officebroker.com’s Survival Story
Later this year, officebroker.com will reach its official 10th anniversary.
The company was registered in November 2001, but that’s not to say the enquiries started flooding in – it took another 6 months, some close calls and the dedication of three individuals to make that happen…
Back in 2001, business partners Jim Venables and Andy Haywood registered officebroker.com as a brokerage company within the serviced office space market, to introduce prospective clients to the office space that best matches their business requirements.
officebroker.com was not the first industry broker to arrive on the scene, and the serviced office concept was growing fast – which prompted Jim and Andy to establish a unique business model for the company that would enable officebroker.com to provide the best service and ultimately stand out from the competition.
With the emphasis on consultancy to ensure that the client’s requests were heard, and by keeping the office search process relevant to ensure that clients were only ever matched with the most suitable locations, Jim and Andy soon started to create a reputation that would eventually lead the company to its current position as the UK’s largest independent broker.
But it wasn’t a smooth beginning and in those first few months of trading, officebroker.com faced numerous problems that almost spelled the end of the company. This is partly because the venture was self-funded by Jim and Andy and there was no financial safety net or support from banks at the time.
“Andy and I used our salary and savings to fund the early stages of officebroker.com,” comments Jim. “There were no bank loans – we did what we could.”
There were several cash flow problems in those early days, but the combined experience and resilience of officebroker.com’s business partners, who previously ran their own recruitment company, meant officebroker.com soon pulled through and began to establish successful roots in the industry.
Working alongside the skills and sheer determination of Jim and Andy was Jo Davey, their ‘secret weapon’, whose dedication and commitment from day one gave the company the support it needed.
Jo, who initially handled enquiries for officebroker.com, recalls how the early processes differed from today.
“It was a nightmare!” she says. “It was all manual – I had blue, red and green folders which I used to organise the different enquiries. It was basically a paper trail.”
Gradually as the company grew an electronic system was introduced by IT Manager Neil Cadman, who started in a part-time role for officebroker.com and now heads the IT department. This greatly improved the process and allowed Jo’s systematic procedures to be properly tracked and handled.
Looking back, Jim said: “We wouldnΓÇÖt be here if it wasn’t for Jo. She has been the cornerstone of the business from the start and there is no doubt that her influence helped us to become what we are today.
“We handle several thousand enquiries every month and we have close to 100 staff globally. We have certainly come a long way since our first enquiry and thanks to Jo, we can look forward to celebrating another successful year in the industry.”
April 2002 marked the first enquiry received by officebroker.com, and 9 years on Jim and Andy are marking the occasion with a special celebration for Jo. Later this year Jo – who also celebrates a birthday milestone – will be jetting off to the beautiful Maldives for a 2-week holiday as a tribute to her incredible contribution to the company.
From humble beginnings as a small start-up company to the global enterprise it has become today, officebroker.com has become a market leader in the provision of serviced office space and continues to go from strength to strength today.
Read more about Jo in our latest ‘In the Spotlight’ feature: Spotlight on: Jo Davey