Donna Scott Talks Flexible Working on Tallahassee Talk Radio [9/26/11 BROADCAST & TRANSCRIPT]
Preston: Donna, good morning; welcome to the program.
Donna: Good morning.
Preston: Let’s talk a little bit about the business climate that Regus decided to enter into, because it’s a very different business model. What was going on when the whole idea of developing these flexible workspaces — what was happening in the market place that sort of birthed this thing?
Donna: Well I have to step back a bit. We’ve been in business since 1989, so while it’s certainly an issue right now, with regards to trying to start businesses in the [current] economic climate … We saw years ago — our founder saw years ago — the need for people to have flexible office solutions. And maybe a bit ahead of his time. But he was meeting in a hotel lobby and realised that that’s not necessarily the place to conduct business. And so 20 years ago he started his first center and flash forward to now where we have over 1200 globally.
Preston: What is it that Regus — let’s go back to [the founder] — he basically took his own personal experience and sort of extrapolated that into a business model. What is it, that sort of — what was the hook for this?
Donna: Well, then — it was much different from now — the need for technology and the need to have a business presence, a solid business presence in a local economy — now I think it’s a lot more about flexibility. Certainly now with the uncertain times that people are facing, the ability to start a business economically and stay flexible and be able to twist and turn as the economy does so.
Preston: You know, circa 1989 when you talk about the technology at the time: I guess you’re right, as we were carrying brick phones in our back pockets and those things cost a fortune. And so it was sort of about martialing resources, right?
Donna: Yes, we had to actually provide a really robust stationary position for somebody. So, when you think of a home office or a corporate office, that’s what we were providing for people, which is much different from now where we have people — what we call the mobile worker — who chooses to work wherever they want to work and every so often needs to come in, perhaps maybe for a meeting to use the meeting facilities, or perhaps to drop in, maybe on more of a social situation, more than a need to get to the actual technology.
Preston: Donna, talk to me for a second about a market like Tallahassee. One of the things that intrigued me about Regus, is that Tallahassee’s kind of a seasonal place. You’ve got a lot of folks who sort of flood in during the session, every spring, but then you’ve got the universities — you’ve got Florida A&M [Agricultural and Mechanical University], you’ve got Florida State, a technological school, TCC [Tallahassee Community College] — and it seems as though it’s a pretty good fit for people who just want a seasonal presence as well.
Donna: I think you touched on a couple of things. A lot of opportunity for us, with regards to the State government nearby and of course the university always provides a base of clientele for us from an entrepreneurial standpoint. But then the seasonality in a city like that lends itself to the flexibility of having an office when you need one, when you need to be close, when government’s in session, when you need to go back to your home — you can literally drop down to maybe a marginal presence in that city to make sure you are accommodating your client base there. But you’re not physically there.
Preston: Well … the one that that is undeniable — Eric [Eggers] and I talk about it on the program — is that the internet has changed the landscape for business, not just in our country but globally. It is — it’s a game changer. And one of the things that that brings about, is that there are a lot of people who have a presence online that’s pretty slick —they look good, the sound good, they’ve got the bells and whistles on their website — but they don’t necessarily have the coin to put that presence in an office, you know, 24/7, 12 months of the year. And that was the other thing about the Regus model that really impressed me. For a lot of startup businesses out there or internet businesses, when they need that presence, they can have it.
Donna: Yeah I think you touched upon a great point which is that people are perhaps sometimes cynical of that online-only presence. And we’re going back to — or maybe we never lost that face-to-face contact. So I think what we’re trying to provide for our clients is a location — a physical location to come, meet with clients, get in front of prospects and really do some business face-to-face, the old fashioned way.
Preston: Do you feel like this is a trend which just continues to move in that same direction? You mentioned that Regus has been around since 1989. When you’re studying … the professional landscape, do you see it being cyclical or, you know what, this is the direction we’re moving in, so the idea of lowering overhead costs is something that, you know what, this is just the way it is — what the business looks like in 2011.
Donna: Absolutely. Everyone’s been concerned with overhead but I think the way people are doing business continues to change and that’s where we — we try to stay ahead of that. So as I mentioned, before, when you flash back to 20 years ago, people were coming into our centers and using them for 9-5. It’s certainly not the case now; they’re dropping in when they need to, they’re plugging in and downloading information and then they’re on their way again or perhaps hopping from center to center, or traveling from city to city and utilizing us in that capacity. So very, very different use of physical office space now than used to be.
Preston: Final question. Just a quick snapshot here. Someone walks into the Alliance Center here in downtown Tallahassee and finds the Regus office center, what are they going to see? You’re going to walk in and be greeted by a receptionist that is the entire center’s receptionist. There is an area for you to drop in — as we’ve been talking about — check mail; a business lounge. There’s meeting rooms, if you need to book a meeting with any of your clients. And of course — as I said, I called them traditional office users — that need a full-time office. It’s there; you literally can walk in with your laptop. We’ve got connectivity. We’ve got all of the furnishings you need and it’s well-appointed. You can just start working and get down to business immediately.
Preston: And of course we know the number … go ahead and send people to the website and the phone number that they should call.
Donna: Regus.com is the easiest way to find us. Or 1-800-OFFICES is also a way you can reach us via telephone.
Preston: Donna, great to visit with you. Thanks very much.
Click on the video above to play
The Appeal of a Flexible Workspace [Regus CEO on FOX BUSINESS]
Mark Dixon spoke with Charles Payne and Shibani Joshi, live on FOX BUSINESS, September 20, 2011, on his business model and plans for expansion
Charles Payne, FOX: Our next guest really has seen his company do very well — U.S. sales have tripled in the past three years. Joining me now is Mark Dixon of Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace. First of all, congratulations on a huge success. Secondly, explain to us: what is a flexible workspace?
Mark Dixon, Regus: Well, basically a flexible workspace is a fully-furnished office building, with all the support staff, with all the IT, which you can use for a day, an hour or have a branch office for a year. And they’re available all over the United States. We have about 500 buildings [in North America and more] in around 90 countries around the world.
Charles Payne: Mark, what’s driving this? Is it small entrepreneurs? When I started my company, I actually looked into using your workspace — and I actually have friends who do as well — is it the small entrepreneur or large businesses finding a use for your product as well?
Mark Dixon: Well, it’s both. We’re the natural home for small entrepreneurs but we’ve got companies who are growing quickly: companies like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, who grow around the world in months, are using our facilities. But also very large corporations looking to reduce costs by moving people to flexible working and providing work-life-balance for employees. So, it’s a win-win, whether you are growing or looking to reduce costs and gain flexibility in your business.
Shibani Joshi, FOX: Mark, there’s a lot of competition coming into your space, particularly from startups. I actually met the CEO of a startup company whose name actually escapes me right now, of course. They’re starting an online version of what you’re doing, using flexible office space across major metropolitan cities here in the United States. [They’re] getting backing from excel partners — and I still can’t remember their name but I’ll bring it up to you in just a second. How are you dealing with these smaller guys that are in theory offering the same sort of value proposition, even perhaps at a lower cost and have a lot less overhead?
Mark Dixon: Well, I think; how we’re dealing with it: basically it’s a growing market. Our — as you said — our business has tripled over the last three years; we’re up to nearly a million users. And we expect that to grow into the future. There are about 75,000,000 flexible workers in the U.S. alone — so it’s a growing market; there’s lots of space. Where we’re different is, we have a national network. So that if you take an office in New York or Washington [DC] you can actually use offices all over the country but also all over the world. It’s a subscription to 1,100 buildings worldwide. You know, there’s no one else of that sort of size and that flexibility globally and nationally; that just isn’t there from the startups.
Shibani Joshi: One of the things you have to manage is real estate prices. You know, that’s a sector that hasn’t done well, no matter where in the world you find yourself. How do you manage the dynamics of what’s happening with the commercial real estate industry and then also the fundamentals of what you’re trying to provide for entrepreneurs and big businesses, which is just room to grow?
Mark Dixon: For us it’s — we work in partnership with landlords, property owners, investors, all over the world and we’re really providing the middle wear between this growing group of flexible workers and real estate, which is a very fixed thing where companies and corporations are used to doing very large deals; they’re not very good at doing small deals. And remember, people are using us for maybe a drop-in for half-an-hour. A real estate company’s not very good at dealing with that. So we supply all of that to owners of real estate around the world and add value to what they have, provide them with cash flow and allow them to tap into this growing flexible work market.
