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Bucks Herald Sept 2011

Hubbub and harmony at work

The Baby Bio of Business Development

The watch-phrase of the moment is 'Work Hub', every county council wants one, every business centre wants to be one but why and what is one?

From a local authority economic development point of view a Work Hub is a nursery where new companies can be nurtured and fed with the business equivalent of Baby Bio ready to plant out in the greater economic garden, fit and strong enough to fend for themselves and grow into larger local employers. It may seem a lot of effort and resource to plough, to continue the horticultural theme, into a one-man business that may or may not succeed but you only need to produce ten successes and assume they will each grow to employ ten people and you've created one hundred jobs. From the 200 businesses currently under the wing of the Aylesbury Hot Office Business Centre, the business growth and employment possibilities could reach into the thousands.

Generally Work Hubs have links to business support groups such as the local Chamber of Commerce, Business Link and other regional development agencies all falling over each other to help the fledgling firms. Any Work Hub with access to these resources on site and on-tap will produce a steady flow of success stories.

Human Interaction

For the people using the Work Hub it provides necessary human interaction, I hesitate to use the word 'social' interaction which is more associated with intangible web based communities, whereas a human environment is more likely to provide practical direct business benefits.

Many people who start their own businesses have come from a corporate background where working alongside colleagues, perhaps in a large open plan office, is the norm. Whether this is an arrangement we feel comfortable with because we are used to the concept from generations of doing it or whether we are naturally inclined to this format because of a primal need to be around others is not known.

It is certainly the case that working in a shared office environment is significantly more productive than working in isolation at home or from a small enclosed office.

Cherry Campbell, Operations Director of The Hot Office says "I can guarantee that a new member, after their first day or after a free office trial, will tell me that they got more work done in one day here than in a week working from home". Cherry continues to give examples of how community working has directly helped her members; "I could draw a plan showing all our members and interconnecting lines where relationships have been forged, this diagram would look like a giant spider's web; the collaboration between members ranges from informal discussions to long term business contracts.

"However, we made a conscious decision not to force these relationships by enforced socialising such as networking events, there are enough local networking groups in the area to cater for that, we would rather these relationships grew organically in a relaxed and 'no pressure' environment.

£25k Saving for a chat over the water cooler!

"My favourite example of how this works is where two members where chatting in the kitchen about a software development problem one was having, the other, a software programmer, offered to have a quick look at the problem and as a result saved the first over £25k and very possibly saved his business, Gareth did this as a favour and Paul lived to trade another day. A copy of the 'thank-you' letter from Paul is available to see in our reception"

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"The BlueSky PR Team really enjoy the community feeling here, there's a real motivational buzz about the place and the centres front desk team always go the extra mile to look after us and any visitors we're hosting here on site."

Adrian Barrett - BlueSky PR

"The Hot Office's walk-in, sit-down, start-work solution enabled me to focus entirely on winning new business which was absolutely vital to get the momentum of my new company going. 5 years from launch I now have over 600 clients and cross trading and interacting in this community has been an important part of the Tax Assist success"

Mark Fordham - TaxAssist Accountants

"The Hot Office community is extremely powerful, our business has grown dramatically since we have been actively networking with other Hot Office partners."

Jonathan Brill - Adroit-e Research Technologies

"The Hot Office is the perfect environment for my business. The professional workspace and vibrant community has enabled me to develop and grow my business rapidly."

David Josephs - DJ Communications

"The Hot Office flexibility has been a real benefit for us, it's enabled us to control our office costs in line with our staff head count and has given us the admin back-up we need on a day to day basis. We simply couldn't have grown the company so fast and efficiently with the Hot Office's help"

Adrian Barrett - BlueSky PR

"I would like to thank you again. Both Neil and myself really appreciate our time here and would like to thank you for the positive help you have given to helping Hall Gregory in our early stages. Starting this business was very daunting for both of us and finding such a welcoming and friendly place to work has enabled us to gain our business identity very quickly."

Chris Hall - Hall Gregory

"The Hot Office's flexibility and affordability gave us the opportunity to move our business into a professional office environment and enabled us to get totally focused at a critical point in our companies development."

Jason Dorsett - Nest Creative

"They do not believe in the conventional serviced office approach of bundling lots of services you don't need with the services you do, to justify charging you more. You pay only for the office time and services you use"

Dayle Guy - Code Thirty Nine

"I would like to say a big thank you to your team for the help, assistance and professionalism over the last 9-months.The services you have provided have been excellent and are ideal for a start up trying to keep costs down without compromising on the quality of service. The Hot Office has been a pleasure to deal with."

Darren Spevick - Novo Consulting

"The perfect option for a young business to move to the next step, the Hot Office enables growing companies to present a highly credible and professional face to their target clients"

Business Link - Hertfordshire

"The Hot Office Business Centre provides an excellent touchdown base for our remote staff. A more practical solution than hotel lobbies as The Hot Office caters for our staff to access our network over VPN."

Martin Brown - Dage Electronic Systems

"I would just like to say how delightful we found the offices to work in. Light and airy and with all the mod cons!. We will be pleased to utilise the offices again in the future. PS. A huge thank you to your wonderful reception staff who were fantastically helpful"

Kerryn - Learning 4 Legals Ltd

"Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how valuable your business is to my business. Couldn't work without everything you do. .....Post collection, call answering, office space, goodies, referrals, advice and even occasional humorous banter! Deal with loads of suppliers, constantly let down, but The Hot Office does what it says on the tin, and more. Keep it up!"

Jason Dorsett - Nest Creative

"My business uses the Hot Office in a part-time capacity [8-days per month], which means I can be out winning business and not having the financial burden of paying for an empty office when I'm not there."

Glyn Thomas - China Imports Ltd

"I get more work done in one day at The Hot Office than I do in a week at home."

Kieran Regan - Excel Networks

"The networking community within the Hot Office has provided huge benefits in terms of motivation and extending my knowledge of running a business. Being based there has dramatically enhanced the success of my business and is one of the best decisions I've made."

Paul Slade - Select Knowledge Ltd

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