maintaiing social interaction skills is a necessary tool for any working person who wants to become successful.  When the Internet revolution made it possible to work from home , many virtual employees discovered that they felt isolated and missed the human interaction.  Coworking offers a flexible solution to the home based business by providing an alternative space away from the distractions of the home.

The Cluster provides a social, relaxed coworking environment for creative innovative companies whilst also presenting the most professional image possible.

The Cluster Coworking Space

Brilliant!! coworking videos

Co-working: Origins and Future. The Hat Factory founder speaks

Co-Working: Independent Workers Unite

The Coworking wiki! Your one stop shop to coworking worldwide

Welcome to the Coworking Wiki!

Coworking Visa. Coworking sites across the planet!

List of coworking spaces in Australia

inspire 9 (Richmond, VIC)

OpenHub (Melbourne, VIC)

hiveSTUDIO (Fitzroy, VIC)

CO-WORKA (Sydney Northern Beaches, NSW)

Canberra Coworking (Canberra)

Hub Melbourne (Melbourne, VIC)

Vibewire Youth Inc. (NSW)

If you would like to add a service provider to the list please drop us a comment and we will be happy to include you.

Chris Mosely is CEO of The Cluster which provides  Virtual Office, Serviced Offices, Office Space and Coworking

23

Aug

CATEGORY: Uncategorized
 

The Cluster has over 35 exciting, innovative entrepreneurial companies.

These are just some of the businesses at The Cluster.

iPhone Game Development
iPad Game Development
Facebook social gaming
Computer Game Development
Industry Associations
Advertising Agencies
Modeling and Promotional Agencies
Software Development
Web Development
Architecture
Acting Agency
Construction Portal
Business Consulting Portal
Animation
Fashion Portal
Environmental Consulting
PR
Health & Wellness
Marketing
Media
Coffee Marketing and Promotion
Financial Planning
Recruiting
Graphic Design
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

And many other fascinating companies !!! Contact us today to get started.

23

Aug

 

Computer Games & The Entrepreneurial Spirit.

The Cluster serviced offices Melbourne and virtual offices Melbourne started life as a computer game company called REDTRIBE (referring to the office itself of course). Founded in August 2003, REDTRIBE went on to become one of Australia’s largest independent game development studios. Today, REDTRIBE still works with publishing companies in the US, but has shifted its strategy from development work to production work with more of the development work now done overseas. You can still rub shoulders with the entrepreneurial founders of REDTRIBE at The Cluster Melbourne and there’s many a good business story to tell at one of The Cluster’s many social gatherings.

Today there are over 45+ creative companies located within The Cluster Melbourne Serviced Offices which is a hive of Entrepreneurial activity and creativity (including REDTRIBE). Additionally, there is access to a great deal of computer equipment and software if required by members.

REDTRIBE has worked with some of the world’s largest movie companies including Warner Brothers, Universal Studios and Fox Studios. REDTRIBE’s most recent games include Looney Tunes Acme Arsenal and Space Chimps. We hope to see you at The Cluster Melbourne sometime. Contact us.

18

Aug

 

“The Cluster is by far the best serviced offices we’ve had. We’ve shared in other places and dealt with other landlords, but these magical cookie giving people are second to none. We moved in months ago and now we don’t ever want to leave. So happy here! Great work environment, comfortable and also impressive to clients – all round impeccable. Honestly, the Cluster is amazing for its price. I highly recommend anyone who is looking for a work space.”

http://www.thevoxelagents.com/

18

Aug

 

“The Cluster is a winner. These guys have a very clear vision of their preferred culture and they have allowed it to comfortably evolve through actions not words. Assistance is never far away but privacy is respected. The mood is relaxed but professional. The amenities are first class and the location is great. I highly recommend it!” Greg Power, Pure Ads.

21

Jun

 

There are many benefits from having your own home based business. There are cost savings, time savings and other lifestyle benefits. One of the biggest drawbacks however is a lack of social interaction and missing out on potential new business opportunities because your simply not aware of them!

At the core of business is the interactions between people. There’s a customer and a client and communication is critical in order to make your business successful. If you have poor interpersonal skills or poor communication skills then you really need to work on that as much as possible.

One of the drawbacks of the home based business is the isolation. Isolation can lead to depression, lack of motivation and ultimately the failure of a business due to a loss of momentum.

Effective business communications requires practice. You have to be communicating every day with as many different people as you can to avoid losing the skills.

Working in a coworking space or serviced office environment may allow a home based business person to overcome this isolation. The real question is, how much business are you loosing not how much does it cost you. There are tremendous benefits of working in close proximity with other similar companies to yourself. Even the most benign conversations can impart vital information and in some cases have completely changed the direction of a company or personal career.

There are numerous anecdotal stories of companies gaining more work than they can handle as a result of participating in a serviced office. Of course, it’s not an automatic recipe for success, you don’t just move into a coworking or serviced office space and hey presto you have more work, but it’s pretty well understood that when you are surrounded by other small businesses or larger businesses who need services then your chances of success improve.

So, if you’re bashing away at your business and you’re feeling a little blue or can’t seem to get things going, maybe a serviced office might help to give things a boost. Many serviced office operators have flexible terms so you can try, and buy. Don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what it is you’re looking for.

Chris Mosely is CEO of The Cluster which provides  Virtual Office, Serviced Offices, Office Space and Coworking

21

Jun

 

So you’re thinking you need to move into your own office. Tired of working from home? The husband always expecting you to be at his beck and call or the kids driving you up the wall? Or perhaps you live alone and the solitude is starting to get to you? Or perhaps you just lack the discipline needed to separate work from home time?

Luckily there is a better way. A serviced office can be an easy and cost effective way of establishing a more professional working environment and presenting a more respectable image to the wider business community. The real question is how do you select the right one. There seem to be many choices these days.