Charles Payne: Mark, you’re really one of the best-known entrepreneurs in Europe and lately we’re heard about consumer confidence plummeting, the IMF just lowered their outlook for the western world and their economies. Does your success though, however reflect that their’s something else going on — particularly in this country — that there are entrepreneurs that are still trying to achieve their American Dream and, in essence, that there’s still hope for our country?
Mark Dixon: There is definitely hope. I mean, good entrepreneurs aren’t, sort of, looking at the newspapers and saying everything’s bad. They’re investing. It’s a great time to be in business if you are investing. And some of the greatest businesses in the world today were established in recessions or depressions, in years past. It’s always a good time to get out there and actually do it. If you can raise the money and get on and do it then you should do that — that’s what we’re doing.
Charles Payne: Mark, you’ve done it like nobody else. Congratulations on your success. The CEO and Founder of Regus.
Find out about Regus’ flexible workspace in the U.S. at: www.regus.com
Enquire about workspace with Regus at: www.regus.com/contactus
Find out more via www.regus.co.uk/man
Visit the Calgary Herald to see the amazing skylines.
Tell us in the Comments below: Where’s the best view in the world from a Regus center?
Regus has two business centers in Calgary with another coming soon.
Manchester…‘The birthplace of the industrial revolution and now the economic powerhouse of the north of England’
From its industrial past up to the present day, Manchester has been steeped in economic history and has established itself internationally as a vibrant city, recently ranked as the second best place to do business in the UK.
The city has a thriving legal and financial sector - the latter being the fifth biggest in the UK, outside London – with more than 90,000 people employed in banking, finance and insurance. A testament to this is the newly developed Spinningfields area, which has been heralded as Europe’s new premium financial and professional services destination comparable to Canary Wharf in London and La Defense in Paris.
Spinningfields is an award-winning commercial, retail and residential development which extends on to the established and bustling Deansgate area of Manchester city centre. It has been acknowledged as setting new world-class standards for city centre regeneration and consists of 20 signature office buildings set in richly varied streets across a carefully planned six-acre site, including a hotel, a variety of designer and high street stores, cafes and restaurants. This is a design for a modern international city which is both energy-efficient and ecologically sensitive. Manchester is already the city of choice for 65 of the Financial Times Top 100 Companies and this development bears witness to its determination to build on the competitive advantage it has already achieve
As well as having a strong financial sector, the city’s economy thrives in other areas such as: professional services, life sciences, hi-tech industries, creative cultural and media industries, communications and manufacturing. And if that was not enough, Manchester is a fashion and entertainment hotspot, home to two well known football clubs.
So what are you waiting for? Come and start your Manchester adventure in one of our 9 business centres and give your company a new home.
Trivia on Manchester:
- Frederick Royce met Charles Rolls in Manchester’s Midland Hotel and set up the famous company which bears their names
- Despite having a market stall in Leeds, Marks and Spencer opened its first store on Stretford Road in Hulme
- Manchester was the first city to recognise ICT as a priority in economic regeneration and the first to set up a Digital Development Agency
- In 2010 scientists at the University of Manchester were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for inventing graphene, the world’s thinnest material.
- The first international art exhibition was held in Manchester in 1857.
For more information on Regus click here
For Regus locations in Manchester click here
First image by David Jones in Flickr
Quote taken from manchester.gov.uk
Trivia information taken from manchester.gov.uk
Looking for a fully-furnished office in DC?
From Pennsylvania Avenue (here and here) to Tysons Corner (here and here), Regus supports startups to the Fortune 500 with workstyle solutions, offering fully-furnished offices with flexible terms and access to meeting rooms and video conferencing studios, all to help you focus on your business. With 25 DC area locations and 1,100 worldwide, Regus is the New Way To Work.
I’m the Ops Director for the e-Learning Foundation. We’re a small charity with a national presence. We help schools deliver opportunities for kids to get access to the internet and ICT equipment.
I think we’re now in our fourth year with Regus. We’re very happy with the arrangement and it seems to be a very cost effective way of doing it for us.
As a charity we didn’t want to have our money caught up in buildings. We didn’t want capital put there – we use all our money to help the schools and run the charity. And that’s one of the key advantages of being in a serviced-led environment in that we used to have a smaller office within this building and as we’ve expanded we’ve moved into larger and larger premises. And likewise, with our IT infrastructure, we’ve moved into different areas – we’ve needed more racking – which, if we owned the building, that’s all issues and costs.
