Don’t risk losing valuable business data

“Many businesses do not have the resources or inclination to track the latest computer news, security threats, or even common IT tips. As a result, they frequently make mistakes; the key is knowing when to call in the experts to help,” says Mark Veck, Owner and Director at Unit IT.

According to Mark, many organisations go without technical support. “They choose to rely on an employee or a staff member’s friend who is ‘interested in computers’ to provide technology advice or assistance when critical systems fail or slow down unacceptably. Some turn to their hardware manufacturer’s telephone support line for help, only to be disappointed when the solution to many problems is to reinstall software. “This means all previous data is lost, which can be disastrous for a business,” says Mark. “These troubleshooting support methods are not cost-efficient, nor are they effective administration options.”

Mark and his business partner, Richard Kanathigoda started Unit IT in 2012, with 14 years of combined previous experience in providing Managed IT services. The business provides IT solutions for companies in various industries across Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. Their clients around the world are serviced from their offices in Cape Town, at The Bureaux’s flexible workspace in the Woodstock Exchange, and in London, UK.

According to Mark, there are two other common mistakes businesses fall victim to: poor back up strategies and security failures. “Despite numerous choices and methods, many organisations fail to adequately back up data,” says Mark. “This is a mistake that can be unrecoverable. Since data backups are so critical to an organisation’s livelihood, businesses must make sure the right data is being backed up and that it is done as frequently as required.”

Regarding IT security, Mark explains that businesses everywhere are victims of compromised systems, robotic attacks and identity and data theft. “Organisations that fail to properly secure client and customer data often find themselves in the middle of security crises that result in bad press, lost sales, and forfeited customer trust – all things which one should wisely avoid.”

Mark’s top tip is to outsource appropriately. “As a growing small business, leverage the expertise and economies of scale that vendors can provide, rather than trying to build out ancillary departments, like an IT support team. Outsourcing means you can orient your workforce around your business expertise and have more time to focus on your strengths.”

Wise advice, from Mark whose business is a success story itself. “Our company has grown vastly over the last two years, and thanks to the flexibility of The Bureaux’s shared office space we were able to expand because they could accommodate our growing need for more office space,” says Mark.

Greg Beadle, Founder of The Bureaux says, “Unit IT have been based at our Woodstock Exchange shared office space since 2012. As their Cape Town team has grown from two to 44 staff, we have provided more desk space to the business, allowing them the flexibility to expand seamlessly without the hassle of relocating or paying for unused space in a larger office.”

For more information about Unit IT, visit www.unit-it.co or contact: +27 87 828 0270 or email: info@unit-it.co

For more information about The Bureaux, visit thebureaux.co.za or contact: +27 87 470 0369 or email: info@thebureaux.co.za. For more information about Bureaux Black, visit bureauxblack.com or contact +27 87 470 0369. Find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/thebureaux/.

Tips when looking for office space

Caption: Finding a workspace that leads to productivity is crucial for entrepreneurs and small businesses, but this can sometimes be very difficult. “People often choose an office based on how nice it looks, but then a few weeks into occupation they realise it doesn’t work for their business. Knowing what questions to ask upfront is important,” says Greg Beadle, Founder of The Bureaux, Cape Town’s leading flexible workspace provider (pictured above is one of The Bureaux’s office spaces in Sea Point).

Beadle’s advice is to ask for a ‘test drive day’ before committing to signing a lease. “No one buys a car without driving it out of the showroom first, so take the same approach to the workspace you are considering. Ask to try out the space for a day and get a real feel for what you can expect,” advises Beadle.

Beadle shares the top questions to bear in mind when looking for office space.

1. How fast is the internet?

“Internet is probably the single most important aspect of running a successful operation these days,” says Beadle. “Check whether the upload and download speeds are the same and if the internet is fibre-based. You may have to work after hours, or if your business runs around the clock over different time zones, you need to be sure you can count on reliable and fast internet 24 hours a day not only from 08:00 to 17:00. Confirm what contingency plans are in place should the primary internet service not work and ask existing tenants for their opinion on how reliable the internet is.”

2. Where is the office located?

“Everyone needs to take a break from work to refuel and rehydrate, so location and surrounding amenities like restaurants, gyms and coffee shops are important. However, it’s not only about how close you are to your next caffeine fix, but also if the workspace puts you conveniently close to your key stakeholders making meetings easy to arrange,” says Beadle. “When considering location, keep in mind the commute for all employees when travelling to work and whether parking and public transport options are convenient.

