11th May 2023
As Community Manager at Workspace, I read a lot of articles on the flexible space industry. I’ve found that many focus on where the big names went wrong instead of shedding light on the smaller operators who are killing it in their respective markets. The Covid-driven change in how and when we work has led to CRE struggles in urban areas that have clearly impacted the larger flex space brands. So I was surprised to see that a smaller operator like DayBase couldn’t make a go of it in the suburbs.
I've seen nothing but growth in the year and a half that I’ve been at Workspace. The demand for flexible office space on the South Shore is such that we are near full capacity in all our locations, and we’ve expanded twice! I get why no one wants to drive into Boston anymore and why WFH is not ideal, but we are not the only game in town. On the surface, I know that our welcoming community, flexible terms, and well-appointed spaces are a draw but what else is contributing to our success?
I turned to owner Justin Moran for his insight into why his business in the ‘burbs is flourishing when others can’t seem to make it work. What is he doing right that others are not?
Justin Moran’s secret to a successful flexible office space business:
Over the last several years I've been able to grow my business several times. I grew it in 3 distinct ways:
• Expanding an existing location - three times
• Acquiring an existing location
• Starting a new location, then doubling it 6 months later
As an independent flexible office owner/operator, I felt it was prudent to not grow for growth's sake. Rather grow the business at a conservative, measured pace with traditional long-term leases with my landlords.
• I've done it without equity partners or large debt service positions.
• I've done it without a huge staff, rather than having a hands-on approach to most aspects of the business.
• I've done it by leveraging technology that works, not technology that pretends to do everything but in reality does nothing great.
• I've done it by watching every single dollar, i.e., there are a zillion office chairs out there that retail for $1,000 but can be purchased for $65, many haven't been sat in.
• One year I spent several months dissecting every expense, asking a few questions of myself; do I need this?, does someone else do it better/cheaper?, can I or one of my staff do this?
Flexible office operators take note: the secret to Workspace's success is a secret no more. The opportunity to grow a business in the suburbs is there for the taking and can be accomplished by making smart business and financial choices. As we've all learned from WeWork's highs and very low lows, bigger is not always better. Flexible office space in the suburban market is secure. By focusing on the most important details and having a hands-on approach, you can grow your business and thrive in spite of the challenges that impact the urban markets.
If you’re an employee who's not heading back into the office anytime soon, needs to get out of the house while renovations are taking place, or simply wants a change of scenery and some human interaction, check out one of our four conveniently located spaces. Chances are, you’ll meet Justin as he’s usually the one giving the tours.