Here are a few things to consider.

a. Take the time to figure out exactly what you are looking for. Don’t be told what it is you need by the service providers themselves, they will only confuse you. You know best. The physical services they offer are pretty much stock-standard these days, so look a little deeper and try to understand what it is they stand for. What are they all about? As an intelligent business creator, you should instinctively know what’s going to work for you and what isn’t. You will get a feeling about this within the first 3 seconds of walking into a place, so follow your instincts.

b. Does the serviced office have the same values as you. Do you feel that the companies within it are similar to yours. One of the greatest benefits of a coworking space or serviced office is working with other similar companies and leveraging off the flow of ideas and opportunities this generates. You need a serviced office that has the right culture, a culture that you are both comfortable within, and can contribute towards. There are even serviced office operators around these days that will qualify you to see if you meet their criteria, that’s how important the office culture can be!

c. Are you a little insecure about your companies image. Many smaller companies are quite insecure and believe they need very expensive looking swish offices to make them look more successful. This can backfire however. The Collins St. serviced office location might sound impressive to you, but you’re not fooling anyone unless the type of business you have makes sense to be on Collins St. Have you ever notice how the smaller the company the larger the company name. Maga-International companies have names like Sony and Apple. Small home-based business have names like “The Web Institute of Research and Development”. The more secure you are and the more confidence you have in yourself the more successful your business will be, so trust your instincts and select an office that will work for you, not one you think will make you look good. In doing so, you will actually look a whole lot more impressive. When you select a serviced office because it has the relaxed progressive environment that helps your business thrive, your customers will not only understand why, they will wish they were there with you. They will admire you for your brains and sound judgement and that’s much more valuable when you are a small startup or rapidly expanding business. A smart company working in the right environment, in the right location looks more impressive than the same company dressed up with a gimmicky address holding meetings in marble filled boardrooms. Make sure you don’t end up looking like a used-car-salesman, the suit might be expensive, but it doesn’t fool anyone.

d. Lastly cost should be examined. Some serviced office providers draw you in with small up-front fees then charge for each sheet of bog-roll you use. They’re making a lot of money, so where do you think that money is coming from ? Be careful about low introductory rates and special introductory promotions. Try to find a serviced office provider that gives you a package with as much as possible included in it. Look for a provider that is genuine, offers a simple packaged solution and has your interests at heart. Be willing to pay more upfront for a package deal as this will save you big bucks over the weeks and months that you are there and it allows you to predict your costs each month with confidence. Knowing how much things are going to cost you each month is very very important when you are working hand-to-mouth and every cent counts. There is nothing worse than receiving an unexpected bill from a serviced office provider full of nasty surprises.

Chris Mosely is CEO of The Cluster which provides  Virtual Office, Serviced Offices, Office Space and Coworking

16

Jun

 

Virtual Office – The Only Alternative in Melbourne

In business impressions count.  Making the right impression is vital.  A Virtual Officeprovides a professional front-end for your home based business.  It typically provides a city based address (or prestigious address), a receptionist to answer your business number with your own company name and local phone number, voicemail services including voice to email forwarding, IVR or Automated Interactive Voice Response, fax services and even in some cases  hot-desking and boardroom or meeting room facilities.

A Great Virtual Office Package Accelerates Your Business

Services and prices can vary.  Most Virtual Office service providers offer cheap entry rates and charge additional amounts for telephony, fax services, hot-desking and boardroom facilities depending on how these are utilized.  The general pricing strategy is pay-as-you-go.  The more services you use, the more you pay for.  The less services you use the less you pay for.  Some Virtual Office service providers offer complete packages that include most or all of the services you might need.  This might appeal to people who like to know exactly how much it will cost them each month.

An Entrepreneaurial Virtual Office = New Business Opportunities

Getting in the right environment with the right people is a clear recepie for success.  The Cluster already has over 40 entreprenerial businesses of all shapes and sizes collaborating and helping each other out in this outstanding virtual office environment.

Get the edge with your new business by being located at the best address in town and mixing with some of Melbournes best and brightest.  Why not let you office expenditure work harder for your business.

Contact the Virtual Office Entrepreneur

Chris Mosely is CEO of The Cluster which provides  Virtual Office, Serviced Offices, Office Space and Coworking

16

Jun

 

Serviced Offices allow small to medium sized businesses or businesses that are rapidly growing interstate to establish themselves quickly and cost effectively in a given location. Setting up a new office from scratch is a very costly exercise and in many cases simply cannot be justified.

Setup costs can include but are not limited to office wiring (electrics and power), desks and office equipment, fit-outs (partitions, doors and security features), lighting, emergency and fire-protection audits, airconditioning maintenance, rental bond, personal guarantees(making you personally liable for potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars), and possibly a bank bond also.

In addition to setup costs, there are significant ongoing costs also. There’s the monthly rent, body corporate fees, electricity, Internet, Telephony, cleaning, security, water, council rates, contents insurance, public liability insurance and council services. By the time you’ve established your new office you’ve shelled out enormous sums of money and time. For a small company with limited cashflow this is not a smart option and many businesses fail because they do not properly look at the costs of establishing an office.

This is where the fully serviced office comes in. Many savvy entrepreneurs utilize serviced offices. Small to medium or rapidly expanding inter-state companies can utilize existing shared infrastructure. Serviced or shared offices allow companies to share expenses amongst a number of different companies all working together in close proximity whilst still operating their own individual businesses.

There are very big differences between the types of services and pricing strategies of the various shared office service providers. Many service providers provide small entry fees and charge for all additional services required. Others provide packages which can provide most of the services you might require.

Chris Mosely is CEO of The Cluster which provides  Virtual Office, Serviced Offices, Office Space and Coworking