3. How long is the lease and are they flexible with these terms?

“For a new start-up business or a consultant taking on project contracts, flexibility is very important. Having the option to easily upsize or downsize according to your needs helps a lot because you may not want desk space for five team members until March next year,” says Beadle. “Our maxim is that tenants should stay as long as they want to, not as long as they have to so find out what the minimum notice period is to cancel your lease. A three-year fixed contract rental is something that should be avoided, especially if you want to keep a tight hold on your business expenses and can’t forecast budgets too far into the future.”

4. What is not included in my rental?

“If renting a boardroom comes at an additional cost, you’ll never be able to follow an annual budget for expenses for this line item. Don’t be shy to ask if usage of a communal kitchen is billed in addition to the rental fee; even this can become a premium add-on. Sometimes the superior high-speed internet is offered at an additional fee, so do be aware of these extras that you may not expect and look for all-inclusive options that suit your needs,” advises Beadle.

5. Is the workspace available 24/7 and can I leave my personal belongings on my desk?

“Safety is undeniably important,” says Beadle. “It’s important to check whether 24-hour security is provided. Should you have to work late, you want to feel comfortable doing so. Find out from current tenants if there have been any breaches of security and be sure to check that you don’t have to lock your laptop away every time you leave.”

Hot desks are to be avoided because service providers tend to ‘oversell’ this option. Beadle explains, “If you rent a hot desk, you have to pack up and take home your personal belongings every day, not knowing where you’ll sit the next day. On busy days you may not even find an open desk. Ideally, you want your own safe space where you can leave your laptop and files, knowing you’ll find them there when you return the next day.”

6. What comes as a value add when you rent office space here?

“Enquire about reception services; this is very useful if you want to maintain a professional appearance with clients. Having dedicated receptionists to receive couriered post or forward calls helps you to focus on the important work you need to do,” shares Beadle.

7. Can I use workspace at your affiliated locations?

“You may want to meet or work in a different part of town from time to time; it’s important to find out what affiliated locations are available with your rental contract. Know what you can expect at other locations that could make your work life even easier,” concludes Beadle.

For more information about The Bureaux, visit thebureaux.co.za or contact: +27 87 470 0369 or email: info@thebureaux.co.za. For more information about Bureaux Black, visit bureauxblack.com or contact +27 87 470 0369. Find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/thebureaux/.

Profile: Greg Beadle – combining business with creativity

Businessman with a creative mind: Greg Beadle, Founder of The Bureaux (above) says he is lucky to have a rare combination of creativity paired with business skills which have helped him to rapidly scale his company to unexpected heights in just four years.

How does a business which began as a bright idea penned at two in the morning expand so quickly and successfully from 175 square meters of rented office space in 2012 to 8 500 square meters four years later? Founder of The Bureaux, Greg Beadle is himself surprised at what has happened. “In the early days, it was amazing to see it grow. The demand for flexible, serviced workspace has exceeded my expectations,” says the man behind Cape Town’s leading flexible office space located in Sea Point, City Junction, Granger Bay and Woodstock.

Beadle’s creative flair and business mind have led him on an interesting career. Having worked in sales for luxury cars and yachts, as well as being the Advertising and Marketing Director of Men’s Health, he has also been the brains behind starting a fruit delivery company, a magnetic frame business and a property sales guide for Gauteng called Home Gallery Magazine. With an interest in the property space, Beadle managed Engel & Völker’s Developments Division after which he consulted on  key developments in Woodstock such as the Upper East Side incorporating The Hilton Double Tree Hotel. It was while consulting independently for the Woodstock Exchange as a design and special planning consultant, that The Bureaux was born.

“I was curating the space at the time when one of the tenants gave us notice that they were moving out. I decided to convert this now vacant space into the first ‘Bureau’ based on a dream I had the night before. I woke up at two am one morning and started writing notes about the shared office space business idea I had dreamt about.” To get the business going, Beadle did everything himself. He built the desks, hired painters over weekends and managed the sales and client service side of The Bureaux. Two years later he employed his first staff member.

“It’s only through working so many different jobs that I’ve learnt so much and found a niche area as an entrepreneur where I’m able to thrive,” says Beadle who was adamant not to take his father’s advice to stay in one job for many years. “I’ve always wanted to work for myself and I’m not a fan of routine, so I love what I’m doing because every day is different.”

