Archive for October, 2009

Crisis and Opportunity

A myth has developed in the business public speaking circuit that suggests that the chinese symbol for crisis is also used to denote opportunity.

In my research to source this I found that wikipedia claims this is actually not true, a phenomenon they describe as  fanciful folk etymology. Anyway it is a good story and it lead me to a quote by Andy Grove, founder of Intel and author of ‘Only the Paranoid Survive’ which I find insightful. He said: “Bad companies are destroyed by crisis, good companies survive and great companies are improved by them”.

If we wanted to see an upside to a recession then surely this is one. In his biography titled Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American, Harvard Professor Richard Tedlow tells the story of the challenge faced by Intel when the japanese overtook them in the production of cheaper memory chips. This was a product line that Intel had been very successful in and a large part of the legacy and their identity. So Andy Grove said: “If the board should kick us out and bring in new management, what do you think the new management would do?” And his colleague answers immediately, “Get us out of memories.” Andy then says, “Why don’t we walk through the revolving doors, come back in, and do it ourselves?”

By dramatically changing the direction of Intel Andy Grove is credited with saving Intel. Professor Richard Tedlow then goes onto to contrast the american car industry which is suffering from not leaving the legacy and constructing more of the same. He claims that if you look at crisis without legacy you do so without emotion making reality easier to see and major decisions easier to make.

So this is a good story to tell our reluctant vendors I’m sure. But where to for our  industry in general and my commercial real estate business in particular? Well the advice is to remain unattached to where we have been in order to see the current reality of the regulatory environment and the current economy and be prepared to go forward with radical and wide-ranging changes. Good luck and happy to exchange views on what our options are!

Brendan Clegg, October 2009

October 23 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Looking for Office Space leads to clarity about your business

It is always interesting to me what people say about their business when they view alternate office spaces. Clarity is defined as the quality of being certain or definite and in this context I mean they determine how their premises serves them and adds to the performance of their business.

Recently I have advertised office space at just $165 per m2 and spoke to a number of business owners. I concluded that in times of ‘recession’ as we are now, a valid objective for any firm is simply to survive. A downturn always brings an increase in bad debts, late payments and often greater marketing and advertising costs to chase fewer sales. So in an effort to control what is usually the second highest overhead after salaries is understandable by finding space at more affordable rents.

More qualitative considerations would include determining whether your premises serves you might be:

1.    Location – does the area work for you and your staff, is it handy to facilities like gyms, lunch and parking. What about your clients, what does your location and building say about your company? Does it support the image you wish to project to your clients?
2.    The space itself – is it big enough or too big. The configuration – is it laid out and efficiently support your numbers and meeting and storage requirements. Does the building have adequate IT infrastructure?
3.    Term, how long a lease do you need? Will the building continue to serve you in 5 years?
4.    A place to create? A largely intangible point but one where you knows whether it works or not.

One thing about working in a recession is you soon get to find what works in tough times. One message that keeps coming through is the need for flexibility, change, creating new ways of doing things like virtual software. Farmers Department stores are today celebrating their 100th birthday. They credit their survival on adaptation. And so what are the components of comfortable office space which enable staff to create, adequate natural light and heating, meeting space, quiet space, a vibrant location?

Clarity about your business will certainly help you ride through this recession. So find office space that serves you. Happy hunting and let me know if I can help!

October 2009

October 01 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments »