2011 Round Up.
We kicked off the New Year by announcing our Business Centre of the Year winner for 2010, which was awarded to The Office Group’s superb business centre, 3 Lloyds Avenue, for their “impressive” offering to clients, quality of space and the teamΓÇÖs “proactive and efficient approach”. The shortlist was collated from all winners of our Business Centre of the Month Award in 2010 who were then put forward for the overall 2010 title.
January also saw the announcement of 2011’s first Business Centre of the Month winner, which went to Orega’s excellent Gatwick-based business centre, The Beehive.
officebroker.com attended BCA meetings in Manchester, Birmingham and Central London and followed this up by confronting several core issues raised at the meetings between office providers and the broker community. Among the topics raised by BCA members were unqualified leads, no-shows, enquiries for incorrect areas and brokers going out on centre visits – read our thoughts on these issues here.
officebroker.com’s Paintballing day: Team Bear vs Team Badger.
February’s Business Centre of the Month winner was The Old Rectory in Glenfield, Leicestershire – a Grade II* Listed office building with an “ultra-professional” team, according to officebroker.com Account Manager Craig Stewart.
In other news, we created our own YouTube video to introduce our team; announced the launch of the forthcoming City Focus series, which provide in-depth statistics and research on 7 UK cities, and embarked a day of paintballing and team building at EuropeΓÇÖs biggest paintball venue.
Finally, the results of a survey of 180 serviced business centres found that officebroker.com was given a resounding ‘thumbs up’ for service, performance and conversion. 8 out of 10 UK centres had found more than half of their clients via officebroker.com during 2010, with the team providing 62% of all enquiries during the year – which Chris Meredith attributes to our “straight forward, no-nonsense approach”.
officebroker.com in the news.
March kicked off with a landmark legal case involving officebroker.com competitor Instant Offices Ltd. The High Court ordered Instant Offices to delete comments it made on social networking site Twitter, which had unlawfully created web content by copying parts of the website of officebroker.com. The content was subsequently removed from their website.
On the subject of news, we launched the ‘officebroker.com in the news‘ section of our website which keeps a track of all the online material published about officebroker.com, including appearances on such publications as The Telegraph, Estates Gazette, The Times, BBC News and The Independent.
The winner of our Business Centre of the Month Award in March was Liverpool Business Centre, located in the grounds of Liverpool Airport. Following a visit there earlier in the year, Account Manager Gerard Richards recommended the centre and commended the on-site team as well as their excellent offering to small businesses.
April was all about milestones. officebroker.com’s very first office space enquiry was received in April 2002, and it was Jo Davey – who reached a birthday milestone in April 2011 – that made it happen all those years ago. Jo has been with the company since day one and according to founder Jim Venables, officebroker.com simply “wouldnΓÇÖt be here if it wasn’t for Jo”, adding that she “has been the cornerstone of the business from the start.”
April saw the arrival of the Royal Wedding and an unwanted Bank Holiday from officebroker.com’s perspective, which MD Jim Venables says is contributing to additional “unexpected and unaffordable pressure” on fragile UK businesses. officebroker.com was open for business on the day of the Royal Wedding and encouraged others to do the same.
In other news, Fasset’s Caswell Science & Technology Park in Northamptonshire was crowned Business Centre of the Month in April 2011; officebroker.com’s Serviced Office reviews series was updated with Q1 2011 stats, coinciding with the launch of the new City Focus reports; and Account Manager Rebecca-Jane Strawford visited Landmark’s new centre in Heron Tower in the City of London.
Simon’s decorated desk, prior to his 30th birthday trip to New York.
Account Manager Jade Edwards made headlines in May for receiving an endorsement from Dean Withey of London Stone Trading Ltd, who praised every aspect of his recent office search at officebroker.com. Dean said: “Unlike other companies, Jade never sent me to a space that didn’t meet my requirements and never wasted my time,” adding that she “struck the perfect balance between sales, professionalism and rapport… She went above and beyond what I believe her normal duty to your company would be.”
Liz Yorke made an appearance on our News pages in May as part of the ‘Spotlight’ series; Gareth Smith joined the locals of Sutton Coldfield for the annual Great Midlands Fun Run, raising money for the Saracoma Trust; while Simon Jones received a stylish send-off from his officebroker.com colleagues for his birthday trip to New York.
May’s Business Centre of the Month Award winner was Temple Court in Cardiff, a 19th century former synagogue which now offers a supportive business environment for start-ups and SMEs and an excellent level of customer service to match.
Chris Meredith shares his pearls of wisdom.
As part of a programme of office visits to office providers all over the UK, we send a post-visit survey to each Centre Manager for feedback on the appointment, how they value face-to-face contact and what improvements we can make in the process. In June we analysed the results of the surveys to date and revealed the overall findings.
City Spirit St Pauls, an independently operated business centre located in Birmingham, scooped officebroker.com’s monthly award in June and won plaudits for running a “tight ship” and for their “excellent team, who run the centre and support their clients with very high levels of customer service.”
In other news, Chris Meredith shared a few pearls of wisdom about sales and selling, and we took a light-hearted look at some of the more unfortunate website domain names which may lead browsers to misinterpret what they are only one click away from.
Ally Maloney becomes our second ICON.
Ally Maloney made ICON status in July – officebroker.com’s challenging internal award recognition scheme – and became only the second person to do so since it was launched the year previously.
With the publication of our Q2 stats earlier in the month, we put our Marketing Manager Simon Jones under the spotlight and asked him how the UK’s serviced office market is shaping up. We also looked at cycling as a method of commuter transport and weighed up the pros and cons of cycling to work.
July’s Business Centre of the Month winner was the lovely No.1 Cornhill in the City of London, operated by Executive Offices Group, which was singled out for its ‘wow’ factor, high level of interior fit-out and stellar service – described by one client as “total wrap-around care” which “exceeds expectations”.
The Bear crashes Jim’s 40th birthday ‘do.
We delved into the wonderful world of Sarah Geary – aka Mrs G – who took part in our regular ‘Spotlight’ feature in August. Our news pages were also full of birthdays – including MD Jim who turned 40, and Chris Meredith – who were both lucky enough to receive a visit by officebroker.com’s famous mascot, ‘The Bear’, who clearly enjoyed hoovering up all the leftover birthday cake.
Speaking of cake, we took a moment to raise the importance of lunch breaks during the working day – are you taking yours? – and reported on the impressive Taipei 101, the world’s tallest green building. Finally, August’s Business Center of the Month was Lester House in Bury – a lovely centre kept in impeccable order by Gaynor Stanley and Elana Solomon.
Our online feedback system reaches 1000 reviews.
Rebecca-Jane Strawford made headlines in September for making ICON status – our challenging internal performance and recognition scheme – and has now claimed her place on the ‘wall of fame’ at officebroker.com HQ.
The online review facility at officebroker.com also reached a milestone in September by smashing the 1000 review mark. Since its launch at the end of 2009, the online feedback system has grown steadily as business centre tenants have chosen to express their views and opinions of the office space, with the overwhelming majority of reviews being positive and often of 3, 4 or 5 stars out of 5.
Finally Oxford’s Prama House, operated by Clarendon Business Centres, won the Business Centre of the Month Award following a recommendation by Account Manager Dan Mcleod, who says that the centre and the team are simply “fantastic”.
The Weekly Insider – a sneaky peek into the lives of the officebroker.com team.
In October we released our Q3 2011 update of the Serviced Office Review and City Focus reports, and kicked off the first in a new regular blog series, the Insider Weekly. The blog delves into the lives of the officebroker.com team outside of the 9-5 and shares their shenanigans with the world every Friday afternoon. Keep up with the Insider Weekly here.
Becci Strawford made officebroker.com history by becoming the first ever double ICON, having smashed her targets to reach ICON two months running, and October also saw the results of officebroker.com’s Green Office Survey, which suggests that one of the biggest factors holding companies back from improving their green credentials is a lack of finances.
Elsewhere on our news pages we launched the first of a 6-part ‘Profile’ series, which analysed the fame and fortunes of six major businesspeople. October’s Profiles included property and entertainment figurehead Donald Trump, and well-known business expert and TV celebrity, Lord Alan Sugar. October was also remembered for the infamous Blackberry blackout, which left millions of frustrated users without access to email and messaging services.
Finally, October’s Business Centre of the Month winner was the independently operated Brook House in Uxbridge, managed by Ranola Properties Ltd, a stylish and contemporary base offering an excellent standard of office space and an outstanding customer support team.
Becci Strawford wins the BCA’s Broker Representative of the Year Award.
Better known as ‘Movember‘, the month of November brought forth a series of hairy upper lips and neglected razors in the name of charity – and seven officebroker.com employees took part to help raise much-needed cash for men’s health initiatives.
The BCA’s annual awards evening took place in November, and our very own Becci Strawford – who was named the first double ICON at officebroker.com in October – scooped the award for Broker Representative 2011. According to officebroker.com Head of Sales Chris Meredith, what Becci brings to the table is “exceptional”, adding: “The BCA judges summed Becci up perfectly – she is exactly what a broker should be and an example to everyone in the serviced office industry.”
Continuing the award theme, MWB’s superb Knightsbridge property won officebroker.com’s Business Centre of the Month title in November, and a number of individuals from the serviced office community were singled out by officebroker.com as ‘Sales Stars‘ – those who work hard to help us find the best and most suitable arrangements for the client. We named them and sent a little gift in the post by way of a special ‘thank you’.
Elsewhere on the blog in November, we rounded up our ‘Profile’ series by delving into the business lives of Sir Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Sir Philip Green and Michelle Mone, before releasing the results of a survey conducted by officebroker.com that saw how ruthless office workers would rather see a colleague lose their job than take a pay cut.
What a year it’s been! December is now here and our very last Business Centre of the Month winner of 2011 has been decided – but you’ll have to wait until next week to find out who won! WeΓÇÖll also be announcing our overall Business Centre of the Year 2011 in January – so keep an eye on the officebroker.com blog for further details over the coming weeks.
How did your 2011 pan out and what are you hoping for in 2012? Leave your comments in the box below.