Beadle’s approach to renting workspace is totally different to a regular property agent. “Running this business is like having guests stay at your hotel. You want to make sure that their stay is a comfortable and convenient one.” This approach has certainly worked as the feedback most often received from tenants is that their work productivity increases tremendously when at The Bureaux. Perhaps, in a small way, this is also due to the clever name Beadle chose for the business? Bureaux, a word more commonly used 100 years ago, means writing desk, which today evokes the idea of a productive working space, albeit with a laptop instead of a pen and paper.

His business inspiration comes from the author of The 4-hour Workweek, Timothy Ferris and life coach Tony Robbins. Beadle has certainly taken Ferris’ concepts to heart. To keep his creative side flourishing, he still freelances from time to time as a photographer at extreme sporting events like the Iron Man World Champs, Tour de France and Cape Town Cycle Tour as they appeal to his sense of adventure and love for cycling.

Where to from here for Beadle? “We’ve already got plans underway for more space in Woodstock and I’d like to expand with locations in Stellenbosch and the Southern Suburbs and eventually internationally too.” Of course with each new location, Beadle says there is a great risk involved and that’s where a business mind keeps him on his toes. “It’s the thrill of business, knowing when to expand and when to sit tight. The easiest and safe option is to always sit tight, but then The Bureaux would never have grown as fast as it has. If you believe in the opportunity then you have to take the chance,” he concludes.

For more information about The Bureaux, visit thebureaux.co.za or contact: +27 87 470 0369 or email: info@thebureaux.co.za.

For more information about Bureaux Black, visit bureauxblack.com or contact +27 87 470 0369.

Co-working and flexible office rentals the new trend in Cape Town

A growing trend in Cape Town is seeing young entrepreneurs and small businesses opting for flexible, serviced work space options to minimize risk and overhead costs.

Co-working space and short-term office rentals have become the preferred choice for many of the city’s aspiring entrepreneurs. Offering efficient and productive work spaces with maximum flexibility, small businesses are now able to hire space for an hour, a day, a week or a month, thanks to The Bureaux, Cape Town’s leading flexible office space in Sea Point, City Junction, Granger Bay and Woodstock.

Greg Beadle, Founder of The Bureaux, says, “Office rentals can be prohibitive for many new business ventures and start-ups who do not want to be tied down to long-term rental agreements. Traditional office space rentals come with minimum lease terms averaging around three years, not to mention the costs associated with investing in office furniture and infrastructure suitable for a large floor space.  At The Bureaux, we see more than 90% of our office space utilised monthly because of our flexible and varied offering.”

Beadle adds that small businesses make up the bulk of The Bureaux’s members. “We believe that the demand for our flexible co-working office space solution is indicative of the current economic climate and the burgeoning small business sector.”

“Young entrepreneurs thrive on the idea of being able to rent a desk in a productive office environment for just R1 500 per month on a month-to-month basis or rent a private office suite from R5 500 per month. For someone who is just starting a business or has a small team on board, flexible office space is the ideal solution offering contact with other entrepreneurs. Services and infrastructure are included in the monthly rental fee and our clients can make use of shared meeting facilities, uncapped high-speed fibre internet, a kitchen, and have 24/7 access as well as high-level security.

“Members also have the opportunity to network with others in the space, sharing ideas and collaborating on new business ventures. When their businesses grow and they need to expand, our flexible options can amply meet their requirements,” adds Beadle.

John McMahon, Director of Baker Street Properties, says demand for smaller offices has increased significantly when compared to 2015. He concurs with Beadle that demand is being driven by growth in the small business sector, with new start-ups finding it easier to compete in the market because of new technologies.

For high-end entrepreneurs who seek privacy, exclusivity and an environment that lends itself to their business stature, Bureaux Black is The Bureaux’s answer. With exclusive office space in Sea Point and The Water Club in Granger Bay, Bureaux Black is the perfect environment to host high-level meetings with discerning clients.

Understated with elegant bespoke furnishings in a minimalist style, Bureaux Black offers executive suites with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean that are also available for month-to-month rentals. Clients have a choice of single, double and four-person offices as well as access to breakaway meeting rooms, unlimited high-speed fibre, high security and the option of their own reception and concierge service.

For more information about The Bureaux, visit thebureaux.co.za or contact: +27 87 470 0369 or email: info@thebureaux.co.za.

For more information about Bureaux Black, visit bureauxblack.com or contact +27 87 470 0369.