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Your business is a dynamic enterprise. It can grow, build, change shape, and point in new directions in the blink of an eye. At Lakeside Executive Suites, this is how we approach office space. We don’t build boxes. We create workspaces that are as future-minded as the entrepreneurs who occupy them and that deliver the flexibility and technology required to operate on the cusp of tomorrow. Whether it’s a full-time office space, or just a meeting room for the day, we offer a range of options and services designed to help you conduct business your way.

Monthly Archives: October 2017

Company Culture Springs from Good Leadership
Posted On October 31, 2017 Posted By: Jason Tiemeier

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There are plenty of examples of “good” and “bad” company culture out there in the corporate world, but to find real answers to the question of how the best came to be, you need only to look as far as its leadership.

The truth is, company culture exists on many levels, and an absolute equation is largely undefinable. We’re dealing with people, after all – enterprising humans complete with free will and egos. Anything could happen, and it does.

That said, we can definitely draw a correlation between strong leadership and a winning culture.

Company culture is more than just the way things get done within an organization – it’s a many-layered organism that needs to be nurtured by its ecosystem – much like colorful fish in a koi pond. At first glance, we see what’s on the surface, but it’s actually what’s beneath the surface that is feeding the habitat.

If the habitat is keeping the fish alive, who or what is keeping the habitat healthy?

The same parallels can be drawn in a corporate environment. On the exterior, all we notice is the customer-facing parts, and we rightly assume that if everything is working efficiently, there must be good organization at its root. While this is largely true, it’s actually the person (or people) that keep that machine well-oiled, motivated and driven to continue carrying the message that deserves the credit.

Culture, then, is something that actually evolves from the leadership efforts – as opposed to being a page out of the employee manual or a vague statement that was circulated as a memo from the c-suite.

An example of a winning company culture

While startups are well-known for their unconventional cultures, they manage to attract and retain the right people over the long-term. While some might put it down to millennial idealism, companies like Tony Hsieh’s Zappos are winning in ways you would never associate with their primary business model: mail-order shoes.

Zappos begins with a “cultural fit” interview that is as much a part of the hiring process as the candidate’s skill set. If they do proceed to training, they are offered $2K if they decide after the first week of training that it’s not for them.

The company makes a conscious decision as to what the corporate culture is going to look like, then it reinforces these values throughout HR and all management processes based on ten core values, a sampling of which includes:

- Deliver WOW through service
- Create fun and a little weirdness
- Pursue growth and learning (they even have an employee library list of recommended books that are provided free of charge)
- Do more with less
- Be humble

Each core value represents a point in the training process, as new hires are trained separately in each point. Every single new hire hears the same messaging. If the candidate does not pass the cultural fit interview, they simply won’t be invited to meet the hiring manager.

Once hired, each employee is required to spend up to a month manning the phones in their call center so that they fully understand how to respond to customer needs. Following this, they are offered $3K to leave if they want, the concept being that if they haven’t become a good fit by that point, then the company would actually prefer that they leave.

The result? Employees who are all on the same page, speaking and living the same values. Working together, if you like, in perfect harmony. Zappos has a very good reputation for its customer service, and its culture drives that excellence. Its CEO, a serial entrepreneur whose vision has catapulted his company over the top, is its driving force with a mission to deliver happiness – which, by the way, is the title of Hsieh’s best-selling book.

While not every company culture is quite as complex or as ingrained as Zappos, the result is the same as it is for any company with strong leadership, vision, and a commitment to supporting its culture. Zappos is considered a great company to work for, employee attrition is almost non-existent, and they continue to lead the market in their niche, and that’s largely based on one thing: happiness.

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Lakeside Executive Suites provides a range of professional and affordable workspace solutions with flexible terms for startups, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in the Weston area.

The Entrepreneurship Toolkit: A Beginner’s Guide
Posted On October 18, 2017 Posted By: Jason Tiemeier

Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everybody. However, for a motivated self-starter with big ideas, it could be the gateway to a bright future.

Getting there is a process, however. You must have a good understanding of what you’re good at, and it needs to be a viable service or product that solves a problem for an identifiable audience.

The good news is, you don’t have to have a business degree to be successful as an entrepreneur. But you will need a strong backbone and be willing to take a few risks.

Still unsure about whether entrepreneurship is right for you? Let’s look at some of the things you’ll need to figure out before you take the plunge:

1. What are you passionate about?

In the same way that an author shouldn’t write about subjects they know nothing about, you shouldn’t be in business if you’re working with a product or service you have no interest in or don’t understand. Of course, not all passions have business potential. Ask yourself:

- What subject do I know a lot about?
- What are my strongest skills?
- In a perfect world, what kind of work would I be doing?
- If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
- Have you got any hobbies that would translate into a business?

If the answers to any of these questions overlap at all, you just might be on to something. If you are widely considered to be an authority on wine, for instance, perhaps you should be in the business of wine consultation, becoming an online wine merchant, or developing an app that will solve the problems of wine drinkers everywhere. Explore the viability of your concept by seeing who your competition would be and what it would take to get to their level or surpass it.

2. Decide what type of business is best for you

The next step after you’ve zoomed in on an industry or niche is to figure out what aspect of that industry is best suited to your skills, your vision of the future, and what fits best with the lifestyle you are leading or want to lead. We’ll stick with the wine niche for now:

- Services: do you design wine lists or recommend wine for collectors? Do you want to offer secure climate-controlled storage for their collections? Can you broker purchases of rare wines from agencies not generally open to the public? Can you take people on tours to wine country?

Physical products: are you passionate about wine discovery? Can you envision yourself running a boutique wine shop in your community?

Digital products: are you a wine educator, or do you have any interest in bringing wine education to the public? You might consider doing webinars or teaching wine appreciation courses online, or you might have an idea for an educational mobile app or one that helps people organize and value their wine collections.

Expert advice: If you have a lot to say and share about your topic, you could position yourself as an authority by writing or blogging about it, or establishing a website devoted to giving advice on the subject.

3. Identify your competition

Once you have decided on your direction, you’ll need to establish who your competitors are. Identify the top contenders and see if what you plan to do overlaps in any way. Follow them on social media, and have a good look at their demographic to discover everything you can about what they are doing right and where they are falling short.

The best entrepreneurial undertakings have something that is unique, something that solves a common problem. Ask yourself what value you are bringing to the space you are entering, and whether you would be a customer if the shoe were on the other foot. If the answer is a resounding “YES!” then you might just have a winner.

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If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, we would love to meet you. Our flexible workspaces provide everything you need to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace. Call today, or schedule a tour.

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