A lot of businesses talk about this can-do attitude. A lot of people talk about it but there are few people who actually give it. In the main – 99% of the time, if you ask for something – it’s done and done with a smile on the face.
If you get a quotation and think you’re just getting an office, it’s all those other things that come with the Regus building: the reception staff; the handling of the phones; the IT infrastructure that gets replenished and fixed without any involvement from you. That’s the lovely thing about being in a Regus building: you get to do what you’re there to do, i.e. deliver whatever your expertise or area is. We pretty much just accept that we will come in at any time, there will be heat, light and electric, we can get our coffee and if we want a meeting room we just take it for granted.
Regus Products Overview
You can be the largest global corporate or an entrepreneur with an idea. We can help you and your company work more flexibly, more cost-effectively and become more agile – and better able to face the unexpected challenges of business in the 21st century.
Equipped Offices are ready-to-go workspaces with the widest possible range of complementary support services available on demand. Regus offices enable you to start work immediately and offer an efficient alternative to traditional office space.
With a Regus office you can stay agile with the ability to relocate to one of our 1100+ business centres around the world.
Find out more about Regus Offices here.
The concept of having an office without having a physical space where you and your team sit at a desk and work might sound confusing. However, it’s really simple.
It’s cost effective. Your business can benefit from a prestigious address without the expense of a physical office.
- There are 1100+ worldwide locations to choose from, enabling your firm to explore new markets before you locate teams in that country or city
- Your calls are answered in the local language & time zone
- Mail is handled and forwarded onto your desired address
- Regus businessworld membership comes as part of the package (click here to find out more about businessworld)
And if the standard package doesn’t suit your company’s needs right now, Regus has three alternative options:
- Virtual Office Plus, in addition to the seven benefits above, gives you five days per month of physical office space
- Mailbox Plus helps with post redirection from one of our professional locations
- Telephone Answering is a product that serves to pick up your calls via a local number, unique to your business
Find out more about Regus Virtual Offices here.
We have over 4000 meeting rooms worldwide, ready to meet all kinds of business demands. You can pick a variety of layouts which range from interview rooms for 2/3 people to space that can accommodate 250/300. Rooms can come with Wi-Fi, fixed-line internet access, stationery, white boards and catering. Once the room is booked Regus takes care of the rest.
Unlike most competitors, Regus can facilitate short-stay meetings, which provides an alternative to coffee shops, hotel lobbies and lounges, especially for discussions of a confidential nature.
Find out more about Regus Meeting Rooms here.
You can’t afford to stop when facilities fail or natural disasters happen. With Regus, you don’t have to, through floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, civil unrest and major disruptions - we’ll help keep you in business.
Whatever your size or budget, there’s a Regus Disaster Recovery package to keep your company in business when workplace disruption occurs.
Find out more about Regus Disaster Recovery here.
Get the peace, support and dedicated resources that coffee shops and hotels simply don’t provide. A Regus Business Lounge is ideal for staying productive while on the move and between meetings, or simply for those who don’t need a fixed workspace.
Set in city locations, transport hubs and modern business parks, you’ll always find our lounges in the places you need them.
Find out more about on Regus Business Lounges here.
For a list of all our business lounges worldwide click here.
Regus’ unique businessworld membership scheme is a real revolution for the mobile workforce as it gives members an on-demand business environment wherever and whenever they need it.
With its tailored membership levels, businessworld can suit everyone from homeworkers and start-ups to CEOs and multinational companies. With a businessworld card you can have access to Regus infrastructure in more then 1100 locations spanning North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
Find out more about Regus businessworld.
Regus offers the world’s largest Video Communications network with around 2000 studios worldwide, which means it is no longer essential for you to travel to every meeting.
Customers can book a Video Communication for short interviews, full-day or even five-day strategic planning sessions. Additionally, you can have access to state-of-the-art technology as 12 locations are fitted out with high definition Telepresence units.
Find out more about Regus Video Communications.
To continue our ‘Future working’ theme we invited guest blogger Scot Mckee, from Birddog, to write a piece based on his own experiences as a business owner, knob-grabbing experiences aside it makes for a pretty entertaining read!
If there’s a single inherent attribute to business evolution, it’s that the evolutionary process is slow. Despite growing populations, technological advances and improved communications channels, we have advanced little in our core working practices in the last hundred years …
(This is a snippet of a blog post published on lovehatetravel.co.uk. Please visit lovehatetravel.co.uk to read in full.)